When the Eldorado building, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, began
construction in the late 1920s, it was easily one of the most impressive
buildings in the city. With its lavish
ornamental details complemented by bold, geometric shapes, the stunning
thirty-floor luxury building was and remains today, one of the most impressive
examples of Art Deco architecture in all of Manhattan.
But when the stock market crashed in 1929, so did the Eldorado. “The [developer] had a tremendous amount of money to design the lobby. Beautiful
murals, intricate, well-executed marble,” explains interior designer Alexander Doherty. But because the market crashed
shortly after it began construction, “the apartments don’t follow the same grandeur as the lobby,” he says. “When you arrive, you have the impression that everything is of the period, but
[the residences] look nothing like that.”
So when Doherty and CEO and cofounder of Design Development NYC Chip Brian, were
enlisted to revamp a couple’s apartment in the iconic building, they had a feeling a serious amount of
renovating would need to take place. “It didn’t scream
opulence. There were small chambers [and] nominal corridors,” says Brian of the apartment whose previous owners had occupied the residence
for nearly fifty-five years without renovating or updating. “We were going into [the project] very much with the
idea that it was a gut renovation,” adds Doherty. “The whole thing was how to make [the home] not feel like a cave.”
The footprint of the apartment was maintained, more or less, and expanded in
some areas to help create a brighter, larger living space for the couple. “It’s an interesting layout,” says Doherty. “You walk through rooms to get to another.” The original galley-style kitchen was one of the first rooms addressed.
divided into two small rooms—an eat-in nook and the work space itself—the kitchen was combined into one larger space boasting modern details and
amenities. “Everyone wants a large-capacity kitchen to conceal their everyday dishes, china,
[and] groceries,” says Brian. “So these kitchens take on the roles of library, cooking area, [and] prep area.”
The homeowners, who own a textile company, are surrounded by bright fabrics
every day, so they chose a serene color palette of blues, grays, and whites
with colorful accents in the accessories and artwork. Much of the furniture
throughout the apartment was inspired by midcentury modern design.
Calcutta Crema honed slab countertops and matching backsplash are a stunning
complement to the custom cabinetry designed and fabricated in-house by Design
Development NYC. Doherty says he specifically wanted the cabinetry to look like
freestanding pieces of furniture. Because of the small space, the sleek
cabinetry was designed to utilize every inch of the kitchen and thus
floor-to-ceiling storage in the form of glass-front cabinets, wine racks, and
warming drawers were installed. “[The result is that it] emulates an English kitchen with the secretarial section
and glass doors,” says Brian.
The eat-in area was kept minimal with little to no artwork, while a circa-1960s Danish light fixture Doherty found at a flea market in Paris and a
custom settee complete the modern look.
As the owners of a textile company, the homeowners are surrounded by color on a
daily basis, so they requested that the home’s decor, color palette, and lighting boast a more serene aesthetic. Shades of
grays, blues, and whites blend seamlessly from room to room in the
2,400-square-foot space. Doherty achieved this by keeping the main pieces of
furniture swathed in a classic white linen. “It brought down the high energy of the space,” explains Doherty. Inspired by midcentury modern design and Swedish
Gustavian-style furniture, the aesthetic is inherently modern yet casual. “We didn’t want the apartment to feel like a museum,” explains Doherty. “We didn’t want everything to feel Art Deco.”
For pops of color, Doherty looked to the homeowners’ personal art collection that mainly included midcentury abstract impressionism.
The homeowners and Doherty opted for the neutral, serene color palette so that
the art would be the focal point of each room. “We wanted the artwork to be highlighted and not too overwhelming,” he says.
The living room underwent a significant transformation when, for example, the
original emerald green stone surround and antique nineteenth-century mantel
were removed from the fireplace. A faux door was added to the wall opposite the
oversize windows to create symmetry to the space, while the original base
molding throughout the home went from eight inches to eleven inches with Art
Deco detailing. The result is a home that respects its design history while
also giving way to a more modern and livable aesthetic.
After the six-month renovation was complete, the homeowners are decidedly
thrilled with the result. “We all had a vision initially, which was formed very quickly,” says Doherty. “And here we are, and what we see today is that vision [come to fruition].”
Sharon Medairy, RealtorŪ
Real Estate Source, Inc.
As featured in
Home By Design
Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
All measurements are approximate.
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