This project was the complete remodeling of an existing condominium. The architects charge was to craft a sophisticated urban “pied a terre” for the owners who travel extensively to their vacation homes and required a secure setting for their art and rug collection. The interior designer on the project, Sharon Perry, collaborated with us on the decoration of the unit.
The construction of the building was poured-in-place concrete without any architectural character and precluded any movement of major walls or openings. The challenges to the architects were to work within the limitations of the existing and add architectural definition to achieve a sense of drama and elegance. The design concept consisted of a warm but neutral palette on the walls and floors to act as a backdrop for the owners’ art, rugs and accessories. The original open plan was given more definition by enhancing openings between the rooms with paired columns and black granite thresholds. The effect added a sense of progression and formality without making the spaces feel smaller. Another device used to counteract the horizontality of the space is the lighting of the ceiling. This was achieved by dropping a surround below the existing concrete ceiling to receive recessed fixtures for art lighting and to visually elevate the central portion.
The use of trim and cabinetwork for its visual contribution to the design was also a major design consideration. The custom millwork profiles that were generated for the architectural trim were carried over into furniture-quality storage units and room dividers which served functionally but also became part of the richness of the spaces. The moldings were milled from solid stock American cherrywood, which was then stained in a two-tone application to create a refined “framing” effect for the cream colored walls. The architectural doors as well as cabinet doors were veneered with hand selected cherrywood finishes which were laid up with careful attention to grain pattern and continuity by local craftsmen. Other finishes were selected and detailed with equal care, such as the marble and granite entry floor and the wood floors which were used in the remainder of the apartment. The private bedroom areas of the residence received painted finishes on trim and millwork instead of the stain used in the living spaces. The same architectural quality was achieved but with a softer effect due to the monochromatic color scheme.