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By Andrea Mills | Photo: by Werner Straube | January 30, 2018
When her clients purchased the remainder of their floor, Sasha Adler was called back to change the space and rework their amazing collection of art and antiques within it.
Sasha Adler, co-design director of Nate Berkus Associates, was in Paris when she found a pair of chandeliers and sconces that she knew would be perfect. “Dealers are constantly sending us new inventory, and sometimes an image is the only way to communicate, but when you see it in person and it takes your breath away, you know you’ve found the right one,” says Adler. She immediately called her clients, who have an immense understanding and appreciation of antiques and vintage pieces, as well as a huge amount of trust in Adler—after completing the original renovation of their condo, the young couple with a growing family called her back to combine the space with the other half of the floor they had just purchased. Adler approached the expansion as an entirely new unit—“I think it’s a mistake not to address the entire space and focus on the addition because then there isn’t a seamless integration with the rest of the home,” she explains.
Other than the master bedroom and bathroom, few things were kept in their original place. A new private elevator entry required a designated foyer, with gates for additional security. The family had grown since the original renovation, so their needs for the space changed dramatically as well. Working with renowned kitchen designer Mick De Giulio, the kitchen was completely redesigned and moved to where the original dining room was to make it more open to the living space. To accommodate their love of entertaining, the home is oriented into two sections with the bedrooms, playroom, kitchen, everyday dining area, pantry and family room on one side, and the formal dining room, living room, TV room and home office to the other, essentially allowing the family side to be closed off so the kids could still have dinner and go to bed while the adults are hosting friends.
With the latest renovation, Adler and her team addressed the long hallway, which they transformed from a utilitarian space that felt like a repetition of doors to a beautiful progression of paneling. “The second renovation gave us an opportunity to take a deeper dive into the finishes and architecture of the home and elevate them to the standards of their collection,” says Adler.
And what a collection it is. While their furniture shows their love of antiques, their art is decidedly more modern and in line with the aesthetic of Adler and Nate Berkus Associates. “They have a real eye for it. I’m always asking them to tell me about their pieces and why they chose them,” says Adler. “It’s so great when you have a rapport where you can learn from each other.”
At the heart of their relationship is trust, and it shows in the fact that they let Adler place the art, along with the furniture. “When you own art, you get used to it being in a particular place, so it was a real honor, and interesting, to see it take on a new life,” Adler says. Another form of art in the space is the lighting—all vintage and antique pieces sourced from Europe. Lighting “was a very important element of the design,” notes Adler, “and at night, it takes on different elements.”
Most of the furniture also got a new life—whether retrofitted, such as a cabinet that was transformed into a bathroom vanity, reupholstered or simply given a new function. Everything was carefully chosen to add architectural appeal and elevate the existing collection. To achieve accessible storage in the dining room for china and table linens, without the look or feel of closets, antique French panels cover inset built-ins, while the pair of chandeliers that Adler found in Paris create a stunning focal point. The sconces found on the same trip flank the fireplace with an antique surround in the living room. Anything new was a custom design by Adler, such as the sofa, coffee table and banquettes, which are arranged in pockets of conversation areas. “The living room was tricky because it’s such a large space, and we wanted to create different seating areas without it feeling like a lot of seating,” explains Adler. To do this, she unexpectedly placed the sofa with its back to the window, while symmetrical banquettes in the corners face out. “The space has to function as a whole.”
Functioning well as a whole could be the best description of the entire home, with its feeling of openness. It perfectly accommodates family living as well as the ability to entertain a crowd. But what impresses most is their collection of furniture, which Adler has loved helping them navigate and build. “There is a great mix of antiques with vintage and modern pieces,” she says, “that all work so well to balance each other in the space.”
Sasha Adler, Nate Berkus Associates
BUILDER, PAINTER & MILLWORK
Tip Top Builders
Mirrored nightstands in master bedroom
Louis chairs in dining room
Kilim in library
Fabrication of custom sofa in master bedroom
GALERIE GLUSTIN LUMINAIRES
Sputnik chandeliers in dining room and linear sconces in living room
HUBBARD DESIGN GROUP
Custom brass-and-glass dining table
LEO'S FURNITURE & UPHOLSTERY
All custom upholstery
Custom limestone coffee table in living room
Peruvian area rug in master bedroom
Area rug in family room and jute rug in living room
Custom goatskin rugs in living room
THE URBAN ELECTRIC COMPANY
Sconces in hallway