March 2, 2015

Kevin Dumais and Ben Herzog Update a Tribeca Residence

For a family with three young children, New York-based interior designer Kevin Dumais gracefully updates a Tribeca loft to straddle the line between daytime ease and nighttime elegance

by Judith Nasatir interior designer Dumais Interior Design photographer Joshua McHugh architecture Ben Herzog Architect, PC


One of the wonders of design is that it can make the seemingly impossible absolutely practical. Take, for example, this child-proof-by-day, elegant-for-evening, 2,200-square-foot Tribeca residence for a family with three young children. When the clients called in New York-based interior designer Kevin Dumais to help with the reinvention of their three-bedroom apartment, they had been living in the space for several years, recently had their first two children-twins-and, with their Brooklyn-based architect, Ben Herzog, were starting an architectural upgrade. On the agenda, says Herzog, were reconfiguring the kitchen, reshaping closets, reducing a full bath to a powder room to create a better laundry, and redirecting the HVAC into the ceiling. Once Dumais came on board, the two designers worked closely in tandem to finesse spatial function and finishes (such as wide-plank oak floors and built-in cabinetry). Dumais then layered in the rest of the interior.

Says Dumais about the recast kitchen: "It had to be elegant enough for night dining, but a daytime workhorse." That it is, with a newly built-in bar area at one end, a landscaped terrace (running the length of the apartment), a central island, and plenty of storage. The heart of the room-the eat-in breakfast nook-incorporates a banquette built into a floor-to-ceiling wall of bleached walnut paneling that conceals a flat-screen TV.

The living room, too, has multiple personalities, encompassing both a family-friendly-play area and a more formal furniture arrangement for entertaining friends. It does guest-room duty also, thanks to a wall-unit-half chalkboard, half in cork, for the small set-that houses a Murphy bed. Dumais incorporated many of the clients' existing pieces, and added upholstery forms to bring the mix up to date. The designer adds: "We kept it streamlined for the kids. Their more traditional pieces, the heirlooms, we put into storage."

In the master bedroom, Dumais admits he "went more romantic," with an upholstered bed by A. Rudin, dressed in a soft shades of gray, mauve, and blue. "The original room was under-furnished," he says. "We brought it up to a more mature state, with wall-hanging drawers that run the whole width of the room and a huge, custom, drum chandelier that creates a canopy effect."

The goal, says Dumais, was to resolve that most contemporary of design paradoxes-a "modern interior with the warmth of a traditional environment." With a predominately neutral palette, he's clearly found the balance.