This NYC Prewar Apartment Is a Colorful, Contemporary Vision

Photos by Brooke Holm
pink dining room
credit: Brooke Holm

Few apartments in New York City are as coveted as ones in prewar buildings, where crown moldings, parquet flooring, and spacious living areas reign supreme. For a young family living in a classic Park Avenue building, the goal was to create a totally modern look, but one that didn't completely erase the property's heritage.

In came NYC-based architectural firm Michael K. Chen Architecture to rework the entire layout. Each room is now fully functional, and many spaces overlap, creating a more comfortable environment for the family. The firm connected rooms in places like the living room, which is separated from the dining room by a sleek glass partition, to create an even greater sense of grandeur and openness.

After the layout was finalized, the rest was all about playful details and textures, with funky light fixtures, courageous colors, and metallic finishes.

modern living room with blue sofa
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credit: Brooke Holm

Sculptural furniture pieces dominate the living room. A unique chair by renowned Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh accompanies a series of poufs upholstered in shaggy mohair. A vintage brass coffee table is an ideal pairing for a stainless steel shelving unit by François Monnet.

contemporary living room
credit: Brooke Holm

A gray onyx and bronze fireplace mantel gives a weighty feel to the living area, alongside the turquoise glass sconces that set a slight art deco atmosphere. Custom furniture is mixed in with older items, including a vintage Fontana Arte mirror. The custom-designed circular sofa (upholstered in a blue fabric from Maharam) was created by MKCA.

pink dining room
credit: Brooke Holm

In the dining room, a vintage chinoiserie panel from Housing Works looks aces against peachy-pink walls.

pink dining room with pendant lighting
credit: Brooke Holm

The dining room features an 11-­foot custom table in high gloss lacquer, steel, and gold leaf from Detroit designers Alex Drew & No One. The dining table is paired with vintage chairs by Italian designer Joe Colombo.

modern kitchen with black cabinets
credit: Brooke Holm

The kitchen bucks traditional style with bold black cabinetry, marble countertops, and a textured backsplash.

pink master bedroom
credit: Brooke Holm

The pink theme continues in the master bedroom, where it's punctuated by modern black pieces, like the custom sconces from Allied Maker.

kids bedroom with green walls
credit: Brooke Holm

In the daughter's room, there's a tropical vibe thanks to seafoam green paint and a CB2 daybed upholstered in a Josef Frank botanical print. The vintage teak rocking chair is by Finn Juhl.

black bathroom
credit: Brooke Holm

The powder room, once a closet, was transformed by adding black tiles from Heath Ceramics. The sink is a floating custom console made of Rosa Aurora stone in a light pink tone.


Kate Santos

Kate Santos

After interning at Dwell magazine in San Francisco, Kate began writing about arts, design and culture for other national publications. She is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.