An Architect-Turned-Fashion-Designer Brings His Modern Aesthetic to Life in His 4,000-Square-Foot Chelsea Apartment



A Bec Brittain chandelier and two large-scale photographs by Edgar Martins make a statement in the dining room. Lars Nilsson chairs surround the Fernandez-designed concrete table.Even in the world of New York apartments, bigger isn’t always better. Consider the impeccably furnished, 4,000-square-foot Chelsea apartment that Luis Fernandez shares with his partner and their seven-year-old son, Finn: 300 seemingly valuable square feet of it serve as a dedicated junk room/storage area, rather than an extra bedroom or home theater or something more expected.

By any standard, the apartment certainly isn’t diminutive, but Fernandez has intentionally carved it into smaller sections with specific functions in mind. “Big doesn’t necessarily mean more comfortable,” he says. “This project was more about creating the right scale, making spaces that feel inviting, and maintaining a good flow.”

In the living room, a Charles sofa and a Diesis cocktail table, both from B&B ITalia, form a seating area with vintage tufted leather armchairs by Milo Baughman and a pair of sleek leather chairs by Poul Kjaerholm. The area rug is from Stark Carpet.An architect by training who has segued into fashion—he works as a consultant and is the creative director and designer of the menswear brand Craft Atlantic—Fernandez previously focused almost exclusively on commercial spaces. He approached the design of his own apartment in a similar vein. “When you’re doing commercial interiors, every inch has a dollar value associated with it, and that sharpens your skills in terms of how you activate spaces,” he says. “The challenge of having this much square footage in a residential setting is how to program it—what do you do here, what do you do there, and how does everything relate?”

The apartment was “the ultimate project for an architect,” continues Fernandez, a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Architecture, because “it was a raw space, which is rare, and what I loved about it. So we were able to design the place that we wanted and avoid all our pet peeves.” Those pet peeves include long hallways and “poché” space, typically blacked out on architectural plans because it is unusable. “I spent countless hours on the floor plan because I wanted to make sure everything was completely utilized, and to maximize every little bit.” The result: an airy, loft-like retreat with no fewer than seven closets—plus the 300-square-foot junk room.

The apartment, which took more than a year to build out, features distinct public and private sectors. The building’s elevator opens directly onto two seating areas—one small and informal, with a television, and the other larger, for entertaining—plus a dining room that sits adjacent to a vast Henrybuilt kitchen. Three bedrooms (Amy Schumer filmed a segment of her television show in one of them) and another sitting area make up the private quarters just beyond.

Furnishings throughout the apartment bear the stamp of the modern architectural and design canon, from the vintage Milo Baughman tufted chairs in the living room, to new B&B Italia and Cassina sofas and lighting from sources such as Apparatus and Bec Brittain, and to custom pieces like the concrete dining table, which Fernandez designed and had fabricated locally. The overall look, the architect says, is “clean, modern, and masculine,” and accented with a smattering of meticulously curated art pieces, including works by Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins, recent acquisitions that hang next to the dining table.

Polished to a T, yes, but a place is never quite finished for a creative type like Fernandez. “A living space,” he muses, “is always a work in progress.”

A version of this article appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Modern Hero.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Landscape Spotlight

Edit Module
Rosalia Sanni
Rosalia Sanni is an award-winning landscape designer whose approach strikes a balance between architecture, nature and people. Comprehensive services include master planning, construction, administration, furniture souring, and an open dialogue that often continues after completion. Rosalia believes that good design enhances people's lives profoundly, and should offer more than a collection of beautiful pictures. Landscapes should suit the people who inhabit them in a meaningful, fun and deeply personal way.

Rosalia Sanni Design

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

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.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

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.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

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
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module