March 8, 2015
Keith Lichtman Gives an Upper West Side Home a Makeover
Keith Lichtman of KL Interiors gives an Upper West Side classic a stylish, well-choreographed makeover for everyday living
by Karen Lehrman Bloch interior designer KL Interiors photographer Laura Moss
RHYTHM AND BLUES
Interior designers often begin their careers in other fields, but it's probably fair to say that few are former U.S. figure skating champions. Keith Lichtman of KL Interiors is a onetime ice dancer who later choreographed for internationally ranked skating couples before focusing his well-trained eye elsewhere. "I used to create shapes and movement on the ice," says Lichtman. "Now I create and arrange shapes and images in homes for optimal effect."
When clients with 12-year-old twins decided to buy a charming, pre-war three-bedroom (plus maid's room) apartment on the Upper West Side, two decisions were made fairly quickly: gut the entire 2,300-square-foot space and dispose of all existing furniture. "We started from scratch with a wonderful blank slate," says Lichtman. The clients wanted stylish, not over-decorated: "Fussy was a four-letter word!"
The denouement feels fresh and well-sequenced. Highlights include a 23-foot-long dining room lined in an Osborne & Little flocked velvet wallpaper. The pattern is "both organic and geometric in form, so it adds life and rhythm against the modern dining table," says Lichtman, who installed white wainscoting to temper the wallpaper's visual strength.
In the living room, Lichtman introduced picture moldings for character and to break up stretches of plain wall. A silver metal tree sculpture in the corner "serves as an exclamation point," says Lichtman.
A variety of patterns in the bedroom provide both texture and understated flair to a neutral palette. The pop of blue in the artwork over the bed makes the room come to life and is a recurring theme throughout the apartment.
But it is perhaps in the redesigned kitchen that Lichtman shows the full range of his talents. The dining room now opens into the eat-in kitchen, which in turn opens to the home office (the former maid's room) and adjoining mudroom. This enlarged the space, and "improved the traffic flow and site lines," says Lichtman.
Lichtman sums up the aesthetic: "I feel it's as though the home is dressed up for an evening out in full suit and tie-but wearing a snazzy pair of sneakers instead of stiff, uncomfortable shoes."