Interior designer Richard Mishaan is a self-described "art addict," so it was only natural that a dear friend who shared his passion would recommend him to a fellow art enthusiast and her husband-- a couple looking to turn their SoHo condo into a stylish backdrop for their standout collection of contemporary work. "My friend said, 'You'll be able to give their collection context,'" recalls the interior designer.
Mishaan's opening gambit focused on the layout of the residence. He retained the entry vestibule that opens onto a dramatic double-height living room-- complete with its original pressed-tin ceiling, the dramatic and "very geometric" staircase with organic wood detailing and the kitchen. Much of the rest of the dwelling was reconceived by the designer. "It had been a well-divided loft, so the rooms were easily reclaimed," Mishaan notes. On the ground floor, a media room became a formal dining room. Of a trio of bedrooms also on that level, the designer joined two to create a club room; upstairs, one bedroom became a gym and another turned into a home office.
After finalizing the architectural changes, Mishaan turned to the interiors. "The clients wanted a very clean feeling that is truer to a loft style," he says. To drive his decisions, he looked to the couple's art collection, which encompasses work by the likes of Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, and Keith Haring, some acquired during the project and some already owned. "We decided on a very monochromatic palette to work the art as it evolves and changes," he says. At the foundation of the scheme are shades of rich brown, accented by a select few contrasting hues. In the airy living room, low-slung lounge chairs in cream velvet and chocolate leather stand out against pale walls and dark flooring. Nearby, a new bar area separates the space from the kitchen and is defined by an LED-illuminated onyx-top bar with wire-brushed oak shelves. Red accents-- the barstools, the red-leather chairs in the breakfast area-- were inspired by a Haring artwork in the space. "That starts tying everything together," says the interior designer, who riffed on the red-and-white scheme in a bedroom and in the expansive outdoor area.
Deep, moody browns pop up in the club room and the new dining room, with the artwork in each providing a spark for vivid accents. In the club room, which Mishaan paneled in a luscious, cordovan-hued wood to impart a timeless feel, paintings by Carroll Dunham and Takashi Murakami inject bold notes, while the blue in the Yves Klein table finds its analog in the carpet and the suede lounge chairs. In the dining room, bold color is present in the artwork and the accents-- purple chairs, spin art Hirst plates and bright acrylic place mats pick up on the tones in the paintings. But, Mishaan points out, "Everything else is sort of monochrome," highlighting the silver, gray, ivory, and brown shades at play in the windowless space. He installed a wallcovering with a tarnished, almost industrial feel to it, devised a chevron pattern for the floor and painted the ceiling gold. "It's shimmery at night when you dim the lights," he says. "It's not formal and stodgy. It's sexy, glowy, and very youthful."
While the art takes center stage, Mishaan incorporated just the right amount of additional pattern and texture-- subtle enough to let the collection shine but bold enough to add interest. A carpet with a butterfly-wing design on the living room floor is a clever call-out
to the Prince and Hirst works also in the space. Tiger-stripe throw pillows were also added. More animal print pops up in the library vestibule on a Tommi Parzinger bench. Behind it, a screen print of Kate Moss by Mr. Brainwash hangs on a wall covered in a book-print Brunschwig & Fils wallcovering. "The wife asked if we should put bookshelves everywhere, but I said, 'Let's simulate it,' reports the interior designer. "The colors in the wallpaper and the art harmonize so well that it looks like it belongs together."
To suit the clients, whom Mishaan describes as "dressed-up downtown," he chose furnishings with a similar bent. Some have standout provenances-- the Parzinger bench, the signed James Mont barstools, the Royere dining chairs-- while others are custom designs. Regardless of their origins, they all share tailored profiles yet project an air of comfort, sumptuously covered in linen, leather, velvet, and suede. "It's about luxury", says the interior designer, pointing not just to the materials but to the clients' empty-nester lifestyle. "It's a luxury to finally cut loose. This is a youthful yet grown-up apartment. They're really warm, loving people, who are enjouing and celebrating life."