For an interior designer who has cultivated a reputation for installing highly detailed interior environments, AD100 designer Nicole Hollis says the commission to furnish this penthouse in Manhattan’s Nolita offered her a rare opportunity.
“Because of the building’s rich history, we really wanted to respect the interior architecture of the space,” Hollis says of an apartment with arching brick ceilings and cast-iron columns that preserve its authentic 19th-century character. “But we also knew we had a unique chance to blend the modern and historic elements to create the sense of relaxed functional luxury the apartment lacked.”
What the apartment didn’t lack was size and space—it clocks in at 5,627 square feet spread over two levels. Hollis says she focused on minimally refining an interior space blessed with sweeping views of both the Midtown and downtown skylines. But she also wanted the handling of form, flow, and proportion to allow the clients to find and express their own distinctive style.
“The owners are repeat clients, so we had a strong intuition for how they wanted to live and function in their surroundings,” Hollis says of the couple with three children. The design studio worked with builder DeBono Brothers on a yearlong project that employs understated colors and strong, simple forms to create interiors with a sophisticated, urbane sensibility.
A spiral staircase featuring a smoked glass chandelier by Bocci greets you as you enter the penthouse. The foyer has black, white, and gray stone flooring arranged in a geometric pattern along with white walls that allow artwork by the artist Vija Celmins to stand out. A large black stone double-sided fireplace commands attention in a living room that includes white oak flooring, rolling brick ceilings, and a striking sculptural brass coffee table by AD100 architect Vincenzo De Cotiis. A pair of vintage wingback lounge chairs by the Finnish artist Arttu Brummer add to the allure of the space. The furnishings sit atop a subtle, geometric patterned wool and silk rug by Marc Phillips.
The soul of the interiors are animated by the homeowners’ contemporary art collection, which encompasses works by a diverse roster of artists. The collection includes a large playful mirrored work by the artist Olafur Eliasson, and a colorfully woven sculpture by Sheila Hicks. An energetic grouping of Donald Judd works in the family room provides a lively framework for the space, says Hollis, who kept the fabrics and finishes neutral with a few accents that play along with the colorful artworks. “The goal was to work with the art instead of fighting with it,” she says.
The dining room features an overscale mobile chandelier by Celine Wright hanging above a walnut slab dining table by BDDW. Surrounding the dining table are a set of vintage handcrafted dining chairs by Sam Maloof. Up the spiral staircase, on the home’s second level, lies the primary suite and a pair of guest bedrooms.
The primary bedroom features walls and ceiling painted in a soft warm gray by Farrow & Ball in Purbeck Stone, and brick detailing along the window wall. Furnishings include a custom bed by Nicole Hollis fabricated by Barahona, cast bronze table lamps by Elan Atelier, and a bench by Atelier Purcell. The pieces all sit atop a custom wool and silk rug with an abstracted pattern scattered throughout by Fort Street Studio. The first of the guest bedrooms has brick detailing along the window wall, a pair of bedside tables by Hao Wai, and gray and marble table lamps by Gubi. The room also features a series of colorful palm trees artwork by American artist Charles Gaines.
“You’re greeted with a sense of peace and serenity” when you enter the bedrooms, adds Hollis. “That was the goal underpinning the entire project.”