The client: NYC Interior Designer Kati Curtis herself.
The building: a sleek high rise on Billionaire’s Row in Manhattan. High up enough to view the Hudson’s boats going by and weather coming in. An apartment that seemingly has it all. Unless your preferences lean towards Manhattan’s fabled Pre-War buildings with their intricate moldings and gorgeous detailing, as Kati’s do. Yet the desire to live in the clouds took precedence and Kati challenged herself: inject the spirit of a pre-war into a modern contemporary.
Starting with color. An interior design palette influenced by view and the urban landscape: sky, skyline and surrounding brick buildings. In the living room, Kati’s vintage sofa is covered in (a cat-proof) terracotta velvet that reflects the terracotta of the brick of the neighboring buildings, as well as the hues of the stunning sunsets.
Moving to rugs. Vintage rugs are heirloom-quality, high-durable, and insanely beautiful. Each comes from Kati’s travels and serve as memory evokers. The dark blue second bedroom contains a find from a trip to Morocco. Its color and pattern are unrestrained, yet its materiality– the softest wool–is so very refined. In the living room interior design, amidst the traditional rugs, Kati encountered a new challenge: the need to balance them with contemporary elements. The beautiful forms of two Poul Kjærholm chairs gave her the solution. Perfect in size and in the way they tuck in cleanly next to the hammered metal chest. (Another find, this one on a trip to India.)
Bringing in a mix of metals. In the living room, brass chairs complement their companion table –a bronze + nickel cocktail table, discovered at the Paris Flea Market.
Adding rich woods to the conversation. To offset the metal, Kati selected a mid-century rosewood cabinet with beautiful original caning for the living room. In the bedroom, she placed a vintage rosewood piece by the famed midcentury furniture maker, Willian Hinn.
Putting others on the hunt. A friend in Kansas City spotted the 80’s brass-based table, with an onyx top, at an estate sale. She sent Kati pictures. The response was immediate: “I have to have it.” Today it’s her dining table.
Setting her sights on art. Each piece is meaningful and has been collected over time. In Fez, an embroidered tapestry in a carved gilded frame was too special to leave behind. In Bali, an embroidery wedding tapestry Kati couldn’t take her eyes off of, now hangs over the bed in the primary bedroom.
Changing the space with drapery. If you’re a fan of pre-wars, you’re also probably a fan of the wainscotting you often see in their rooms. Using drapery and complimentary fabric on the bottom, Kati created the same effect, and, at the same time, she scaled down the extremely high ceilings. Bonus For The Eyes: it’s the exact same height of the mullion on the windows.
Today, the transformation is complete and the goal achieved. Kati, her husband, and two cats live in the spirit of a pre-war with a view provided by the soaring design of a contemporary interior design classic.