February 12, 2017

Glenn Gissler's Brings a Global Aesthetic to a Union Square Apartment

Glenn Gissler designs a Union Square home for a young banker that reflects an understated sensibility and worldly views.

by Nicole Haddad interior designer Glenn Gissler photographer Gross & Daley


When Glenn Gissler was asked to design a young banker's starter apartment in Union Square, he delivered the diametric opposite of a black-leather-couch-laden bachelor pad. "I am interested in how my clients want to live in the next five years," says Gissler. "The idea here was to present a sophisticated space that did not exude a prepackaged feel." That foresight turned out to be fortuitous, as the two-bedroom apartment smoothly transitioned into a home for newlyweds and a baby.

Gissler, who is trained as an architect, first tackled the layout. "A lot of work we do involves what we term 'architectural corrections,'" says the designer. Since the original floorplan failed to yield a smooth delineation of space, and in fact, just opened into one large living space with all the private spaces to the right of the entrance, a distinction was needed. To solve the problem, Gissler placed a freestanding wall between the kitchen and the living room—separating what was once united while keeping a walkway open on both sides for ease of use. The new living configuration also allowed for a television to grace the wall—now facing a custom, nine-and-a-half-foot-long sofa for relaxation or entertaining. A patterned area rug under a steel-and-limestone coffee table marks the space, while a sculptural Bokuro chair from Tucker Robbins adds an element of interest.

A modernist Italian recliner from Mondo Modern provides the perfect perch in which to view the set of 10 vintage Rorschach Inkblot Plates that continue on into the kitchen.
A modernist Italian recliner from Mondo Modern provides the perfect perch in which to view the set of 10 vintage Rorschach Inkblot Plates that continue on into the kitchen. "They stand out from the distance as graphic elements," says Gissler. "But they also provide an entry point to understanding contemporary art."

In the kitchen, Gissler kept it cool. He added an area rug and kept the palette of the cabinets a shade complementary to the Kingsport Grey-painted feature wall that flows into the living area. A set of ten evocative c. 1940 Rorschach Inkblot Plates connect the two rooms.

To combat the distance between the public and private rooms while also extending the views within and out into the city, Gissler applied the technique of forced perspective. Past one end of the 20-foot-long hallway, an antique Moroccan olive urn sits atop a custom stand, while at the other, a well-placed plant sits in front of the master bedroom window. A running photo ledge and an orange rug enhance the earthy theme and establish continuity.

The master bedroom is in keeping with the rest of the home, reflecting a well thought-out and curated mix of old and new in warm tones. An antique wood trunk from India, a lithograph by Bryan Hunt, and a patterned rug from Crate & Barrel play well with a swing arm lamp from Pottery Barn and Euro shams from West Elm. The room exudes a worldly, eclectic appeal, though, as Gissler says, "In the wrong hands, eclectic is permission to make a big mess." In this case, Gissler's hands are perfect. For a designer whose ultimate goal is to always exceed expectations, his style is on point.

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