March 6, 2015
A Central Park West Apartment Gets a Makeover
Balancing High With Low, Soft With Hard, and Polished With Matte, New York-Based Interior Designer Sara Story Creates a Tactile and Visual Narrative in a Central Park West Apartment.
by Jorge S. Arango interior designer Sara Story photographer Marco Ricca
SENSE & SENSIBILITY
Great thinkers from Aristotle to Nietzsche championed sensualism, a philosophy postulating that sensations, not the mind, were the most important mode of cognition. Though designer Sara Story doesn't get bogged down with its headier implications, sensualism's central tenet-if it feels good it is good-is a credo by which she apparently lives.
Witness this 4,000-square-foot apartment on the 17th floor of a Central Park West tower, which she designed for a thirtysomething couple with a newborn. "It focuses on different textures that balance each other and create a timeless feel that's also casual and approachable," says Story. "Materials have a tension between them. If I use velvet, it has metal near it, and a leather sofa gets a little fur."
These moments occur in the sprawling living room (larger still before architect Stephen Wang appropriated some of it for a bedroom). A custom sectional swathed in cotton velvet wraps around a wood and steel Jiun Ho coffee table and, at the room's other end, a Dualoy red fox throw tumbles over a custom settee in Moore & Giles leather. The former seating area also boasts 1970s metal side tables, while the latter adds a cluster of hexagonal marble-topped tables from Mecox Gardens into the mix. Yet another contrast-white lacquer custom cabinets and a shimmery 18-by-10-foot Nepalese rug-embraces both vignettes.
Tactility is everywhere. But sight is also rewarded. The simple palette-grays, beiges, and discreet touches of color-keeps the spectacular views dominant. And because those panoramas are of a modern New York, silhouettes are crisp and elegantly tailored. The only space sans vista is the dining room, where Story indulged a mix of glamorous finishes, including a lacquer-and-gold-leaf ceiling, shimmery Claremont drapes, and an Austrian chandelier (1970s) and sconces (1950s by Kalmar).
In the master, which Story wanted to make "serene and cocoonish," she got really touchy-feely, picking up the wife's favored purple shades on a lumbar pillow of mauve Sabina Fay Braxton fabric and a custom tufted headboard in a lilac Maharam textile with ribbon detail. The room's Elizabeth Dow raw silk wallcovering and Scala Luxury nightstands are luscious juxtapositions for a wood veneer LZF pendant.
And so it goes...soft against hard, matte versus reflective, organic materials paired with sleek ones. It's the sort of tension every good sensualist can love.