Inside a Stylish Upper East Side Home Fine-Tuned for Modern Living



Designer Noha Hassan creates a modern home for a young family on the Upper East Side. Noha Hassan isn’t the first decorator to have made a career switch to interior design—but the move came more easily to her than it has to many others. “I wasn’t scared,” recalls Hassan, who previously worked in the high-pressure world of banking. “I’d managed my way through eight years in finance already, which is very high risk, and I brought those years of experience with me. Although I still had to learn as I went along.”

In the case of Hassan, the transition has been an unqualified success: Her decidedly modernist, minimalist interiors somehow remain warm and livable at the same time. “There’s a misconception that modern design can’t be inviting,” she says, “but you can achieve so many looks—the possibilities are wide open.” The decorator, who was born in Egypt and has lived in Jeddah, Luxembourg, Brussels, London, and now New York, is exceedingly flexible no matter what environment she takes on, including the formerly stodgy Upper East Side apartment featured on these pages.

When Hassan met her clients—a married couple, both doctors, with a son and a daughter—they had recently moved to a bigger place on a higher floor in the same building. The directive: Transform the three-bedroom, four-bath abode into a stylish home, fine-tuned for modern living. They wanted minimal, but not cold; livable, but not lived-in; and nothing obstructing their endless views.

The project took just five weeks to complete, with Hassan adhering to a less-is-more approach—in part because of the children. “When you have young kids, you need space to move around—and for all their stuff,” says the designer, a mother of two herself. She paid special attention to the children’s bedrooms, crafting sophisticated havens that are fun, but not too juvenile. “I don’t like kids’ rooms to be too ‘kiddie.’ I prefer to create spaces they can grow into.”

Not that Hassan is beyond whimsy. Consider the master bedroom’s funky tufted Positano bed from Baxter, with its delightfully bulbous Seussian charcoal-gray headboard. (It had been in the clients’ possession already.) Paired with a red rope Vermelha chair, it transforms the space into a seductive, sensuous retreat. Pendant lighting throughout the apartment amplifies its air of urban cool, from Foscarini’s Big Bang fixture in the dining room to Flos’s Zeppelin in the master bedroom and Moooi’s Heracleum II in the daughter’s room. “They’re all so dramatic—they draw you in,” offers Hassan, already an expert at drawing people in, despite having had just a couple of design classes under her belt before taking on full-tilt projects such as this one. “I really love seeing the transformation on clients’ faces when they see how comfortable and livable their home can be.”

A version of this article appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Noha's Arc.

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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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