A Chelsea Condo Gets A Dramatic Makeover Inspired By Menswear
After more than two decades together as life partners, two men in Manhattan recently decided to downsize, but in high style. They found a two-bedroom aerie in a new building in Chelsea, near the instantly iconic High Line, the remarkable elevated park built atop an abandoned train route that has revitalized the West Side from the Meatpacking District to the soon-to blossom Hudson Yards. Light-filled,
with great views of the neighborhood, the place seemed like a perfect fit.
Then came the flood. Because of an accident in the apartment of an upstairs neighbor, the couple’s new abode was steeped in water. With walls and floors requiring major reconstruction, the fellows went back
to the drawing board.
That’s where designer Phyllis Harbinger comes in. The principal of Design Concepts/Interiors in
Cortlandt Manor, NY, she’s a veteran of HGTV’s Designers’ Challenge and Battle on the Block. “The clients have wonderful taste and a beautiful collection of art, but the flood was a chance to rethink the floor plan, colors and textures,” she says.
Inspired by the stylish, dapper duo, Harbinger tailor-made the decor based upon some of the textures and detailing of bespoke menswear: think herringbone, gray flannel and blue blazers translated into stylish accompaniments to midcentury modern furniture and lamps.
A charcoal gray sofa anchors the living room, and bright orange, leather-upholstered club chairs provide a splash of color, “like a pocket square or bright tie,” Harbinger says. The owners’ collection of colorful framed art is showcased on a textured, light gray wall, while a classic Paul Frankel sideboard stands nearby. A textured gray rug with a subtle graphic graces the reinstalled oak floors. In the open kitchen, an island newly topped by Carrara marble is framed by orange seated metal bar stools by Luna Bella. A vintage oversize clock lends a bold graphic accent to one wall, while a large round mirror reflects light.
The study features a navy sofa on a cowhide rug (shades of Ralph Lauren or even Tommy Hilfiger), with built-in shelves lining a wall covered in grass cloth. Woven draperies filter the light. “The textures of the materials were more of a focus in this apartment than bringing in too many graphic patterns,” Harbinger says. “It’s never buttoned down, but not too busy.” A vintage club chair and desk chairs are paired with a black, two-armed wall sconce designed by French master Serge Mouille. The sporty oval cocktail table is from Desiron. Masks, maps and other treasures from the owners’ world travels provide a sexy, curatorial interior ambience.
In the master suite, faux fur and herringbone pillows rest against the ultrasuede headboard of a custom Cliff Young bed. It’s a layered, luxe look that calls to mind a trip to Barneys or Burberry. A Century dresser with a hand-finished chocolate case and satin American walnut–veneer drawers is like a beautiful oversized humidor or the fine cabinets tucked into a gentlemen’s retreat. In this apartment custom-fitted for two
men about town, subtlety trumps overt, splashy style. The best part? It’s tailor-made for them.