Interior architect Elizabeth Steimberg revamps a Chelsea penthouse using modern fixtures, midcentury masterpieces and other vintage treasures.
The desk’s unusual shape gives the home unique charm.
The otherwise austere structure of a penthouse apartment in Chelsea has been transformed into a warm yet still modern family home. Elizabeth Steimberg, founder of Elizabeth Steimberg Architects, imbued the space with highbrow works of art and handwoven textiles to reflect her clients’ European upbringing and love of midcentury pieces.
A vibrant sofa complements the space’s color palette.
For the seasoned architect and interior renovator, the undertaking was a fun collaboration with a family whom she’s worked with on three previous projects. Steimberg prides herself on her ability to include homeowners in her sourcing and design journeys, and this opportunity was no exception. “[I] enjoyed working with this client because she is open to explore new materials, ideas and likes to be included in the process,” she says.
A drawing by Eugène Dodeigne hangs above the guest bed.
Among the sourced collectibles is a mural-sized Michel Potage painting that reads, “PARADISE LINE — DO NOT CROSS,” adding a touch of the painter’s tongue-in-cheek romanticism to the practical desk area. Chilled tones nearly dominate the apartment, interspersed with vibrant pops of orange, red and purple. A short path from the Potage piece is the living room, its highlight a gingery velvet sofa from B&B Italia. Two faces on a fiery canvas peek out from above another curved couch from Roche Bobois. The sofas, along with twin Poul Kjærholm chairs, abut an intriguingly low coffee table by an unknown Japanese artist.
The design of the space was created with earthy tones paired with hints of red, orange and purple.
Adding to the home’s minimal modernity is its recessed lighting and the fact that its music system, window shades, TVs and air conditioning are all controlled via iPads throughout the apartment. In order to further tailor the space to its new proprietors’ sophisticated tastes, the designer also introduced wood laminates she’d never worked with before. In the kitchen, Steimberg utilized special laminates with gray stroke patterns for the cabinets, matching them to the concretelike countertops and porcelain tile backsplash. Similarly colored stone can also be found in the master bathroom. Tiles of the leaden hue line the floor and walls, surrounding a vanity designed by Steimberg herself.
The master bathroom’s countertop was carved to create a waterfall effect, making water look as if it’s disappearing.
Cabinet veneers are present in the bedrooms, as well. Materials Inc. supplied custom brown veneers for the guest bedrooms, each of which exhibit pops of either yellow, orange or red to contrast the muted tones of the master bedroom. The couple’s room is a treasure trove of more remarkable decor, including a 1960s Jørgen Kastholm Grasshopper lounge chair, an André Marfaing piece showcasing the artist’s love of contrasting light with darkness, and a 10th century bird statue used by West Africa’s Poro people during initiation ceremonies.
A Sub-Zero fridge in the chic kitchen
On the bed lies a throw made by the client, who, Steimberg notes, loves to knit. During the redesign, they frequented Studio Four NYC, which has a handweaving loom. “The client [and I] were able to see how patterns were made and choose colors and threads in [the] downtown studio,” Steimberg says. “It was a rare opportunity since these kinds of textiles are usually made in foreign countries’ rural areas.” The handwoven fabrics now adorn the owners’ sofas, acting as final touches and bringing a sense of comfort to the apartment.
Natural light floods into the home.
Although Steimberg was in a hurry to finish the project by the residents’ move-in date, her design process entailed careful consideration of every new item. “Furnishing was not a rush since the clients see art and antique furniture as collectibles, and they like to take time to make educated decisions,” Steimberg says.
Dining chairs by Herman Miller
Sicula Renovations Inc.
Master bedroom side table, master bathroom towel holder, guest bedroom chair, dining chairs, kitchen stools, desk area chair
Master bathroom plumbing fixtures; powder room sink, faucets and toilet; kitchen appliances, plumbing and sink
Den rug, guest bedroom beds, master bedroom chair
Master bedroom coffee table and bookshelves, master bathroom and powder room vanities, cabinets throughout
Leather on counters in master bedroom
Powder room wall prints
HOLLAND & SHERRY
Master bedroom sofa fabric
Master bedroom, desk area and den window shade fabric
Recessed lighting throughout
Cabinet veneers throughout
MERGENCE STUDIOS LTD.
Window shades throughout
Living room black-and-white sofa, den sofa
ROGERS & GOFFIGON LTD
Window shade fabric in guest bedrooms
STUDIO FOUR NYC
Living room Roche Bobois sofa fabric, den cushion fabric, dining chair fabric
Kitchen range and hood