When Schilcher first entered the apartment, she discovered that its ubiquitous, original aluminum panels had been neglected, many of them oxidized and missing glass components. “It reminded me of an abandoned boat, an old steamer with aluminum framing,” says Schilcher. She quickly enlisted the help of New York-based architect Peter Himmelstein and got started on the daunting clean-up task.
Once the bones of the penthouse were in place, Schilcher began to think about interior appointments, something that comes naturally to the owner of Salon Moderne and co-owner of Property, both Soho-based design outlets. In the entryway, she installed Ardex, an easy-to-clean poured floor that has a slick, modern look. Immediately upon entry, visitors are met with a small, white half-bath that opens to a private terrace.
In the living room, the designer could not, for technical reasons, relocate the overhead air vent. To compensate for the dreary, unsightly aperture, Schilcher commissioned Lloyd Schwan to create a lighting sculpture around it. The result: 48 single pedants dangling from the ceiling. “It covers up the problem and becomes a focal point for the room,” she says. “Plus, you don’t lose any of the view.” To warm up the generous, open space, Schilcher laid down wall-to-wall carpeting from Misha. She also added translucent panels to allow for as much daylight penetration as possible.
Structure and Decoration of the Penthouse
Continuing on the first floor of the duplex, dining and lounge areas also take advantage of the views, and a fireplace rounds out the more personal, intimate quality of these more private spaces. Schilcher filled the rooms with a mixture of old and new, including vintage Knoll chairs and a contemporary red day bed, both from Salon Moderne. She decided to forgo the use of decorative window treatments here because the ceilings are lower and she wanted to keep the area as open as possible. A half-bath and laundry area were added near the newly installed kitchen, which includes custom wood cabinetry, stainless-steel appliances, and more practical Ardex flooring.
A spiral staircase of steel leads upstairs to the master and guest suites. The master bath, with its glass shower enclosure, has a spectacular, open view of the Chrysler building. Guests should not feel neglected: their bathroom, previously a dark, cave-like space, now has a frosted glass wall that gathers light from the adjacent skylit stairwell. Both bathrooms have white Thassa marble counters and floors of hexagonal ceramic tiles.
In the end, Schilcher claims that her only difficulty on the project was competing with the views. “When I first saw the space, it was clear that the views were everything. What else could I do but use them to my advantage?” With the help of solar shades as well as Translite cotton fabric to cover the windows, the client can experience bright morning sunshine as well as evening sunsets, watching the light reflect off the surrounding buildings throughout the day. “With few obstructions,” concludes Schilcher, “the space takes on a calming and comfortable effect that really works with the views.”
WHITE LACQUER COFFEE TABLE: BPA THROUGH SALON MODERNE. PURPLE SNAKE SKIN OTTOMAN: NICK THROUGH SALON MODERNE.