When your apartment frames coveted views of Central Park, you might not need much else as far as decoration is concerned. But one recently relocated Upper East Side couple hoped to take their prewar abode up a notch with shots of color and pattern—and a dose of glamour.
Enter interior designer Ariel Okin, whose eponymous New York firm specializes in “traditional with a twist.” As Okin affirms, “The views were so stunning, so we really didn’t want to take away from that.” The way forward? Maximizing light and allowing accessories to sing.
The first item on Okin’s to-do list hinged on transforming the apartment’s architecture into a neutral canvas. As is typical in many older buildings, the residence’s plan was closed off. Okin, working alongside Chad Smith of Smith & Architects and NYC Fine Finishes, opened up the floor plan and replaced several windows to permit light and views to flood the space.
Then came the fun part: sourcing. The wife, having grown up in a midcentury modern home, wanted to maintain a sleek, graphic sensibility without going too mod. “The overall aesthetic is certainly one rooted in clean lines and a restrained base palette,” Okin explains. Then, she adds, “we warmed up the space with little flecks of jewel tones, metallics, pattern, and texture.”
The living room, for example, features white walls and built-ins, as well as a cream-colored carpet and sofa, but is brightened up with surprising splashes of tangerine and apricot in pillows, books (selected by working with vintage book dealer Booth & Williams), and a flouncy Murano glass chandelier. A vintage rattan armchair and upholstered tan ottoman add warmth without venturing into kitschy territory.
There are more surprises to be found in the powder room, where a fish-print de Gournay wallpaper is the background to a vintage Piero Fornasetti mirror, and in the main bedroom, where soft furnishings such as a lime-green, tiger-striped Scalamandre pillow add pizzazz. But the designer’s favorite element in the apartment? A custom built-in brass bar. Crafted out of antiqued mirror and cerused oak, and stocked with colorful Murano glassware, it’s certainly set to be the life of the party for the clients, who love to entertain.
It might be impossible for future guests to ignore the city lights and park views, but Okin’s impeccable design efforts are just as striking.
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