- The Hamptons
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Orange County
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Silicon Valley
- Washington, D.C.
Katie Orr | Photo: Dave Burk © Hedrich Blessing | April 9, 2013
A threefold collaboration yields an impeccably classy interior for a globe-trotting Gold Coast family.
The redesign of a young family’s Oak Street condominium is marked by the marriage of opposing elements: stained bamboo and polished lacquer; woven rugs and smooth marble. Upon entering the foyer and catching that first glimpse, there’s a feeling that the room is glowing. The warm lighting envelopes you. The credenza appears to float beneath a painting of vibrant but subtle hues, while laser-cut acrylic chandelier sconces and metallic wall coverings give the space a slight stylistic edge. And the Booth Hansen-architected fenestration—which offers valuable city views—is a floor-to-ceiling artwork in its own right.
An interior design consultant with a Lebanese heritage and a penchant for earth-traversing, the wife’s tastes have been infused with the textures and styles of many destinations. But no place has influenced her as profoundly as Paris, with its unparalleled style and charm. “That city has no limit when it comes to design. They’re masters at combining contemporary with classic. They know how to do it flawlessly,” she says. Taking cues from Parisian hotels and art galleries, her vision on the project was similar: glamorous but not tacky. Chic but comfortable. Functional.
The brilliance of this space lies in its details, due in no small part to the work of Centaur Interiors (centaurinteriors.com). First collaborating with Gary Lee Partners, who came up with the original design concept for the space, Centaur—who came on to manage the construction—breathed life into its structure and function. With meticulous precision, Michael Miller, director on the project, brought his technical expertise to the table and got to work on the details. All wall panels and inlaid pieces have a reveal, all Holly Hunt light sconces are perfectly aligned throughout the residence, and all walnut cabinets have their corners mitered for a softened effect.
But the beauty of the space goes beyond small touches. The initial drawings called for the entire main space to be opened up, removing a large curved wall that divided it. And because every aspect of the main room was centered on the wall panels—a feature requiring exact alignment—the entire ceiling and lighting system had to be redone to get the dimensions spot-on. “I wanted to preserve and accentuate the architectural flow of the building and bring the space to life, as though it belongs,” explains Miller. “And there’s so much natural lighting, I wanted it to feel like we were bringing the city lights into the home.”
The firm reconstructed all of the doorways, refitting the den and master closet with symmetrical, glass-tracked pocket doors that mimick the lacquer theme of the unit. They built out the hallway, repositioned the walls in the guest bath and combined the space with an existing walk-in closet to create seductive his-and-hers two-sided storage with floor-to-ceiling shelves. “We put our blood, sweat and tears into the project, from the top down,” says Miller, adding that they redid the entire automation system, introduced recessed lighting and incorporated frosted glass elements throughout—perfectly pulling together the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.
Complemented by the wife’s keen sense of design and commitment to quality, the project has taken time. A bare lightbulb hung above the entrance to her closet for more than two years as she waited patiently to encounter the perfect light fixture: a chandelier combining the delicacy of crystal with a bit of industrial chain mail. She snatched it up from Lightology the second she laid eyes on it.
Aiming for neutral tones with punches of color among the accents (clean but ever-so-edgy), the homeowner favors the work of Ligne Roset and B&B Italia, among a roster of other respectable designers. Still, finality may never come. “For me, design never stops, it never ends,” she says. “You can’t force art. It’s a creative process and you have to respect it.” The space has certainly come together in a masterful way, the product of the talent-laden team. “It’s so satisfying to sit down at the end and have it be breathtaking,” Miller reflects. “It’s something you can’t measure in dollars or cents—bringing an inspiration or vision to life.”