Tour an Upper East Side Apartment with Striking Color

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Creating the right home for a young family in New York City can be a tricky affair. After a first child is born, another (or more) often follows, along with the inevitable accumulation of stuff. Nearly round the clock, it seems, clothing needs to be hung or folded, sports equipment stored, and housewares put back on shelves or in closets, all in an effort to maintain a semblance of order among the chaos. Which is why an interior decorator is often called on to run interference.

Phillip Thomas, a neatnik designer and born-and-bred New Yorker, understands the challenges a hectic urban lifestyle can pose to a modern family. “I grew up in a very traditional, beautiful house, and my mother and I were always decorating it,” says Thomas, a self-professed “borough brat” who earned a degree from the New York School of Interior Design and trained under decorator Tony Ingrao before launching his own firm in 2011. Who better to devise a safe haven for a couple and their two young children in their brand-new Manhattan home?

The clients rang up Thomas after they bought a three-bedroom, three-bath apartment in a stately brick building on the Upper East Side. In their previous digs, they had been bursting at the seams, and although the new place was not huge, at 2,100 square feet, it came with a workable layout that could accommodate a family of four. “It had a great floor plan,” Thomas recounts, “but I wanted to achieve the right sight lines from room to room.”

A gut job ensued. Function (flow, lots of storage) was key, as was a warm environment. Absolutes included a family room, a powder room, and a home office. “The family has an energy that’s very colorful and enthusiastic,” Thomas says, “and that had to be reflected in the space.” Accordingly, Thomas incorporated bold colors throughout, such as a bright apple green in the living room and a chalky blue in the library, then reined them in with subtler prints and grass cloths.

Call it contemporary-meets-classic. “Even the most modern space is rooted in the past,” says the designer, who commissioned a dazzling custom chandelier that enhances, rather than overpowers, the warm, inviting dining room’s antique table and Lucite cane dining chairs. (“I wanted it to be substantial, but not dominate the space.”) Further statement-makers include an impressive collection of art, though Thomas cautions that “art should be art. It doesn’t necessarily need to match the interiors.” The clients, he adds, were fully involved in the process, “refining things further and creating specific schemes for each room as we went along. It’s so much fun to look at where you start with a client, and then see where you end up.”

A version of this article appeared in the April 2016 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Modern Classic.

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Tour an Upper East Side Apartment with Striking Color

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Architect Spotlight

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Haver & Skolnick Architects
Haver & Skolnick Architects creates award-winning homes of timeless design, providing personal service & impeccable attention to detail. For 22 years, Charles Haver, AIA and Stewart Skolnick, AIA have offered a single source for architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, creating seamless environments which are a reflection of their clients’ personalities. The firm has been nationally recognized for comfortable, classic country homes and elegant apartments which reflect history while responding to a contemporary lifestyle.


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Consiglio Builders
Consiglio Builders is a luxury residential construction company located on the East End of Long Island. We have developed a unique method of residential construction in the Hamptons—we call it "The Considered Approach." It stems from our experience which demonstrates that meticulous planning and transparency throughout the process, combined with our expertise and emphasis on perfection, enable us to deliver consistently the best-constructed homes on time and within budget to our discerning clientele.


 

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James Merrell Architects 
From our perspective in the 21st century, all styles are historical. Even Modernism is now a century old. So, we are free to interpret, and interweave the minimal with the decorative to find new expressions for our own era. Our house celebrates this new design freedom. It brings a contemporary sensibility to the architectural covenants of this otherwise traditional neighborhood. Floor to ceiling glass on the ground floor, for instance, yields modern interior spaces. While above, divided windows sit comfortably in second floor dormers. And the style that results is both unique and timeless.


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Bates Masi + Architects
Bates Masi + Architects LLC, a full-service architectural firm with roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields, material, craft and environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals for whom they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to enrich lives and enhance the environment.

Bates+Masi Architects
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