June 6, 2016

Rob Stuart Designs a Dream Home in the West Village

Designer Rob Stuart creates a light-filled modern aerie with subtle touches from a Wall Street trader's native India .

by Arlene Hirst interior designer Rob Stuart photographer Donna Dotan


In the far west Village the skyline is punctuated with towering glass, high-rise apartment buildings. But the neighborhood still holds simpler gems and it was in one of them that Kavi Gupta found his dream home. The space, around 1,800 square feet, is the result of a joined one bedroom and studio and it offers a bonus: every room faces the river. While Gupta is a savvy businessman, he was an amateur when it came to decorating.

A friend recommended interior designer Rob Stuart to redo the 80's style space, that was outfitted with wall-to-wall carpet, massive built-ins, and an aqua color scheme when Gupta moved in. "He's a man with a plan," says Stuart, who notes that while Gupta was single when the project started, he wanted to make sure that there would eventually be room for a wife.

Stuart made no major architectural moves, but reorganized the space. He widened and heightened all the entries and installed glass-fronted pocket doors, so that spaces could be closed off to create separate suites—perfect for privacy when his parents come to visit. In the living room, he refaced the fireplace, covering it with black Moroccan tiles and then installed the television directly on it. "I always put the television on a black surface," he explains. "It makes it disappear." Stuart increased the drama in the space with lighting, raising the ceiling by six inches to create a cove, which he dressed in reflective silver wallpaper from Lee Jofa and then installed 20 smoky bronze fixtures from O'Lampia.

A custom faux suede banquette inhabits a corner that abuts the kitchen.

A faux suede banquette fills the space where the old television used to be. "It's sort of downtown chic," says Stuart. "It's great for a cocktail hour since Gupta likes to entertain."

Stuart designed the guest bedroom so that it could also serve as a den, but had to redo floor plans at Gupta's mother's request. She wanted the space to comply with the rules of Vastu-Shastra, the Indian version of Feng Shui.

The collaboration between the two men was important and worked well, says Stuart. It must have: Gupta is now looking for a second home for Stuart to decorate.

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