Designer Nicole Watts brings vibrant international style to a standard New York City high rise.
Photos by Genevieve Garruppo
While moving into a space is the beginning of a new chapter, it’s always good to acknowledge where you came from. And that’s exactly what Nicole Watts Studio did with their clients’ 1,600-square foot penthouse. Newly built, the apartment already had a modern look and feel, so Nicole got to work adding in colors, patterns, and furniture that reflected the couple’s personality and Indian heritage. One of her first big challenges was creating separation from the couple’s study and the main entrance of the apartment.
“After looking through some inspiration images, I thought a divider that still allowed a lot of light to shine through would really make a huge impact,” Nicole explains. “My friend, Jon Melamed of Lafunc, helped me achieve the look by designing an intricate walnut and brass statement piece. [My client] tells me the divider gets a lot of compliments and attention, which was just what I was looking for!”
The study itself feels anything but basic as well, with pops of color from sheer tangerine curtains, vivid art work, and bold, brass brackets supporting open shelving.
The real standout in the apartment is the dining room—with its balance between the stunning Kelly Wearstler Graffito wallpaper in Teal Pearl and the sleek walnut dining table. Nicole chose the wallpaper because the rich color felt like a beautiful nod to Indian culture and it added cool tones and movement to the space. It’s so intricate it almost looks hand-painted wall art. A custom bar cabinet from Lafunc is stylish wall art and ample storage in one. The room is the perfect backdrop for entertaining; colorful Puiforcat glassware looks right at home on the table.
The colors and patterns in the dining room are so influential that they repeat again in the living room. And since it’s an open concept, it helps balance the space to see the pink, teal, and purple from the table again in the cushions. A neutral sectional sofa, marble side tables, and warm metallic finishes don’t compete with the color; instead, the neutral backdrop enables them to shine.
The bedroom adopts a more subdued color palette that still feels fun.
“I wanted to keep nuetral tones in the bedroom but add some patterns for the eye to focus on without being too obvious,” Nicole says. “The wallpaper from Burke Decor was able to achieve this for us. Combined with the soft textures of the bedding from Restoration Hardware, dim lighting by Jonathan Adler, and the beautiful silver vase from Puiforcat, we really loved the softness of the room.”
With the balance of old and new, combined with deliberate colors and patterns, this home manages to reflect Nicole’s clients’ pasts while giving them a stunning place to build a future.
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