February 5, 2015

Interior Designer Paul Latham Renovates a Midtown Apartment

Paul Latham helps a client with extensive and varied collections combine two Midtown apartments into a seamless, comfortable residence full of surprises.

by Judith Nasatir interior designer Paul Latham Design photographer Costas Picadas

The master bedroom is a study in serenity, with Poltrona Frau's Sera bed and Mouille-designed light fixtures from Gueridon

Some collectors go in hot pursuit of the rare and the rarified. Others focus tightly on a style, period, type, medium, or artist. Still others? Their caprice lies with the something special of many types. Such is the super-savvy, visually clairvoyant, "know a little bit about a lot of things" owner of this bright, white, two-bedroom residence, the result of a merger of two apartments completed in collaboration with interior designer Paul Latham. The owner, a second-generation real estate executive, has been interested in art since childhood, when his father occasionally took payment in paintings. Today, his passions range wide: 20th-century abstract art, including Rosenquist, Motherwell, Anuskeiwicz and more; mid-century modern design from Nelson, Kjaerholm, Bertoia, Saarinen, and beyond; and contemporary art, photography, and video art, to name just a handful of the favorite things that give the residence such an up-to-the-minute, yet highly personal point of view.

Before the owner brought in Latham to finesse the interior, he had already laid out the conjunction of the two spaces on paper-an exercise that led to the realization that he could have a 50-foot living room with a picture-perfect view of the Manhattan skyline, just one of the combined interior's many star features. Sliding doors enclose a media room adjacent to the living room. Bookcases open to disclose a major library. Additional panels cover a viewing screen. "There is much to be revealed," says Latham, "not only art, but architecture."

In combining apartments, the challenge, says Latham, "is to make the space flow naturally and feel cohesive, as if it were planned that way always." A consistent palette can help turn that particular trick, and does here. White is the constant: walls and ceilings, stone floors and counters, and finished oak floor form a unified material transition through the interior. "We liked the clarity of the white scheme," Latham explains. Plus, it shows the various collections beautifully and allows for changing pieces in and out at will. To leaven the mid-century mix, Latham added in some contemporary knockouts-pieces from B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, and Roche Bobois, as well as custom designs. Like every work of art and architectural element, each piece of furniture expresses the owner's taste and wide-ranging curiosity. That's a point of view.