“Early on, we realized that our aesthetics overlapped in an uncanny way, and long before we took on a project together, we regularly shared pictures from our travels to boutique hotels, a beautiful apartment I was selling, or a new lighting designer that we discovered during our late-night internet rabbit holes,” says Clayton. “She was the only person I shared my design inspirations with and was the logical choice to help execute my vision for this apartment.”
For the yearlong project that included a full gut renovation of Clayton’s Manhattan apartment, the longtime friends began by figuring out the architectural elements that were important to highlight and restore. “From there, we moved into feeling and vibe, i.e., how Clayton imagined using the space and the atmospheric quality he wished to achieve,” says Gabriela. “A notable element was the decision to create a more traditional progression of rooms instead of an ample loft space, thereby adding intimacy amidst the 11-foot ceilings.”
“The broker in me kept chanting, ‘Volume, volume, volume!’” says Clayton, who wanted to make the most of the rare high ceilings and incredible views in his West Village apartment. “That meant keeping doorways extra tall, bringing certain millwork all the way to the ceiling to emphasize the volume, and scaling the furniture appropriately.” His other nonnegotiable was a closed kitchen. “While it was a hot debate, in the beginning I became fixated on creating a closed jewel-box kitchen that would be flanked by steel casement doors and outfitted with a Lacanche French oven. At the time, I barely cooked, but I figured, ‘If you build it, they will come,’” he adds.
“In terms of palette, we kept the overall design neutral with whites, taupes, grays, and a range of metals to allow his art collection to bring in color,” says Gabriela. “To add warmth and organic quality, we incorporated a lot of white oak and walnut, alongside wools and linens for the upholstery and bedroom walls. The furnishings blend our preference of mixing contemporary designs like the De La Espada dining table and Bassam Fellows sofa with American and French midcentury, such as the Paul McCobb dining chairs. Overall, there’s a philosophy of few but better pieces.”
When Paris first went into lockdown from COVID-19 in spring 2020, the Paris-based UI/UX designer Kristina Vilyams decided to start making some of her favorite design pieces—like the Ettore Sottsass Ultrafragola mirror—in the form of Instagram filters. “People were self-isolated in their own apartments and did not have the ability […]
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