London-born, New York-based designer Anna Karlin transformed a four-bedroom unit in the Upper West Side into a curated, glamorous home
British designer Anna Karlin — who lives and works on the other side of the Atlantic — is a woman of many talents. From furniture, lighting, textiles and home accessories to jewellery, set design and interiors, she never runs out of inspiration. Case in point: her latest project, a four-bedroom apartment nestled in a building built in 1908, originally designed by Hiss & Weekes in the heart of Manhattan. The 12-storey landmark, called The Belnord, recently underwent a complete transformation. Noted architect Robert A.M. Stern was tasked with the interiors, a private resident’s lounge and dining amenity spaces were created by Rafael de Cardenas, and a newly-restored 2,044-square-metre private courtyard was shaped by landscape architect Hollander Design.
We wanted every room to always have a gentle mix so that one material never dominated
Karlin took care of one of the units, which spreads over almost 280 square metres. “It’s a very Upper West Side glamorous New York-style apartment”, she describes. “I want it to really feel as if this is a happy home.” To achieve this goal, the designer added what she calls a “truly human layer”, giving life to an eclectic atmosphere through the right balance of vintage, antique, contemporary and custom-made pieces. “That is a look that we think takes a careful eye to pull off and doesn’t feel like it can just be ‘replicated’ into another model apartment, which we always feel is really important and we try and bring to every project we work on”, she says.
The walls were kept neutral — except for the mural in the children’s bedroom — to focus on a soft pallet that allowed the carefully curated furniture blend to stand out. For the materials, dark woods, marbles, burls, textiles and metals combine throughout. “Materiality is really important to me”, Karlin confesses. “We wanted every room to always have a gentle mix so that one material never dominated.”
In the large living-dining space, perfect for entertaining, Karlin introduced one of her favourite elements to the project: her floor-to-ceiling sculptural Face Light — made of tubular steel and a bronze patina with the shape of a face and a glass bulb for the eye. “It pulled the space together,” she explains.
To define how to bring personality to the apartment, Karlin envisioned with her team the fictional future inhabitants of the space. “We imagined a very well travelled family who had picked up pieces and objects along the way, whilst eventually settling in New York,” she says. “In our imaginations, they had shipped their dining table from their apartment in Paris, found their chandelier in a Scandinavian antique shop and their chairs from a dealer in Switzerland.”
Currently on the market, his apartment is a subtle feast for the eye, where every element has found its place in an elegant yet homey atmosphere.