March 6, 2015

CetraRuddy Designs a Park Avenue Pre-war

Cetraruddy Liberates a Luminous Park Avenue Pre-War From The Weighty and Predictable

by Karen Lehrman Bloch interior designer Cetraruddy photographer Peter Margonelli


John Cetra and Nancy Ruddy, who founded their award-winning namesake architecture and interior design firm in 1987, not only love the language of design, they also love language itself. So much so, in fact, that aspirational phrases like "the poetry of humanity" and "the quest for beauty" float across their website. Happily, for them the two forms of communication are virtually one and the same.

In 2012, Ruddy and her director of interior design, Ximena Rodriguez, opened up a gracious 4,000-square-foot corner Park Avenue apartment to reflect the family's lifestyle while respecting the building's 1929 provenance. The designers extensively reconfigured the floor plan to allow a better flow between the kitchen and the living, family, and dining rooms. The kitchen, which originally faced an interior courtyard, was relocated and incorporated into the family room to create one large communal space overlooking Park Avenue.

"The open layout and flow of spaces distinguish the apartment and provide an ease of navigation upon entry," says Rodriguez. "They also allow for a better experience of the wonderful sunlight."

Desk and Chair
Soft neutrals create calm in the master bedroom, accented by a Michael Berman
from Profiles mahogany desk, a white Dennis Miller chair, and a painting by
Duoling Huang from the owners collection.

The furniture is an eclectic mix of custom modern pieces, 1940s elements, and sculptural antique wood pieces. Punctuating a palette of luxurious neutral materials are works from the clients' spirited collection of modern art.

In the living room, grandly scaled 1940s bronze lamps from Paris and a cane-back early American wood chair add a light vintage feel and strong, shapely accents. The eat-in kitchen combines stainless-steel chemist cabinets with additional cabinets lacquered in daffodil yellow and white, plus a free-form dining table from Hudson Furniture surrounded with a suite of Art Deco chairs by Jules Leleu and laser-cut pendant fixtures from Louis Poulsen.

Ruddy and Rodriguez also created an expansively dreamy master bathroom with a novel approach, connecting two existing separate bathrooms via a walk-through two-person shower. The result "allows privacy but togetherness," says Rodriguez. A newly added powder room combines a Moura Starr pendant light with a 1950s Italian mirror.

"The apartment is reflective of our design approach," says Ruddy. "Modern and traditional elements are juxtaposed to create memorable spaces."