April 12, 2016

JarvisStudio Focuses on the Views in Chelsea's Walker Tower

In Chelsea's Walker Tower, designer Jarvis Wong creates an aerie fit for a king and his family.

by Deborah L. Martin interior designer JarvisStudio photographer Joshua McHugh architecture JarvisStudio

ROOMS WITH A VIEW

Walker Tower, designed by Ralph Thomas Walker in 1929 for The New York Telephone Company, has long dominated the Chelsea skyline. Since 2012, when developer Michael Stern purchased the building and converted the upper floors to luxury apartments, it has also dominated the residential real estate market. Jarvis Wong came in on the ground floor, quite literally. "I did the model apartment and the lobby for Michael," says Wong, "and then I moved on to other things." After running into the developer on the street, Wong found himself with a new project: Stern's own duplex apartment in the ultra-hot "telephone building."

"The building has an uptown pedigree of Neo-classical and Art Deco design, but also has the energy of Chelsea," says Wong. "I wanted to reflect that in the design of this apartment." The centerpiece of the expansive and light-filled space is the view. Wong created intimate seating areas anchored by an architectural
JarvisStudio custom rug and a color palette that is at once glamorous, modern, and vibrant. "The seating areas encourage movement and intimacy and allow complete access to the view. When opened fully the terrace doors create a feeling of outdoor living."

A Slim Aarons photograph, Poolside Gossip, from the Staley-Wise Gallery, hangs over a vintage bar cart from Aero.
A Slim Aarons photograph, Poolside Gossip, from the Staley-Wise Gallery, hangs over a vintage bar cart from Aero.

Wong's approach was to mix architectural elements with touches of fashion glamour. Acid green fabric on side chairs, pillows in graphic patterns from Donghia/Rubelli and Lee Jofa, pops of color in lighting and artwork, and subtle sparkle in wall finishes are the haute couture accessories that compliment the neutral base palette. The space is both intimate and grand.

The private rooms are equally luxurious. In the family room on the first floor the B&B Italia sofa is expansive, and the back wall is lined with bookshelves. "I call it the Los Angeles room because the colors are sunny and warm." The master suite on the second floor incorporates elegant textures and finishes: a leather wall serves as a massive headboard for the custom platform bed, upholstered in fabric by Pierre Frey. From the bed one can gaze north to the Empire State Building, or south to One World Trade Center.

The "master of the universe" bath was the one architectural change made to the original space. Divided into two rooms and lined with complex marble tile work, it is a place to escape the stresses of the day. From the Waterworks tub there is an unobstructed view of lower Manhattan. In the anterior room, silver leaf, nickel accents, mirrors, and Sequoia brown marble complete the luxury spa feel of the space.

The unifying design theme? Function and luxury with touches of intimate, casual glamour. "The challenge here was to make this space livable for a young family, yet elegant and luxurious for entertaining," says Wong. Mission accomplished.

The children's bedroom is a fantasy in lavender. Dragonfly wallpaper from Scion and a pendant light by Challièrres add whimsy.
The children's bedroom is a fantasy in lavender. Dragonfly wallpaper from Scion and a pendant light by Challièrres add whimsy.

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