A couple calls on Safavieh to reimagine their prized pre-war apartment.
Large pre-war apartments in Manhattan are especially prized. When the owners of the one seen here were ready for a lifestyle change, they didn’t think of moving. They simply called on Safavieh to reimagine the place.
“If you saw ‘before’ pictures of this apartment, you wouldn’t recognize it,” says Iris Cavias, a designer based at Safaveih’s Glen Cove, New York, store, who tackled the project with her colleague Joe Murphy. “The rooms were beautifully furnished with the highest quality traditional pieces to match the pre-war finishes.”
“Rarely have I been part of such a total visual transformation,” notes Cavias. Every surface was refinished. Every light fixture was changed. Where there had been a forest of mahogany furniture, he brought in pieces finished in painted wood, metallics and upholstery.
“Dark wood was almost totally banished,” quips Joe Murphy, “but not quite: You’ll notice a mahogany desktop in the library. It sits atop a really stunning satin metal base—a beautiful modern context for dark wood.”
Repetition of colors helps tie together the various spaces, gray being the new master hue. Certain stylistic themes and shapes are also repeated. For example, variations on the klismos chair, with its outcurved legs and
curved back, appear in most of the rooms, as do hand-woven rugs by Safavieh in shades of gray.
While the redesigned apartment has a totally new look, the project is also notable for what didn’t change. Walls were not knocked down, so the apartment still “reads” as pre-war, with a succession of defined rooms. Historic moldings and fire surrounds were left intact; any stained wood paneling was lacquered. “We didn’t want or need to mess with the architecture,” says Cavias. “The total transformation we achieved is a testament to the power of paint and new furnishings.”