Every once in a while, you are blessed with a very special client- someone stylish and bold, who pushes you as a designer to a land of color and pattern just a little outside of your comfort zone. In the case of Greenwich Village Arty, lighting struck twice because we were able to work with our fearless client for a second time on an exceptional home.
We first worked with this client back in 2016 on her home in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Shortly after wrapping the first project, they moved back up to New York City. After a couple of years of renting and searching for their next purchase, they found their family home in a quirky yet stately townhome in Greenwich Village.
Previously owned by a prolific artist, this home had a lot of interesting details and a few personalities. While the garden level was dark with brutalist influences (a massive stone fireplace, green concrete floors, rustic wood beams) the parlour level was bright, expansive and feminine. We had a to find a way to bridge the design gap between the two floors and also mix in our client's own distinct, expressive style. Our client's style is graphic maximalist- no fear when it comes to eclectic color or pattern, and a deep love of animal print and black and white. While her tendency leans towards "more is more" she trusted us to layer and edit to achieve the delicate balance that makes this family home dynamic while also airy, happy and comfortable.
Today's post focuses on the garden level, with subsequent posts covering the parlour and bedroom levels. There is a lot of design goodness to share, and we can't wait to dive into the details of each space.
VIEW FROM THE FRONT DOOR OF ORIGINAL GARDEN LEVEL
The garden level had a few challenges. Compared to the rest of the house, the ceilings were low and the natural light was minimal. It also had a few distinct architectural elements that our client was fond of, but didn't exactly align with the rest of her style and vision. One such feature were the pea-green concrete floors. They were very unique but certainly not something we would have chosen for the space. The client was a big fan though, so we found a way to work them into the design. Another strong element were rustic wood beams and posts that were placed in seemingly odd positions in the kitchen and front room.
This floor is the primary family space. It needed to function well for everyday life, play, meals, and light office work. We divided the open concept space into 4 distinct areas. The front was divided into a playroom and mudroom with a wall separating the two areas along an existing wood beam. The central area is the kitchen. We kept the layout and existing cabinetry but added an island and made many cosmetic and functional changes. And the largest area is the back which serves as family room and dining with easy access to the back patio.
Family Room BEFORE
With a wall of doors facing onto the back garden, we wanted to take advantage of the natural light in the family room and make sure the views to the outside could be enjoyed. In developing our Mood Design, we envisioned a light neutral space with plenty of layered pattern and texture and selective graphic moments of color to shake up the space. The massive fireplace and a 65" television were critical drivers in planning our layout. We had to arrange furniture to celebrate two focal points as well as the back doors. Out clients also wanted generous clearances to move about the space while also maximizing seating capacity and comfort. The modern sectional with curved ottoman ends provides cozy lounging to watch TV, enjoy the fireplace OR take in the garden. A second seating area by the fireplace has three chairs and a coffee table and is a great place to have a drink, play a game, or chat with family.
The sofa fabric- a soft, subtle geometric is more visually interesting and functionally forgiving than a solid. It's been given a protective "food and beverage" treatment which is essential for real families that live on their sofa.
Pattern on pattern on pattern with neon. This Moroccan Rug is one of my (Naomi's) favorites of all time.
Dining Nook - BEFORE
The previous owner left a dining banquette that fit perfectly in the dining nook, so we decided to re-use it. We upholstered it, opting for a black and white dot which streamlined the banquette allowing for a few other standout design elements in the space. We knew we wanted to make a statement on the walls help to differentiate this nook from the seating area. A fiery orange is the ultimate energizing moment that is both the perfect backdrop to our client's modern art and an electric nod to the colorful Moroccan rug by the sectional.
Designing around this fireplace was a bit of a challenge! We started by layering on a graphic neutral paper that both complements the fireplace and softens it a bit. From there we punched it up on the modern chairs with this fabulous, oversized geo print in apricots, blues and pinks. I love how the modern coffee table has the unexpected blush plinth base. Just the perfect tie into the chairs without trying too hard.
The footprint and perimeter cabinetry remained in this kitchen, but the new space is almost unrecognizable. We started by painting the cabinetry a deep inky teal and adding a two-toned island with graphic tile end panels. We installed wood beams, matched in style to the existing, to help define this central room. A custom range hood and pendant lights are finishing jewelry that can't be ignored.
While the stove was initially designed in stainless, our client asked us to consider the colorful options from Blue Star and make a suggestion. We perused dozens and dozens of colors and landed on telemagenta.
We custom designed this tile pattern for the island ends. I love how it speaks to the slate inclusions in the concrete floor and ties into the cabinet color as well.
With no windows, the powder room needed a cheeky pattern to bring it to life. These lips make me smile every time I see them. A vanity with high backsplash in Naica quartzite was both quite handsome and functional- protecting the paper from less than careful hand washers.
The front of the garden level was a challenging space to design. It would be the main entrance for the family, so we needed storage to corral all of their jackets, shoes and bags. It also had to serve as a play space for the kids. Being that the entire level is open concept, it also had to look pretty and tie in visually with the rest of the room- in particular the kitchen.
Prior to the renovation, it was all one open space. The garden level entry door is on the left, and stairs up the Parlour level on the right, with my husband, Jeremy, posing for posterity. We proposed to add a wall with an opening along the wood beam to divide the spaces into mudroom and playroom.
A painterly wallpaper printed on heavy duty vinyl handles busy traffic flow and provides a fun energy to this small space. Adding mirror to the door also helped reflect light and visually enlarge this area.
Custom storage is both handsome and functional!
This space is called the playroom- and the kids certainly use it- but it also had to double as extra storage space for our clients collection of coats and bags. We designed a wall of built-in cabinets taking careful note of scale so as not to overwhelm this small space. A sofa doubles a sleeper bed, giving this room a third use!
We didn't want to do a typical built-in, opting instead to design custom furniture style armoires with a custom geometric pattern worked into the surface.
We love how this space is fun but doesn't scream playroom. It was important to us that it visually connected to the rest of the garden level.
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And that's a wrap on the garden level. From the electric Moroccan rug to the telemagenta stove to the bright yellow game table, we love the energy and fearlessness of this space. It was designed for a real-life family to be used, abused and enjoyed. Up next is the Parlour Level, which is the grown up party girl to this family friendly Garden level. Stay tuned!
Photography by Raquel Langworthy