February 19, 2015

Christina Mascarenhas Renovates an Apartment in The Chatham

New York-based interior designer Cristiana Mascarenhas of In Plus designs a stunning, modern art-filled apartment in The Chatham..

by Karen Lehrman Bloch interior designer Cristiana Mascarenhas photographer Konstantinos Pigadas


When Brazilian-born Cristiana Mascarenhas approached her fourth renovation in The Chatham, a classic (postmodern) Robert A.M. Stern building on East 65th Street, her instinctive reaction was to gut it. Mascarenhas and her clients, a Lebanese couple in their 50s who had been living in Hong Kong, wanted more of a blank canvas to create their own frisson through art and furnishings. "We tore down all the existing finishes-all molding, paneling on doors-and eliminated many of the walls to make it more modern and open," says Mascarenhas, whose In Plus design firm has offices in both Manhattan and Rio.

The result is a sizzling mix of sleek Italian furniture and fiery high-glam accents. In a living room with views of Central Park, a Minotti sofa, two Papilio chairs by B&B Italia, and a Noguchi side table by DWR are roused by a wooden grid coffee table called Cubo Libre and a ring-shaped Anel chair, both from Espasso. The glam factor is upped another notch by a large Thomas Struth photo and a silver and gray rug from Turkey.

Mascarenhas eliminated the maid's room to enlarge the kitchen and cleverly integrated the kitchen with the dining room, creating a central hub for the couple and their two teens. "They like to cook but not alone, so we did this large kitchen with wooden and black details so it looked less like a kitchen and more as part of the dining area," she says. The stately dining table and chairs from Cassina and B&B Italia are offset by a large orange photo by Wolfgang Tillmans, a blue sculpture by Carlos Betancourt, and an arresting photo by Darren Almond.

But it is perhaps in the study media room that Mascarenhas's Brazilian sense of harmony is most effective. Next to the sofa and a burnt orange leather ottoman, Mascarenhas created a wooden sliding door inspired by mashrabiyas, windows with traditional Arabian latticework. "I wanted to do a piece that let the light pass and yet give some privacy," she says. A nod to the family's roots, the door offers a truly cross-cultural vibe that completes both the room and the apartment.