Adam Hacks in FiDi

Adam Hacks in FiDi

Jill Slater
Dec 8, 2010

Name: Adam
Location: Financial District — Manhattan, New York
Size: 450 square feet — studio with outdoor terrace
Years lived in: 1 month

One step across the threshold, one senses a theme and a strong design plan. The colors are striking, the rooms evoke their own personality, and bespoke is in the air. Adam painstakingly re-worked, re-wired, adapted, interpreted and improvised to create this apartment.

Adam was one of three young designers chosen to transform one of the empty units for sale at the 99 John, an Art Deco building designed by the architect of the Empire State Building and located in the Financial District.

With only $5000 and a month to prep, plot, shop, and implement, Adam made use of thrift stores, flea markets, Cragislist and the building's model unit storage room to find fodder for his creations. He also used paint incredibly creatively, and supplemented a monetary budget with boundless innovation.

In homage to the Art Deco design of the building, Adam integrated angular shapes and colors evocative of the Art Deco movement. The inviting terrace, helps make this studio seem expansive and inviting.

From a floating custom made bed that provides seating as well as a separate sleeping area, to its mirrored base which creates the illusion of more carpeting, to the handmade side tables, to the one-of-a-kind lighting, Adam gave this apartment his all.

Apartment Therapy Survey

Style:: International Intergalactic Gentleman's Lounge.

Inspiration: I fleshed out the "client", John Deco by imagining his back-story. He has traveled the world and seen it all — now his entrepreneurial tendencies have pushed his new venture into the cosmos. He is an intergalactic miner, selling metals from outer space to earthlings for their special properties. The Financial District and the fabulous art deco building (built by the same architects as the Empire State Building) reminded me of the old New York in the thirties and it's vision of the future — dirigibles docking 100 stories above the ground and lots of fog.

Favorite Element: The floating lounge bed and the flying carpet both custom made.

Biggest Challenge: The schedule allowed for two days of installation — luckily I had a great team of friends helping me, including the extremely talented Jessica Shirley — fitting the on-site custom projects into just a few days was tough. I chose this apartment as my model because it's a studio- which can really stump people (designers included). However, the layout did present its challenges. I wanted to make a studio that was entirely open and that could still work when guests were over. One of the ways I achieved that was with the bed. It's going to be the biggest piece of furniture in your space - why not make it larger and multifunctional?

What Friends Say: There was an opening event for the model apartments last week. Mine was actually the most popular amongst the men that attended the event. By far the best compliment I received was "this makes me want to live in a studio!"

Biggest Embarrassment: I had plans for a feature wall where the pass-through to the kitchen is — I ended up just not having the time for it.

Proudest DIY: The bed and the lighting. I wanted to make the bed the focus of the room, rather than sticking it in the corner with a screen in front of it like most studios — and also make it multifunctional. I had a full size mattress on hand, and decided to pair it with a California King platform bed from Gothic Cabinet Craft. I finished the platform with custom-cut mirrors to reflect the carpet (the pattern of which was designed around the bed) and disappear — floating the bed off the ground. The extra space around the mattress I upholstered with foam and a textured dusky fabric. With some poufs the front of the bed became a lounge.

I worked with Jess Shirley on the lighting and on custom lighting projects. We have been developing a product line over the past year or so and got the chance to install some of our newer ideas into this project: Angler, the two-way desk lamp, Libertana, the bedside lamps, and Reverse Candelabrum in the hallway. I love unique lighting and I think it really brought life and realism to the space.

There was so much DIY in here I can't choose a favorite. I had found this great Ikat fabric from an Uzbeki dealer in the garment district. I thought they would make great bedside tables by hanging them as banners and running down the wall and over/under some floating shelves. Fabric can be an art piece in itself, and what a great way to make it functional.

Biggest Indulgence: The carpet — I used FLOR tile to create my custom carpet. It worked far better than anything else could have. I was looking at Persians in the $500-$800 range but none of the designs appealed to me. FLOR offered customization at a slightly higher price. I think I got an amazing result for the money I spent on it.

Best Advice: See the potential of things. The outdoor set we picked up at a thrift store had a terrible color and rusted to all hell. We sanded it down and spray painted it Chinese Red; the result is stunning.

Dream Source: I love Todd Merril antiques — very exotic and experimental 20th century pieces. They are mostly one-of-a-kind and museum quality which translates to big bucks. One day I'll have the right client!


    • Lighting: GrecoDeco/Jess Shirley ( website for Lighting coming soon!
    • Carpet: FLOR
    • Bed: Gothic Cabinet Craft, Canal Foam/Rubber, Ayazmoon Fabric, Stella Dallas Living (Indonesian bedspread)
    • Ikats: A&K Fabrics
    • Stools: Pearl River
    • White Movie Lights: CB2
    • Chairs: CB2
    • Desk Chair, Outdoor Chairs: Green Village Thrift Store
    • Dining Room set: Vintage Thrift
    • Radio Cabinet: City Opera Thrift
    • Telescope: Salvation Army
    • Art: "The Mauritania Whorl" — Adam Greco

Images: Jill Slater

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