With its beams, folkish textiles and eclectic design, this New York apartment feels like a (very cool) country house in the heart of the city.

Painting, Andy Dixon. Sofa. Minotti. Egg chair, Arne Jacobsen. Low round coffee table, Pinch Design. Try Pamono for a similar vintage Stilnovo floor lamp (left). Main rug, Double Knot. Braided jute rug, Merida.


A duplex set on the second and third floors of a former 19th-century warehouse in New York’s West Village. There is an open-plan kitchen-diner/living area and a cloakroom on the lower floor. The master bedroom, master bathroom, guest bedroom, guest bathroom and study are upstairs.


Before it was converted, this six-storey building was a warehouse used to store paper for the publishing industry. It was the ‘rustic warmth and imperfections’ of the 19th-century architecture that fired Kimberlie Birks, a design writer’s imagination.

Although well-tended, the apartment was stuck in an early Nineties time warp of melamine surfaces and dark floors. Professional help was needed, however, so Kimberlie turned to Alexandra Champalimaud, a family friend who runs interior design practice Champalimaud Design.

What began tentatively as a discussion about window treatments led to the spirited changes that have transformed the two-storey apartment without compromising its architecture. The bones of the apartment were an important part of the design, but rather than dressing them up or painting them out Champalimaud Design preserved them as a backdrop for the new furniture and decorative elements.

Above the fireplace, the artwork by Olafur Eliasson features a photograph with an orb of mirrored glass on top.

Floor cushions, made from vintage suzanis from L’Objet. Rugs, Doris Leslie Blau (left) and Nanimarquina (right). Painting (right), Stefan Kürten.


Underfoot, white oak flooring replaced the unsympathetic mix of dark wood and cork tiles.

The largest alteration was made downstairs. A dividing wall was removed to create one fluid living, cooking and dining space where low sofas and nests of shapely tables emphasise the tall windows.

Dining table, Bill Amberg. Chairs, Josh Duthie at Chairtastic. Pendant light, Rossana Orlandi. Rug, Nanimarquina. Similar green vase, Nkuku.

At one end of the room, the industrial feel of an exposed brick wall was softened with a layer of pale pink plaster.

Ceiling light, Stickbulb. Salt and pepper mills, Peter Ejvinsson and Emmy Larsson for Artipelag.


Removing the wall was a deliberate ploy to draw attention to the spiral staircase, which swirls like a piece of Modernist sculpture to the bedrooms upstairs.


Kimberlie likes the contrast of quieter spaces with zanier corners, like the sink area in here with its bold wallpaper.

Wallpaper, Designer Wallcoverings. Mirror, HPS Design Interior. Lights, Atelier Areti.


Kimberlie calls this her Kit Kemp room. The curtains are heavy but work well to block the light. The headboard was designed by Champalimaud. Its colour echoes the artwork from Nova Scotia, where she also found the yellow figurine on the table.

Curtain fabric, Osborne & Little. Bedside table, Tom Dixon. Throw, Warris Vianni & Co. Figurine, Barry Colpitts. Artwork, Joe Sleep.


Kimberlie thought the narrow office might feel claustrophobic but she finds it cocooning.

Chair, Eames for Herman Miller. Task light, Ilse Crawford. Painting, Lorne Reid. Rug, Cultural Cloth.

Find out more about Champalimaud Design at

Kimberlie’s first book, Design for Children, is published by Phaidon (

Photography / Matthew Williams

See more modern homes

More Modern Houses