Designers at New York-based interior design firm Foley&Cox transformed a dim Upper West Side apartment into an airy, light-filled abode that takes cues from Fox's hit series Empire.
In the living room, lighting was sourced from Ingo Maurer, The Future Perfect and Studio Van Den Akker.
Longtime clients and friends of the designers at foley&cox, this couple was ready for their dim space to be irradiated, so principal Michael Cox and Design Director Zuni Madera were more than happy to take on the job. “Designing for this couple was truly a labor of love,” Cox says. With plenty of square feet overlooking the Hudson River and the waterfront park, this was a dream home for the designers to work with. The apartment originally had floor-to-ceiling millwork built throughout, which made the space feel like the interior of a ship. “Most of the walls had been covered in built-ins to maximize storage with hidden compartments,” Cox says. So the designers got to work on opening up the space to maximize views and let in more light.
The foyer features decor that evokes Empire’s bold aesthetic.
Cox and Madera got to stretch their creative muscles through applying the client’s exuberant inspiration—the Fox show Empire—to the redesign of the home. “She wanted us to translate some of the ‘bling’ and tongue-in-cheek brashness of the sets into a comfortable home,” Cox says. “Interpreting the spirit [and] mood of the program was a fun exercise in creativity and a light-hearted infusion of pop culture.” The addition of gold accents, such as the bedroom’s palm leaves sprayed with gold paint, and opulent art and lighting pieces help incorporate the fresh, cool vibe of the show into the home.
In the primary bedroom, side tables come from Egg Collective and the bed from foley&cox’s HOME collection.
After considering the influence of Empire, the next step was deciphering which pieces to remove, which to keep and what new ideas to bring to the table. “It was an exercise in balance,” Cox says. “Eliminating existing details that were unwanted, updating [and] redesigning elements that had value, and carefully inserting new details that brought function and harmony to the home.” The designers were put to the test not only to bring the eccentric Empire theme to life but to open up the space and create more room. “We gained back many square feet of actual living and breathing space to the apartment by removing the millwork, and [we] created sheer ‘living zones’ with glass and steel partitions to keep the overall flow and visually expand internal views of the Hudson River,” Cox says.
The living room stars a massive, vibrant artwork by Ethan Boisvert as well as custom sofas with Holland & Sherry fabric and chairs by Ralph Lauren Home.
The deliberate details are the stars of the show in this sumptuous apartment. The airy space now features an overall neutral, light color scheme with mainly white or off-white furniture complemented by vibrant, stand-out pieces, such as the art pieces in the living room by Ethan Boisvert, that create a fun ambiance. Bringing the opulent nature of the show Empire, the primary bedroom’s finishes are swanky and metallic. “The primary bedroom was fun to incorporate the ‘bold-and-brassy’ spirit of the show and especially the character Cookie Lyon,” Cox says. “We used a beautiful metallic gilded mural wallcovering and then placed bedside tables with matte brass doors in front of the wall for a ‘more is more’ layering of hues of gold.”
From turning a dark, confined space into a bright, colorful abode, this project resulted in a stylish, 180-degree turnaround. “The selection of furnishings and artwork brought both energy and relaxation to the spaces of the new home,” Cox says. Bright pops of color from snazzy graphic artwork, like the pieces in the family room by Liz Roache, and idiosyncratic sculptural and lighting pieces, such as the Juniper Design ceiling lighting in the family room, against a primarily white, monochromatic palette creates a stylish, comfortable feel. “Working with foley&cox goes well beyond interior design,” the owner says. “They intuitively understand that your home is not just a reflection of your style but a representation of your life, and they take that responsibility very seriously. From the very first conversation about our project to the moment we walked into our apartment completely transformed, we knew that our new home would be physically extraordinary and would warm our hearts for years to come.”
Art by Lloyd Martin, side tables from Egg Collective and the client’s own desk and desk chair outfit the home office.
Upper West Side
Michael Cox, Principal, and Zuni Madera, Design Director
BUILDER, CARPENTER, ELECTRICIAN AND PLUMBING
A-Plus Interior Remodeling
ETHAN BOISVERT (THROUGH FOLEY&COX HOME)
Living room art
Kitchen ceiling fixture
Family room ceiling lighting
Family room art