Design studio General Assembly‘s mantra is to take into consideration the architectural uniqueness of every project that they work on. This apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is no exception. Home to a couple and their French bulldog, they had moved from a lower unit in the same building to this one that was higher and with spectacular views of the Queensboro Bridge and Uptown Manhattan. The apartment boasted a unique contrast of being suspended in the sky while being grounded by the 1974 building’s Brutalist structure. General Assembly’s Sarah Zames and Colin Stief wanted to honor both characteristics when transforming the space.
Originally, the apartment was worn and dated with a myriad of mirrors, lackluster lighting, and a large aquarium. “The space is about 1,300 square feet,” the designers said. “Unfortunately, there was not much to save from the original interior, but we got a great understanding of the heavy concrete building while the space was being cleared.” This particular project was a complete gut renovation, where they reconfigured the apartment’s layout to include a more open living, dining, and kitchen area. When both homeowners aren’t traveling, they work from home, so having a flexible office/guest room was key. Colin and Sarah commissioned local craftsmen to design sliding fixed panel glass doors that would close off the room while maintaining an unobstructed view of the city.
In fact, the rest of the apartment’s design followed a similar concept of including thoughtful details and furniture selections while being mindful of them being unobtrusive. Their main goal was to celebrate the views but at the same time give warmth to the apartment. “A clear material palette of white oak, travertine, and minimal detailing contrast the rough concrete texture that extends from the exterior into the home’s interior,” Sarah and Colin explained. “The warm, neutral interior provides warmth to the building while not distracting from the full-width windows, wrapping the north and east sides of the apartment.”
They included minimalist lighting by Juniper in the master bedroom and office, as well as a multi-functional daybed by Vonnegut Kraft in the living room. In the end, from start to finish, General Assembly transformed this high-rise space into a clean-lined yet warm apartment that feels like it’s floating over the city.