Tour a Soaring Chelsea Condo with an Ode to Art



Tour a Chelsea Condo with Soaring Ceilings The woman who owns the duplex apartment featured on these pages uses it as a second home, but many expressive faces keep watch around the clock—that is, in the form of sculptural heads and figurines from Eurasia and Central Africa. Although some date from the Bronze Age, all have settled in quite nicely in this decidedly 21st-century abode. “My client wanted this space to be all about her collection of art, everything from ancient Bactrian artifacts to Damien Hirst butterflies,” says Mar Silver, the decorator behind the project. The assortment is indeed quite varied, featuring contemporary works by artists such as Vik Muniz, Tom Fleischhauer, and Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson, which sit alongside antique pottery and objets d’art from around the world. “I’ve acquired a lot of the pieces that appear in the apartment, as I’ve done for her primary residence in Connecticut. The New York place is flexible enough to serve as an extension of her collection. Items can go back and forth between her homes and fit in perfectly in either locale.”

Chelsea Home Tour

When Silver’s client purchased the apartment, it was a raw, unembellished shell. The decorator made a dramatic and crucial structural change, erecting a floor-to-ceiling wall abutting a narrow staircase that leads to the master suite and office. Adding to the drama and further delineating the interiors: a handsome chimney surround made of striated oak, which partially shields the kitchen. “By incorporating these changes, and also putting in glass half walls on the second level, we created distinct environments both upstairs and downstairs,” says Silver. “The apartment is very tall and narrow, and I intentionally devised separate living areas that wouldn’t feel claustrophobic. Now there’s a fluidity in how everything links up.”

Apart from designing deep shelves that run floor to ceiling in the 20-foot-high living room and in the upstairs office (the client’s vast collection required a substantial amount of display space), Silver was also charged with fostering a sense of serenity in the hyper-modern building on the edge of West Chelsea’s arts district. The two-bedroom unit takes in both downtown and uptown views and is unapologetically urban, but its peacefulness suggests sleepy suburb more than center of the universe. “In every project I do,” says Silver, “I want to make sanctuaries for my clients.”

The decorator typically sticks to neutral shades, and in this apartment, a soothing, soft gray unifies the walls and most surfaces. “A muted palette allows the art to speak,” the designer suggests, “and a certain tranquility comes through the various textures and subtle tones.” Silver’s custom furniture designs and textiles are amply employed throughout, notably in the master bedroom. There, a platform bed of her design includes a ledge for displaying more art. And although the home’s light fixtures “are very strong and sculptural” (many date from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s), Silver stuck to her end goal of “imparting a sense of calm everywhere,” despite the drama that emanates from large windows and three terraces framing vistas of the Hudson River, Midtown, and the looming new towers of Hudson Yards. “The views speak for themselves. The interiors accomplish something else by being quiet.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 2018 issue of NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Soaring Success.

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Landscape Spotlight

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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

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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.


 

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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.


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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