While You're at It. . .
Jane Margolies -- Interior Design, 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
firms:laura bohn design associatesandbillinkoff architecture
site: upper east side
An oven on the fritz got the renovation ball rolling in this apartment in a postmodern building on the Upper East Side. After happily living there for nearly two decades, the owners reasoned that, if they were going to start replacing appliances, it might also make sense to address some of the apartment's deficiencies: the scarcity of counter space in the kitchen, the gigantic never-used whirlpool tub in the master bath, the general lack of storage. The to-do list had morphed into a gut renovation by the time the couple approached Laura Bohn Design Associates. Interior Design Hall of Fame member Laura Bohn led them, in turn, to Billinkoff Architecture's Donald Billinkoff. Together the two firms turned the 2,000-square-foot apartment—which had tended toward peach walls and glass-and-brass furniture—into a neutral-toned, luxuriously detailed, loftlike space fitted with all the clutter-banishing storage an apartment-dweller could dream of.
Despite the dramatic transformation, the basic layout remains unchanged as dictated, in part, by plumbing lines. The kitchen, powder room, and master bath are still clustered at the center. However, thanks to square footage borrowed from the dining area and entry, the kitchen is wider and longer, and 2 linear feet of counter space were gained. The designers also replaced the range with a compact cooktop and under-counter oven. At one end of the kitchen, a breakfast nook is paneled in teak. The same paneling wraps the entry, clads the powder room's door, and reappears on one wall of the master bath.
In the latter, the old whirlpool has been replaced by a generous marble-lined shower with two showerheads. Where there was once a single basin, there are now two, integrated into the vanity's cream-colored Corian top. And a new frosted-glass wall and sliding door between the master bath and bedroom make both rooms feel bigger. For the guest bath's walls, white glass mosaic tiles unfortunately didn't work out as planned: They refused to nestle into place and couldn't be cut. "You'd end up with little chips," Bohn explains. In the end, the tiny tiles were swapped out for 3-by-12-inch limestone rectangles, which allow for perfectly crisp edging.
Flooring everywhere but the master bedroom and the wife's study is high-gloss off-white terrazzo tile flecked with brown and blue. "No saddles between rooms, no breaks anywhere," Bohn notes approvingly. A ceiling-lowering lighting soffit between the living and dining areas was removed to create one continuous space, and the husband's study was opened up to the entry. "Separation between rooms wasn't as much an issue here as it is for a family with kids running around," Billinkoff points out. Although pocket doors and even a sliding section of teak wall were installed in case privacy is occasionally needed, they're usually kept open.
As natural light filters through, finishes reflect it. The color scheme is muted, inspired by the wife's understated sartorial style, and fabrics are unpretentious. Pearly Venetian plaster enlivens structural columns. The living area's curtains are natural netted linen accented by silver thread. Sofas are upholstered in taupe linen and mohair. Paint, a warm gray that Bohn describes as "perfect," is a discontinued shade called, with appropriate casualness, Jogging Path.
Photography by Elliot Kaufman.
FROM FRONT HERMAN MILLER: CHAIR, FOOTSTOOL (LIVING AREA). BRIGHT GROUP: OTTOMAN. SPINNEYBECK: OTTOMAN UPHOLSTERY. ODEGARD: CUSTOM RUG. HOLLY HUNT: SOFA SEAT FABRIC. HENRY CALVIN FABRICS: RECTANGULAR PILLOW FABRIC. LEE JOFA: SQUARE PILLOW FABRIC. AERO STUDIOS: TRAY, LARGE LAMP. BRUETON INDUSTRIES: SMALL LAMP. DONGHIA: CURTAIN FABRIC (LIVING AREA), CHAIR FABRIC (STUDY), CHAIRS (DINING AREA). GLANT TEXTILES CORP.: SOFA FRAME FABRIC (LIVING AREA), SOFA FABRIC (DINING AREA), CURTAIN FABRIC (BATHROOMS). BENDHEIM CORPORATION: CUSTOM DIVIDER, DOOR (MASTER BATHROOM), CUSTOM DOOR (KITCHEN). A-19: PENDANT FIXTURE (KITCHEN). DAVID SUTHERLAND: TABLE. DENNIS MILLER ASSOCIATES: CHAIRS. MAHARAM: CHAIR FABRIC. CRÉATIONS MÉTAPHORES: BANQUETTE FABRIC. SEIEFFE INDUSTRIE: COUNTER, BACKSPLASH MATERIAL. FRANKE CONSUMER PRODUCTS: SINK. DORNBRACHT: SINK FITTINGS (KITCHEN, GUEST BATHROOM), SHOWER FITTINGS (BATHROOMS). HENREDON FURNITURE INDUSTRIES: LAMP (STUDY). THROUGH GALERIE SHABAB: RUG. RALPH LAUREN: CHAIR (STUDY), BED, TABLES, LAMPS (BEDROOM). HUDSON FURNITURE: CHANDELIER (DINING AREA). ROOM & BOARD: TABLE. JOHN BOONE: SOFA. POLLACK: PILLOW FABRIC. UNIKA VAEV: CHAIR FABRIC. GAGGENAU: COOKTOP, OVEN (KITCHEN). PATTERSON, FLYNN & MARTIN: CARPET (BEDROOM). DURAVIT: SINK, TOILET (GUEST BATHROOM). KOHLER CO.: TUB. ARTISTIC TILE: WALL TILE. THROUGHOUT BISAZZA: FLOOR TILE. STATHAM WOODWORK: WOODWORK. BFI CONSTRUCTION CORP.: GENERAL CONTRACTOR.