PARK AVENUE — a New View
       MY HUSBAND, FRANK, BOUGHT THIS APARTMENT RIGHT BEFORE WE STARTED DATING. As a downtown girl, the thought of relocating to the Upper East Side was not my idea of movin’ on up in life. But, as usual, fate had a different plan. I’ll never forget the first time he took me to see the space: it was dark, smelled like mothballs, and it was uptown. I hated it! But I loved Frank, and he loved the apartment, so it was part of the package.
       After my initial resistance, the breathtaking view of the open sky from the 14th Floor (rare for New York City) ignited a fire I didn't know I had. That fire was my sudden burning desire to tackle a nature-inspired design project. 
       From the serene, spa-like Master Suite, to the earthy eclectic Living Room and Dining Rooms, allusions to nature were abundant. Color stories revolved around earth, water, wind, and fire, and there were enough animals to start a mini zoo (in fact, I may have had more animals inside that apartment than there are in Central Park!) The journey of the Park Avenue renovation was a delight for me both as a designer and as a person who loved every step of the process, from inspiration to installation.  
      The experiences taught me that as a designer, I'm best at following my bliss, and as one half of a couple I can survive anything! While it wasn't always easy, the upside was that I grew as a designer and I got to know my future husband really really well. Before it was finished, we decided to stay together forever and argue about renovations into our old age! The End. 
      Just kidding! Actually, it was only the beginning. We are now married and have a daughter, Olivia, who is—as I write this—22 months old. Her arrival was the reason we sold the apartment as soon as the renovation wrapped. But the road to selling was full of so many colorful moments, including a wedding and the birth of a child. I still love everything about this apartment and miss it terribly. See the slideshow below, for highlights of my favorite design moments.
PHOTO: Susannah Ray



Inspiration
Strikes
ANYWHERE

This TULEH DRESS is the perfect example of finding inspiration in your own closet. This fabric was one of my roots of inspiration for the Park Ave. color scheme.
The first time I saw the Queen Victoria pattern from HEREND , I was in love! What more could I want? It has bugs, butterflies, and hand painted golden sparkles. This was the beginning of a whole collection of nature-inspired objects.
Inspiration can be found anywhere! Walking past a NEWSSTAND, this cover caught my eye. It reminded me of what I was doing at my apartment, so I picked it up! I kept referring back to the color scheme when I would start to lose my way.
My grasscloth-lined foyer doubles<br />
as a gallery for canvases like Ross Bleckner's <em>Happiness for Instance III</em> and this amazing horse by Joseph Piccillo. Contemporary artworks balanced out the traditional feel<br />
of the wood floors and prominent moldings.<br />
<br />
To create a shimmering effect for the foyer ceiling, I used metallic-gold marine varnish. The golden chartreuse Venini chandelier just shimmers against the sleek surface. The paint is a custom color from Eagle Paint & Wallpaper. I've worked with them forever—they mix all my bespoke hues. They'll match any sample and they <span>ship</span> anywhere in the U.S.
PARK AVENUE FLAT
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Foyer

My grasscloth-lined foyer doubles
as a gallery for canvases like Ross Bleckner's Happiness for Instance III and this amazing horse by Joseph Piccillo. Contemporary artworks balanced out the traditional feel
of the wood floors and prominent moldings.

To create a shimmering effect for the foyer ceiling, I used metallic-gold marine varnish. The golden chartreuse Venini chandelier just shimmers against the sleek surface. The paint is a custom color from Eagle Paint & Wallpaper. I've worked with them forever—they mix all my bespoke hues. They'll match any sample and they ship anywhere in the U.S.

PHOTO : Foyer, Peter Margonelli
My living room is all vintage: a Steven Chase onyx table, Milo Baughman chairs in the original mustard vinyl (also known as pleather), a lacquered goatskin side table with rotating glass tops, and a Dunbar sofa. I love using pieces with a sense of history--it's more like curating than decorating. I'm always trolling <a href="http://1stDibs.com" style="color: rgb(178, 149, 55);" target="_blank">1stDibs.com</a>, which is such a great educational tool. It’s made shopping for vintage a much more sophisticated proposition.
PARK AVENUE FLAT
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Living Room

My living room is all vintage: a Steven Chase onyx table, Milo Baughman chairs in the original mustard vinyl (also known as pleather), a lacquered goatskin side table with rotating glass tops, and a Dunbar sofa. I love using pieces with a sense of history--it's more like curating than decorating. I'm always trolling 1stDibs.com, which is such a great educational tool. It’s made shopping for vintage a much more sophisticated proposition.

PHOTO : Francoise Dischinger
The den is a little moodier than the main living space since we mostly use it as our evening hangout. For the sofa, I splurged on this amazing, old-world silk upholstery from Quadrille in vibrant burnt-red and chartreuse. Because I’d spent so much on the fabric, I chose a Jennifer Convertibles pullout with clean, classic lines that was reasonably priced. It’s so streamlined, it could be from anywhere—especially dressed in that fancy fabric.
PARK AVENUE FLAT
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Den

The den is a little moodier than the main living space since we mostly use it as our evening hangout. For the sofa, I splurged on this amazing, old-world silk upholstery from Quadrille in vibrant burnt-red and chartreuse. Because I’d spent so much on the fabric, I chose a Jennifer Convertibles pullout with clean, classic lines that was reasonably priced. It’s so streamlined, it could be from anywhere—especially dressed in that fancy fabric.

PHOTO : Francoise Dischinger
I love any excuse to play cards or board games. When you grow up on a farm, it's the only way to entertain yourself! I own two game tables, including a lacquered piece by Karl Springer and this marquetry version, an antique Persian design purchased on my honeymoon in Morocco. I love how it folds up when not in use and doubles as a skinny console.
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My Favorite Things

I love any excuse to play cards or board games. When you grow up on a farm, it's the only way to entertain yourself! I own two game tables, including a lacquered piece by Karl Springer and this marquetry version, an antique Persian design purchased on my honeymoon in Morocco. I love how it folds up when not in use and doubles as a skinny console.

PHOTO : Susannah Ray
I am not a fan of busy, crowded bathrooms. Graphic wallpaper is a dramatic way to fill small spaces without using furniture and tchotchkes. For the powder room, I found this whimsical metallic chinoiserie from Stark in my favorite color: gold.
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Powder Room

I am not a fan of busy, crowded bathrooms. Graphic wallpaper is a dramatic way to fill small spaces without using furniture and tchotchkes. For the powder room, I found this whimsical metallic chinoiserie from Stark in my favorite color: gold.

PHOTO : Peter Margonelli
We have flatscreens all over the house. Most TVs are an eyesore, so I try to hide them in recessed niches or pop-up cabinetry. But we just bought this cute little white one that's perfect for kitchens and baths. Why is it, though, that today you can buy custom sneakers and custom handbags--but no one makes a flatscreen with customizable frames to match your wall paint?
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Walkthrough Bathroom

We have flatscreens all over the house. Most TVs are an eyesore, so I try to hide them in recessed niches or pop-up cabinetry. But we just bought this cute little white one that's perfect for kitchens and baths. Why is it, though, that today you can buy custom sneakers and custom handbags--but no one makes a flatscreen with customizable frames to match your wall paint?

PHOTO : Susannah Ray
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