March 5, 2015

Patrick Sutton Tackles a Columbus Circle Apartment

In his design for a Manhattan getaway above Columbus Circle, Maryland-based designer Patrick Sutton captures the city's pulse.

by Karen Lehrman Bloch interior designer Patrick Sutton Associates photographer Marco Ricca


If you want a foothold in Manhattan to be able to enjoy the city's culture and vibrancy, you're probably going to want an ambience that reflects that energy. That's certainly true for the Baltimore-based empty nesters whose home away from their Maryland home is this two-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot duplex, designed by Patrick Sutton and perched over Columbus Circle and Central Park.

In 2012, the couple purchased the apartment furnished (from a hedge fund executive) so that they could use it immediately. But the interior was an all-consuming beige-the floors were stained beige, the stair and second-floor carpet were beige, the living and dining room were bound together by a beige area rug, and the walls and windows were all painted-you guessed it-beige. In short, it didn't feel at all like New York City.

With a cool palette and luxurious materials, the master bedroom exudes a spirited calm. Olaf Otto Becker's Iceford photograph is perched above the plush bed and Jamie Harris's Zen-like, golden Rock Sculpture reflects the ambience in the corner.

So they turned to Sutton, who was born in New York, traveled the world throughout his childhood, and eventually set up shop in Baltimore, for a cosmetic renovation. "Our goal was to design the space so it embodied the vibrancy that drew our clients to New York-high energy, stylish living, and cultural engagement," says the designer. The challenge was to accomplish this while repurposing much of the existing furnishings.

Sutton started by replacing all of the beige with stylish contrasts using black, white, and gray. Next, he tried to visually connect the apartment to the park, which can be seen through the living room's floor-to-ceiling windows. He clad the living room walls with laser-cut slate from the Phillip Jeffries Geology series, and added the mid-century Wedding Vase sculpture by Carl Harry Stålhane between the living and dining spaces. "I love its voluptuous earthiness and rich texture in the window, floating over the trees below," says Sutton.

Finally, he folded in color and vibrancy through the placement of powerful art and art objects, such as Tracey Reinberg's tile pattern prints in the foyer and Chuck Marksberry's huge canvas, Twisted, in the dining room. "I've always considered beige as the color of indecision, something you choose if you are afraid to make a mistake," says Sutton. "This is New York-the city that doesn't sleep-and my clients came here to be a part of it. Our job was to make sure their home reflects that attitude." So he has, in very high style.