The famously high prices commanded by Manhattan’s luxury real estate market don’t guarantee perfection; sometimes even these lilies require a bit of gilding. “A lot of upscale developments are finished in a very vanilla, generic way,” explains architect Andrew Kotchen, copartner of the New York firm Workshop/APD. What these apartments often need, he continues, is not a gut renovation so much as a sense of character and cohesion. “Much of our work in this type of building involves layering spaces and adding visual texture so the apartment doesn’t feel flat as you move through it,” he says.
That was certainly the goal for this 2,300-square-foot three-bedroom, located right on Chelsea’s famed urban park, the High Line. The client couple had hired Workshop/APD before the building was completed; even without seeing the final finishes in place, they knew they wanted certain upgrades—particularly of the standard-issue kitchen and closets. Equally important was to accommodate their art collection, which included works by Julian Opie and emerging Korean painter Kibong Rhee.
There was also an issue of flow to be resolved. As originally laid out, “all the spaces kind of leaked into one another; there was no definition to them—making the apartment feel smaller,” says Kotchen. Nor was there a foyer to speak of: “You sort of fell into the entry vestibule,” which had direct sight lines into a pair of kids’ bedrooms, he describes.
Kotchen and team created a proper entrance hall by installing full-height panel doors that close off the bedroom hallways. A decorative plaster finish engineered to look like concrete gives walls a sense of depth, providing a warm yet neutral backdrop for a large-scale Opie canvas that greets visitors as they step off the elevator. “We designed the entry around that piece,” Kotchen notes. The luminous blue from the artwork repeats in the bedroom hallways, lined with closet doors lacquered the same rich, expansive hue.
Defining spaces through savvy treatment of the ceiling plane is a Workshop/APD signature. A dropped canopy gave the entry zone a more roomlike feel. In the open-plan living/dining area, uneven soffits were smoothed out, unsightly air-conditioning registers replaced with linear slots, and a recessed ceiling cove created to maximize headroom.Since the living area had to suit casual family activites and formal entertaining alike, furnishings were chosen and arranged to multitask.
The master suite received perhaps the lightest touch, yet with the same unifying principals in mind. A wall clad in custom fumed-oak panels anchors Rhee’s Floating Island, artfully illuminated by a Lindsey Adelman chandelier. Flanking the bed, with its wing-chair-style headboard, a pair of blackened steel nightstands mirror the floating shelf in the entry. In the dressing room, a herringbone-pattern calf-hair rug in strokes of gray reiterates the overarching color scheme. “The whole reads as a cohesive story versus a series of individual vignettes,” notes Kotchen.
Source: Interior Design
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