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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Designer Spotlight

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Karen Wells Design
Karen Wells Design creates professionally finished, uniquely beautiful interiors. Interior design, furniture design, interior architecture, project management, space planning, and curating collections are our specialty. Each project brings a fresh aesthetic based on the clients tastes, idiosyncrasies, and how they want to live. Interpreting each space for its functionality, refining it through the use of color, texture ,light, art, and furniture proportions allows KWD to create environments called home.

Karen Wells Design

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Builder Spotlight

M&M Custom Homes
M&M Custom Homes is recognized as one of the premier home builders in the Hamptons and throughout Nassau County. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, we provide a superior client experience—creating exceptional value with state-of-the-art construction and unsurpassed design.


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Garden Spotlight

Gardeneering
For thirty three years, every design we create stems from our holistic approach to landscape gardening. Beginning with developing the best possible soil, our attention branches out to address all facets of a project with similar focus. Whether it's hardscape or quality of plant material, the installations are of the highest order -- as is the quality of our estate maintenance services. Every effort is made to blend the client's vision with the aesthetic aspects of the house and property -- ultimately, to create an organic realization.


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Garden Spotlight

Kathryn’s Flower Gardens
Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is committed to providing exquisite cutting gardens, container plantings and unique and heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all grown right outside your door. Inspired by the agricultural heritage of the east end, Kathryn’s was created as a sentimental tribute to the owner’s young daughter. Led by a team of experienced horticulturalists, the firm’s sole focus is on providing boutique and personalized containers, flower and vegetable gardens. Located in Sag Harbor, Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is a subsidiary of Summerhill Landscapes.


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Garden Spotlight

HARMONIA INC Creative Landscapes and Fine Stonework
HARMONIA INC was founded out of a profound passion for creating complete landscapes and gardens that co-exist in harmony, with the natural settings that grace each property. Harmonia will design and install a customized landscape complimentary to your visual desires, and your personal lifestyle. “ Our work is a reflection of how you will want to enjoy your property for years to come.” Harmonia Inc is a full service design, installation and maintenance company, beautifying the Hamptons every day. 631-537-9672

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