Cool shapes and artistic influences create a stylish backdrop inside this New York home
The top floor of a former schoolhouse in Williamsburg, New York. There is a large entrance hall that leads to Mira’s bedroom. The living room, main suite and dressing room are on one side. The kitchen, dining area, pantry/utility room and family bathroom are on the other side.
The design of this apartment was approached like an exercise in geometry. Shapes are perfectly balanced, so that the angles of an Yves Klein coffee table are softened by the fronded curves of a palm tree and the hard white lines of a Tobia Scarpa sofa contrast with curvaceous powder-pink chairs.
In fact, balance is the byword for this reworked Williamsburg apartment. It’s shown in the way Art Deco meets Moorish decoration in the bathrooms, mid-century design works with modern lighting in the dining room and Brooklyn tin tiles meet space-age gold wallpaper in the baby’s bedroom. But, most of all, it’s displayed in the way the contemporary furniture sits comfortably inside such a historic frame.
The rug, pictured above, dances with patterns that remind us of Henri Matisse’s Jazz motifs, while a potted tree adds a dose of Seventies Palm Springs. The fireplace, below, is inset with black tiles in a herringbone pattern, giving the space a traditional focal point with a twist.
This apartment is on the top floor of what was once a schoolhouse, built in the 19th century, later taken over by a business college and, in the Eighties, used as light and lofty artists’ studios. Instead of the apartment’s legacy dictate its style, the property was entirely redesigned in a way that pays homage to its roots, but also works as a backdrop for a more personal look. It acts as a great historic envelope that personal pieces can slot into. Skirting boards and cornicing were replicated and after some deliberation, a fire surround was added in the living room as a low-key focal point that helps counterbalance the more playful furniture shapes.
The collection of furniture definitely dips into the Seventies, but also goes further back in time, with mid-century chairs by Børge Mogensen and the Josef Frank rug, which, unbelievably, was designed in 1938 despite looking modern.
The limited edition Klein coffee table, found through eBay, is a coveted centrepiece, with grains of the artist’s signature pigment spread out beneath Plexiglas.
Three boxy windows were redrawn as a trio of arches, echoed by an architectural archway between the kitchen and dining area. A chandelier by an LA designer emphasises the proportions of this simple, elegant space.
A sequence of architectural arches, which echo the decoration on the exterior of the building, were created by architect Kevin Greenberg, most notably between the kitchen and the dining room.
The inspiration for the kitchen came from old French bakery cabinets, but the execution is pure Brooklyn. The symmetry is simple, but so striking.
This baby’s room has the most glamorous wallpaper going. The wallpaper was already in place before it became a baby’s room, but it’s pretty cool for a nursery too.
The wallpaper uses satellite imagery from Nasa.
A deep blue wraps around this bedroom, while the glossy verticals of a four-poster bed draw the eye upwards.
Salvaged doors divide the main bedroom from this slim storage room, with bespoke cabinets. The design makes the best use of the high ceilings here.
A bedroom was sacrificed to create this luxe, spacious bathroom, with the wet room separated from it by a glazed steel divide. Metal-framed glazing in the bathroom feels rooted in New York design traditions, but other details, such as tiles from Morocco and Portugal, were inspired by the owner’s travels. Majolica tiles always have the power to put you in a holiday mood.
The glass has a slightly wavy finish, emulating the look of period glass. Moroccan floor tiles continue the thread of blue that pervades the apartment.
See more of the designer’s work at thewhitearrow.com
Photography ⁄ Matthew Williams