A Manhattan Studio Gets a Bright Future

This Manhattan mat welcomes you with bright yellow walls and a good deal of natural light streaming from windows that are adjoining. But the compact area did not necessarily have such a joyous disposition. In the house’s previous life, guests walked into a studio filled with a hodgepodge of walnut furniture and first saw… a desk. “It was not a messy desk, but a desk with heaps of papers. But regardless of how organized it is, it isn’t exactly what you want to see if you walk into a place,” says interior designer Leslie Banker.

Even though the space can not accommodate fancy dinner parties for 50, her client now entertains small groups with ease. The developer says,”Like many people in the town, my client orders out a lot. But she also loves having people over for drinks. Entertaining in a place that is under 500 square feet is a bonus to get a single gal in Manhattan.”

in a Glance
Who lives here: A young, single professional in her 30s
Location: West Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City
Size: 490 square feet

Leslie Banker

Natural light flows in from the living room windows operating across the street-side wall. The windows open out to views of the Meatpacking District and the Hudson River.

Banker admits the partitions’ yellow hue creates a bold statement — and required a bit of a commitment from her client. “She dwelt with a huge test patch in her bedroom for a couple of days and came out really enjoying the color and its uplifting effect on the space — and on her,” she states.

Ceiling paint: Fountain Spout, Benjamin Moore; wall paint: Morning Sunshine, Benjamin Moore; hardwood flooring stain: ebony

Leslie Banker

Initially, the designer toyed with the notion of finding different pieces of art for the wall area behind the table. But acquiring a massive piece of artwork for the wall looked like an impractical option and a huge investment for a young professional’s first home, therefore Banker chosen for a collection of six classic mirrors from Jonathan Adler’s SoHo store. The mirrors’ symmetrical arrangement and maybe even number tie the region together.

Dining table, seats: Vitra

Leslie Banker

Banker made a built-in desk unit, which the client has the choice of hiding or revealing.

A little kitchen lies on the opposite side of the wall. Baker and her client discussed the concept of tearing down the wall separating the kitchen from the primary area and converting the flat to an open program. “But tearing the wall down and opening up the kitchen could have lost a lot of storage room, so we abandoned it as is. Also, we’d have lost the opportunity to build in the workplace, which is currently such a lovely part of the studio’s redesign,” she states.

Leslie Banker

A book display receives a dose of charm and equilibrium with a set of framed photographs flanking the unit; the vase on the topmost shelf and the set of empty film spools on the ground heighten the symmetry.

Leslie Banker

Banker threw the studio many curves in the principal locations, with a rounded dining table (not shown), the classic mirrors, a circle-patterned area rug and other decor complementing the liveliness and fit caliber of these walls. They also soften the sharp angles of the coffee table and dividers.

Area rug: Nina Campbell, The Rug Company

Leslie Banker

Custom couch slipcovers in off-white and patterned John Robshaw throw pillows give the chairs a comfy, lived-in appeal.

Leslie Banker

Verner Panton’s iconic Barboy occupies the space between the couch and a curtain partition. The curvy decor bit serves as both an end table and also an essential entertaining system for Banker’s client, who filled each drawer with glasses, liquor bottles and other bar accoutrements.

Leslie Banker

Cabinets softly divide the bedroom in the living room space. “The whole space works hard for the client, even if it’s only an open area in the center of the living room floor or a high custom shelving unit in the bedroom,” says Banker.

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