Subtlety had no place in the design of a luxury apartment with views as grand as the city itself. "Right from the start I wanted you to have a visual impact," says interior designer Vern Yip. "I wanted every room in the unit to celebrate the city." The front entry boasts rich wood flooring, dramatic artwork and furnishings sourced at locations throughout the city – from high-end boutiques to world-famous flea markets.
Wire-brushed walnut flooring provides a warm welcome in the hallway. Vern selected the traditional flooring to contrast with the building's modern exterior spaces. "I specifically laid the floor length-wise so that when you enter, it immediately takes you in," he says.
In a city so vibrant, why opt for subdued charcoal gray and white walls? "When you have great items to work with and an incredible view to work with," says Vern, "you want those items to come to the forefront."
Solid marble lions, circa 1860s and reclaimed from a home in upstate New York, preside over the living space and celebrate the city's architectural heritage. One figure, discolored by the rusted architectural ironwork it nested beneath, adds visual interest.
Antique Peruvian runners purchased at ABC Carpet and Home, an iconic rug and design store located in New York's Flatiron District, lend an air of elegance to the space. "The edge of that rug is not completely straight," says Vern. "It’s got some imperfections but that’s what you get with a handmade product. New York isn’t perfect either."
Lion figures flank a sleek, modern Lucite console, which seems to disappear into the backdrop. "I wanted it to be a stark contrast to all the intricacy and all the detail and all the history that comes with the lions," says Vern.
New York Public Library by famed German photographer Reinhard Görner makes a dramatic statement in the entry space. The limited-edition print, purchased at Lumas gallery in SoHo, introduces a theme that runs throughout the unit: "The artwork is about showcasing unexpected quiet moments in New York," says Vern.
Another nod to the New York Public Library, a glass paperweight crafted by New York artist Laura Graham, incorporates an image of the institution's iconic lion statuette.
To add a touch of whimsy and saturate the space with primary color, Vern topped the console with candy-filled glass vases. "A little snack on the way in and a snack on your way out," he says.
Vern shopped neighborhoods throughout the city – from SoHo to Harlem – for artwork and furnishings. Midtown West is represented in the form of a surveyor's transit, purchased at the famed Hell's Kitchen Flea Market.
At HGTV Urban Oasis, color comes in small doses and in the most unexpected places – including closet interiors. "I wanted that to be your punch of color, your punch of surprise," says Vern of the rich red shade he chose to complement floor runners.
Why an image of the New York Public Library in the hallway? The institution, on Vern's list of most treasured places in New York City, proved a perfect fit. "It's got that grand detailing and it's such a huge, grand space, but it also feels really intimate," he says.
Contemporary floor lamps topped with silk shades place a spotlight on art pieces and brighten the entry space. "I selected those lamps because they are visually unobtrusive and have a base designed to slide underneath a piece of furniture," says Vern. "For that reason, I had a pair of custom made bases for the lions to sit on, with slots to accommodate the bases of the floor lamps."