A Colorful, Loving Renovation in Manhattan

published Jul 18, 2013
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Anne and Richard
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York
Size: 2,500 square feet, 2 bedroom
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

“I think that you go astray when you aim for perfection,” declares Anne when discussing her approach to home decor. Anne and Richard’s relatively new home is filled with a mix of the old and the new, the damaged and the pristine. For Anne, these charming inconsistencies make her home a much more comfortable place in which to live.

(Image credit: Jill Slater)
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Hallway off front entryway (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The couple retained designers/architects Design Development to transform their apartment into a contemporary but respectful reflection of the famously art deco building in which it resides. Walking through the lobby of the El Dorado is akin to visiting Rockefeller Center, only possibly larger!

According to the lead architect, the goal was to create a clean and unfussy but incredibly high quality shell to house the many colors and textures of Anne and Richard’s furniture, paintings, and collections. To maintain a more classic feel, Design Development chose not to include too many built-ins in the renovation. Because they were aiming for timeless, the firm’s designers stayed away from anything that might seem too modern and might be too much of a jarring contrast to the style established by the building’s lobby.

Anne started a textile company, Blithfield and Co., seventeen years ago by steeping herself in fairs and markets. She learned by doing and experiencing rather than any formal training and, to this day, “enjoys the hunt more than anything.” Her fabrics fill many of the apartment’s rooms in the form of pillows, upholstery and floor coverings. Anne’s understanding and appreciation for style and quality permeates every inch of her and her husband’s home. Each room is striking to look at and a thrill to inhabit.

(Image credit: Jill Slater)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is a mixture of everything. We have a traditional sofa, antique textiles mixed in with Blithfield & Co., and mid-century abstract artwork. Design Development made the structural aesthetic of the apartment agree with the era of the deco building.

Inspiration: We lived in London for decades. In addition to the furniture we collected there, we have pieces that are family heirlooms, including all of our books. We purchased the paintings in both the US and in London, along with vintage antique lamps and accessories.

Favorite Element: The palette — the colors are very pale off white, which makes for a calming environment. The Design Development millwork is also one of my favorite elements — the doors and library are custom designed .

Biggest Challenge: Making a dark apartment light. To solve the issue, we bleached the floors and used pale colors for the decor — nothing in the apartment is dark. All the windows are north facing, so there is limited light. We had to bring light in through design.

What Friends Say: Wow! Very beautiful and relaxing apartment.

Biggest Embarrassment: There is nothing embarrassing about the apartment.

Proudest DIY: I started my own fabric line, Blithfield and Co. Most of the fabrics in the home are from my company.

Biggest Indulgence: Central air conditioning — if we had put AC units in the windows, it would have taken up so much of the already limited natural light.

Best Advice: Hire a great contractor, designer and architect and don’t lose your focus.

Dream Sources: The MOMA. I love art — it is all over my home and the MOMA is a constant source of new inspiration.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • All custom blended Farrow and Ball


  • Carpet: Kravet/Lee Jofa
  • Millwork: custom ( doors, cabinets, trim) all by Design Development
  • Fabrics: all by Blithefield and Co. at Lee Jofa
  • All other items are custom fabricated by DDNYC
  • Pulls and architectural hardware by Nanz


  • Stone: crema calacutta, custom fabricated
  • Appliances: Sub Zero, Viking, Miele
  • Plumbing fixtures: Kohler


  • Accessories by Restoration Hardware
  • Pulls and architectural hardware by Nanz
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Anne!

(Images: Jill Slater and Trevor Tondro — 4 wide angle library, living room and bedroom shots)

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