Upper Eastside Apartment

This sunny corner-apartment renovation included: refinishing the wood floors throughout; combining several closets in the master suite; custom radiator cabinets; and all new finishes, hardware, and furnishings.

The project required Design Development, Co-op Board Approval, Building Permits, Construction Administration, Custom Millwork, Interiors Design and Styling.

The Process

The apartment is located in a co-op building that was designed and erected in the 1960's. Its interiors are basic and lack any decorative details. The apartment itself was in ok shape, bathrooms and kitchen had some updated fixtures, floors and cabinetry, but not of the highest quality.

The entire project was submitted to the co-op board for review and approval, and permits were filled for the construction of the new closets, and replacement of the plumbing fixtures. The entire process was completed by CHD, except for the Architectural Stamp and processing of the drawings to the NYC DOB.

The Client, a recent bachelorette, was seeking to bring her love for travel and knowledge together in a space that truly was an unabashed expression of herself. Her book collection along with her collection of antique pieces from around the world helped shaped the overall theme. I wanted to create a space that could be an attractive mix of eclectic decor new and old that would improve as her collections grew.


The Client did not want the expense of putting in new wood floors, so we decided to refinish them. However, there were several areas where the wood had been stained from water and wear, so we needed a color that could hide some of the previous tenant's neglect.

Another factor played heavily on the floor color decision - the Client's father had recently passed away and wanted to integrate a rug that was of sentimental value. CHD sourced some images for inspiration, and the final floor and rug combination was born.

The rug had a lot of warmer tones, but with the apartment bright with natural light, and the Client not wanting to spend money updating the grey accented kitchen, we decided to go with a cooler floor in a grey tone to mellow out the rug and transition well into the kitchen.

The grey stain, a custom mixture of black and white stains, went through several iterations. We ultimately landed on a partially sanded stained floor, because when we saw the final stain it looked like it had been painted. What we wanted was the look we initial saw in the stain options below. The last image shows a close up of the final product, a rustic and slightly worn blue grey tone - achieved by sanding after the final stain was applied. In the end, the Client decided it wasn't the right rug, and went with another option, but she continues to get compliments on her one-of-a-kind floor.


Another place where we were able to save was on the recently redone kitchen. Lack luster in its initial execution with frosted glass & shaker panel fronts, basic steel pulls, steel appliances, and grey composite countertops. The floor was an interesting smatter of grey veining that was worth highlighting.

We were able to transform the Kitchen by adding a bright backsplash to compliment the Client's painted terra cotta wall hangings, along with antiqued mirror panels to replace the existing glass ones. New pulls were added in a more rustic and worn look, complimenting the brassy veining of the antique mirrors, and hardware throughout the apartment. The vents were simplified to a single minimal vent on the underside of the soffit in the kitchen/dining entry.


The apartment ceilings were not very high, measuring at 8'-6", and the existing doors were flat and flimsy with mis-matched hardware in brass and steel. The existing trim around the doors was either thin & utilitarian or non-existent.The baseboards were a simple tapered piece of wood, and there was no crown moulding throughout the apartment.

With the doors, I wanted to visually elongate the space and give the illusion of higher ceilings. Using an elongated top panel in a french-style solid wood door - to add a worldly flair, created a defining look that exuded a bit of femininity while making the space feel open. The hardware elevated the feminine style and gave the doors a touch of class. The Client liked the idea of bringing some femininity to the apartment, and continued to do so with the lighting choices.



The original building architect had designed the concrete decks to double as ceilings for the tenants below, providing zero wiggle room for additional ceiling elements to be added or embellished, including adding any recessed lights or additional junction boxes. All light fixture locations had to remain, or use expose conduit (no thanks!). We did however add all of the sconces, providing new sources of light in the Living Room and Bedroom.

It wasn't until we got to this part of the process that the Client realized she had an affinity for a glamorous jewelry-like feel for light fixtures - or as she called it, her "bling." Yet with all of her favorite things seemingly of different styles, I was able to create a seamless eclectic grouping of light fixtures throughout the apartment.


With the Client an avid reader and collector of books, it was necessary to use every inch of dead space for storage. The existing radiator cabinets were replaced with custom designed cabinets to have shelving on either side of the radiator, along with removable front access panels and top grilles for servicing.


The powder room left much to be desired. The chunky fixtures and all-white motif made the room feel dirty and cramped. Since the Client did not want her guests to use her Master Bathroom, she wanted to make sure the high-end experience of the apartment was not forgotten in this half bath. Now, grasscloth wallpaper adorns the walls, with an Onyx tile floor, and unlacquered brass fittings throughout.


Several tiny closets littered the Master Suite; by combining them to make two large walk-ins, I was able to increase the storage capabilities dramatically. The walk-in closets, accessible in the Master Bedroom Hall, were outfitted by California Closets, in order to save money on custom built-ins. In addition, new carpet and plush carpet padding was installed throughout to give a more cozy feel.

The Client was not a huge fan of the cramped nature of the Master Bathroom. So a smaller toilet was installed, the shower doors removed, and a small floating vanity cabinet installed, so storage for make-up and other beauty essentials could be stored. In addition, a larger medicine cabinet was installed to maximize the wall space, with the larger mirror surface helping to enlarge the room. New tile was installed throughout, a combination of a crackle glazed porcelain subway tile, and the warm veining of a Calacatta marble trim and floor.

Claire Hung