Cece Barfield Thompson turns a cold apartment into a welcoming home with lots of layers
When a cousin of CeCe Barfield Thompson’s clients moved from the West Coast to a new apartment building in New York City, she quickly called on Thompson, a Bunny Williams alumnus known for his comfortable layered interiors and easy elegance. , to help make it a home. “It was new and a lot of details were missing,” Thompson said of the condominium near Washington Square Park. Fortunately, the client had an enviable and richly varied art collection, and Thompson has a penchant for mixing antiques. Working through a few more structural changes than they originally planned, the team relied on these key pieces to transform the white box into a layered, welcoming and personal home.
To begin with, Thompson redefined the background canvas: “We originally thought we wouldn’t be doing as much work, as this was a relatively new build, but ended up doing more. because we really wanted to bring nice architectural details to the apartment, ”she explains. She added moldings and built-in features, replaced the door hardware, and gave the kitchen a complete makeover “to make it blend in with the rest of the house.”
“It gave it a little more soul and character,” explains the designer. These two were important not only for the owner of the apartment, who wanted a comfortable base, but also for friends and family who are on frequent quests.
“She loves to host, she loves to host and she has friends who stay with her all the time,” says Thompson. “So we wanted it to be really comfortable, but also beautiful and stylish, accessible without sacrificing style.”
To achieve this balance, Thompson mixed more casual pieces like sisal rugs with formal art and fine antiques with durable upholstery. “These come together to feel informal and layered and just sort of mundane, which really reflects the client, and also of me,” says Thompson.
Read on to see how it all turned out.
Thompson used stacked rugs and a thoughtful furniture layout, including two sofas and armchairs, to outline the living room in the larger open concept. To make it easier for the seasons to change, she even designed linen covers for the ottoman and sofas, which can be swapped out for summer and winter looks. “Underneath, there’s a Rogers & Goffigon blue loop pile on the sofas and John Derian’s denim on the ottoman,” reveals the designer. She also added a stone border to what was once “a contemporary little fireplace”, to “make it look like a real fireplace,” an addition that further anchors the room and makes it look less new.
“The apartment has a very neutral background, but we sprinkled some really interesting furniture and objects to give it a soul. So even though it’s a neutral palette, it has so much character because the rooms are really. special and interesting and together they make a space one of a kind, ”Thompson recalls.
Nowhere is this mixture more apparent than in the dining room, where an antique tapestry – “one of the first things we bought together,” says Thompson – hangs above a set of antique chairs. from the Paris flea market, which Thompson re-upholstered in a chambray. “I loved the feel of the humble material on the formal chairs,” she says. Since the owner frequently hosted dinner parties, Thompson ordered a custom table, inspired by a French repertoire, but with extra leaves for big parties.
The chandelier, a 19th century English piece, is made of mercury glass and gives a brilliant reflection when the table below is lit by candlelight. “It’s magic,” says Thompson. “And since she loves to entertain, it was really important to have these thoughtful details in this space.”
“I thought it was important in an open kitchen that things were really connected to each other,” says Thompson. She designed cabinets that echo the built-in elements of the living room opposite, and hung two lantern-style pendants to draw the eye upwards. “They also bring a little elegance, that’s the same reason why we hung the photo in there”, explains the designer. “We wanted the space to be utilitarian, of course, but also really beautiful.”
“The great thing about his apartment is that you get these views of a garden,” from almost every room, says Thompson. “For the only piece that does not have have views, we lacquered it a chocolate brown to make it a super comfy bookcase “- a smart space for the owner’s many books, as well as a collection of vintage green glass that Thompson bought with it. And when entertaining guests, Thompson reveals, the custom sectional sofa doubles as a bed (she made it extra wide). “I love the contrast of the airy, light-flooded apartment and then this dark corner where she can lie down and dine if she’s alone, ”says the designer, who mixed the shades of Fine Paints of Europe to achieve the perfect chocolate.
“She wanted a super serene room, which I think so many customers want these days,” says Thompson. “Creating a simple design is often the most difficult, because all the details are really under the microscope. So she looked into those details. “We made the walls, bed, and lampshades out of a Claremont fabric,” says Thompson, “and we cut a stripe of the same fabric to use as a trim on the curtains.
Thompson also added a skirted vanity, which she sees as an underrated element: “You can sit there to do your makeup, you can also perch there for worries. The skirt hides things, so it is. great for storage, ”explains the designer. “It really serves the purpose of a chest but in a much gentler way.”
“We wanted this space to be a treat for the guests, something really fun, with a lot of style and character,” says Thompson, who covered the walls, bed and curtains with Lee Jofa fabric. For an added detail, “we took the trim from this fabric and created a kind of chair rail pattern and also used it to garnish the headboard.” Thompson chose the particular textile for the way its red and blue were inspired by the work of John Baldessari hanging above the bed. Meanwhile, a dark wooden secretary melts the space and hides a television.
For the narrow balcony, explains Thompson, “we’ve really maximized the space: there’s a little grill at the end, then a bistro table and a pair of chairs where you can sit and have a glass of wine while you sit down. grill. It’s a lovely place to have a morning coffee as it overlooks these stables. You really feel like you’re perched above a secret garden, which you are. ”
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