A Taste Of Europe
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 9/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
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firm: Caimi & Asnaghi
site: New York
When your family sells some of the best contemporary interior products around, you'd think that furnishing your apartment would be easy. And in some ways, it is.
"In my opinion, what we offer is the top, top quality," says Daniel Yarom, president of Poliform USA. His father is the CEO, his mother vice president of retail. Their company sells not only Poliform's own storage systems, furniture, and Varenna-brand kitchens but also the products of two other leading Italian concerns, furniture-maker Flexform and door manufacturer Tre-P&Tre-Più. But therein lies the rub. "An apartment shouldn't have a showroom look," Yarom declares. When it came time to design his own loft, this self-described perfectionist decided it would be "about adding texture to complement the product and keeping everything mellow."
In doing so, Yarom had access to the family brain trust, aka the firm of Caimi & Asnaghi. Dario Caimi and Franco Asnaghi introduced the Yarom clan to design while building a house for them in 1987. In 2002, the architects designed another house for the older Yaroms. Caimi's son, Matteo, then joined the effort for the younger Yarom's loft, a 2,200-square-foot floor-through in an early 1900's commercial tower with 12-foot ceilings.
White walls and a Brazilian cherrywood floor reflect Yarom's desire to "make everything as quiet as possible," he notes. Having lots of Poliform storage helped. The company's white lacquered closet system appears in the foyer, hallway, bedroom, and study. A similar wall system of open shelving is in the living area. It's softened by a cream linen shag rug and Antonio Citterio's midnight-blue sectional for Flexform. A flax-colored compact Flexform sofa bed by Guido Rosati turns the study into a room for guests.
The study's wooden desk is a Danish vintage piece—definitely not imported or distributed by the Yaroms. Ditto for the contemporary solid-oak furniture in the kitchen, dining area, and bedroom and the lighting discreetly recessed in the ceiling. But he admires their no-frills aesthetic nonetheless. In such an understated setting, the bedroom's bright red Up5 lounge chair by Gaetano Pesce only pops all the more.
It's in the master suite that Yarom's penchant for texture truly asserts itself. Round the corner of the closet units, and walk through a frosted-glass Tre-Più sliding door, and you'll find a corridor with oak-plank walls, one of the "rustic components" Yarom says he was after. Through another frosted-glass slider is the master bathroom, where the use of wood continues with an oak vanity, teak stools, and, in the glass-fronted shower, a teak mat. Walls and a floor of Jerusalem limestone, embedded with fossils, offset the slickness of the white acrylic tub.
The guest bath has a similar materials palette, since Yarom and his architects sought continuity throughout. "There's an interplay of glass, metal, stone, and wood—the core vocabulary of architecture," Matteo Caimi explains.
Those materials also define the kitchen, which proved a perfect testing ground for the flexibility of Varenna products. A run of white lacquered cabinetry fills a structural bay, one of three in the apartment. Mirroring the construction of the oak dining table nearby, the island was extended and given a custom oak top. At 12 ½ feet long, it had to be hoisted through a window. "If you cut it, I'll kill you," the woodworker, Walter Marelli, told Yarom, only half-jokingly.
Above the counter hangs a pendant globe, an enormous tangle of aluminum wire that casts sublime shadows on the Varenna cabinetry. "For me, this is a dream apartment, using my products firsthand," Yarom says. And, of course, he could do it at wholesale.