March 5, 2015

Jessica Shaw Gives a New York Apartment a West Coast Sensibility

An Extroverted Vintage Feel Meets Contemporary Glamour in This High-In-The-Sky Jewel Box.

by Stephen Milioti interior designer Moment Design + Productions photographer Costas Picadas

When Los Angeles-based marketing executive Tod Abrams hired designer Jessica Shaw to do his pied-à-terre in a brand-new high rise in New York's bustling Times Square, his directions were very specific. "I told her, 'Make it look like the set of Boogie Nights,'" Abrams says. "I wanted it to be a New York apartment with a West Coast sensibility ... and a 1970s feel was crucial."

Shaw's challenge? To do that, without meandering too far into kitsch territory, in a somewhat nondescript, typically boxy, two-bedroom, two-bath space in the Orion, a 58-story high-rise almost directly over the Port Authority. "We shared a common goal for it to look fun ... but not goofy," says Shaw, founder of New York-based Moment Design + Productions.

She achieved this by choosing pieces with a sleek, sculptural feel that possess a true ring of history, and placing them in the apartment's focal point: the living room. Here, Shaw put a Saarinen Tulip dining table with marble top, and Mies' classic Brno chairs, which Shaw says were necessary as they "elevated the look and made it feel classy and right." But these pieces were given a glam '70s feel set against the apartment's main showpiece: a feature wall comprised of eight Pantone lighted wall panels.

In the living area, opposite the dining zone, the standout piece is the sofa, which Shaw designed herself; this custom design (in durable-yet-luxe Ultrasuede), produced by Dune, is notable because its dual backs allow for plenty of versatility. Folks can sit facing either the dining or living area, and the conversation can go wherever the party flows. "This is my favorite piece," says Abrams.

To personalize the look, plenty of West Coast touches were included, which Abrams helped scope out or Shaw found at LA-area sources that Abrams recommended: the vintage light fixture in the foyer, the sconces in the bedroom, and the carpet in the living room (which Abrams brought from his Palm Springs home).

Shaw also personalized the boxy space with color. She used Benjamin Moore's "Deep Caviar" in the foyer area, for instance. "I wanted to create a sense of comfort and coziness," says Shaw; "I wanted people to walk into something darker and more revealing-then step into the main space. Breaking things up with a high color contrast accentuated the experience." In contrast, the living room's ceiling color, "Pale Oak," is a light warm gray, which, she says, "helps lift the feeling of the space." And bold, graphic wall coverings throughout (like Innovations "Liquid LQ4000 White" in the living area) keep the look interesting at every turn.

One critical way in which she made the space cozier is by snaking an L-shaped curtain track rod around the space. Custom-made, it even hides the kitchen and guest room entrance, making it perfect for parties and entertaining events-a main reason why Abrams got the place.

Most of the windows are left without treatments. That's because they look out onto one of this 44th-floor abode's main features: a dramatic, oh-so-Gotham view. "It's that rare case where no one's looking in at you," says Shaw, "but you're looking out at everyone else."