March 3, 2016

Sergio Mercado Reconfigures an Olympic Tower Apartment

On the 30th floor of Olympic Tower, Sergio Mercado combined two apartments to create a warm, inviting home for an extended South American family

by Arlene Hirst interior designer Sergio Mercado photographer Peter Margonelli


Thanks to mutual friends, the buyers of two adjacent apartments in Fifth Avenue's Olympic Tower had the good luck to meet interior designer Sergio Mercado, formerly the creative director at Clodagh. The couple had been looking for someone to give them a little help with furnishings. As often happens, the job turned into a much bigger undertaking when everyone realized that while the two apartments had already been joined, the connection was an awkward one. They all agreed that they needed to go back to square one and completely rethink the space. That's when the little furnishings project turned into a total teardown.

Mercado completely transformed the rooms, rejoining the two apartments with a long central corridor. The walls that enclosed the first kitchen were torn out to create an inviting family gathering space. The second kitchen was converted into a bathroom. He also reconfigured the entrance. Before, explains Mercado, when you came into the apartment, you couldn't see the cityscape—"the quintessential urban New York view."

The finished 3,900-square-foot space now has four bedrooms and three full baths (the maid's room was converted from a bathroom and still has the plumbing, so the family sometimes uses it as a spa).

The clients, a retired banker, who is now a philanthropist, and his wife, a major collector of the South American art that now covers the walls, have their primary residence in Boston as well as a home in their native Colombia, but they love to spend as much time as possible in New York with their three grown children and several grandchildren.

They instructed Mercado that they wanted the design to be modern but warm.He deftly achieved that with minimal but cosseting furniture and open, airy spaces. Everything electronic is concealed. The television is behind the artwork and motorized window shades are hidden above the soffits.

The master bath is a study in marble and white oak. The walls are clad in laser-fluted marble from Stone Source; the floors in brushed marble from Artistic Tile. The base of the vanity is fashioned from cerused white oak, which is topped with brushed marble from Artistic Tile.

Mercado explains that the design "sort of evolved." To start, he made two detailed presentations, each with two or three fully developed schemes. "They liked all of them," he says. "We discovered that we shared the same aesthetic, so it was really easy. After that, they just let me go."

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