Step Inside a Glamorous, Jewel-Toned Apartment



Decorator Sasha Bikoff decorated her mother's apartment in glamorous jewel tones.My mother, Jacqueline Bikoff, was a pianist and a ballerina. She was a staple on the Studio 54 scene and a vibrant, feminine woman. I was always in awe of her.

She was also Persian, and when I was a little girl, we would cook traditional Persian meals and belly dance to Persian music. The most important aspect of decorating a person’s house is having a true understanding of who she is and capturing her passions in life, so I looked to emulate all this when I took on the redesign of my mother’s home in the Dakota apartment building on Central Park West.

After two previous decorators’ visions hadn’t worked out with my mom, I asked her to give me the chance at the job. I was looking to leave my position at the Gagosian Gallery and launch my own design business, and as a fellow creative type, my mother understood my desire to pursue this new venture. She and I appreciated each other’s skills and talents, so it was an amazing experience for me to work with her on the project.

First impressions are always important, and so we started in the entryway, where a dazzling brass and crystal palm chandelier plays foil to the matte-toned print on de Gournay’s L’Eden wallpaper in black and white. In all the rooms beyond, I employed an array of lacquers to heighten the glamorous vibe of walls already rich in history—legend has it that Judy Garland once lived here—using my mother’s inherited Persian Tabriz silk rugs as inspiration for the color palette.

In the grand living room, walls are painted a light peach-pink, which reminds me of Ballets Russes costumes, and the furnishings read like a reflection of my mother—an eclectic mix of French Empire, rococo, and 1970s pieces, along with the Persian carpets, paintings, and a pierced bronze lamp from Morocco.

The library is the single masculine room in the house, painted an Yves Klein–style blue because the color is so worldly, intellectual, and artistic. Darker tones appear via zebra stripes, ebony-hued furniture, and deep red spindle chairs, which all hark back to my mother’s cherished Persian rugs.

The dining room’s minty celadon green also suggests the Ballets Russes, as well as the Hermitage. My mother always appreciated the French aesthetic, having lived on the Île Saint-Louis and attended the Sorbonne, and I wanted to underscore her experience in the apartment. I have also lived in Paris, and bring my own love of the city to all my projects, whether they are classic in style or more modernist.

My mother’s favorite color was purple, so naturally, her bedroom had to be purple. She had once lived in Aix-en-Provence and loved the fields of lavender, and de Gournay’s Wisteria wallpaper was a natural fit, both a sense memory and a way to make the space tranquil and soothing. Her master walk-in closet is intended to evoke a fluffy white, glamorous cloud, with malachite accents creating a jewel-tone juxtaposition.

Throughout the apartment, moldings and fireplaces now shimmer with 24k gold leaf detail, a kind of homage to Versailles and Marie-Antoinette. But ultimately the apartment is an homage to my mother. She died late last year, but my memories of her and her beautiful home will always live on.

A version of this article appeared in the May June 2016 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Family Matters.

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