Designer Charles Cohen's work in a Greenwich Village apartment proves that dude style can balance sophistication with a sense of humor.
Photos by Seth Caplan.
For a first-time apartment buyer, the process can feel like achieving the next level of grown up. So when it’s time to decorate you want a space that matches your new mindset.
“I wanted to give my client a place that he can feel proud to call his home, allowing the space to evoke his quirky and fun personality while still being serious enough for an adult,” designer Charles Cohen explains. “It needed to be comfortable, handsome, and functional for entertaining.”
That meant elevating the 800-square foot, cookie cutter Greenwich Village pad into something luxe, alluring, and full of personality—basically the ultimate bachelor pad.
“When creating masculine spaces I like to always keep the word ‘handsome’ in mind,” Charles explains. “I gravitate towards colors like navy, browns, forest green, and maroons. I choose rougher textures like honed marble as opposed to polished. I keep the larger accent pieces, like walls and carpets, in the room on the lighter side to balance out darker colors,” says Charles.
That balance wasn’t just a color choice—Charles wanted to make sure his client’s personality shone as well.
“Knowing my client, my goal was to peel off some layers and reveal his creative and charismatic self through his home,” Charles explains.
Through moodboards and several chats, the two drew out his decisive side, and were able to make bold choices that channeled a certain Mad Men sensibility—think Nero Marquina marble, rich oxblood leather dining chairs, and Mid Century Modern-style furnishings, like deep, well-worn leather chairs, a plush sectional sofa, and an oversized coffee table. The dining and living rooms offer plenty of space to entertain, stretch out, put your feet up, and have a cocktail. Touches of warm metallics balance out the heavier tones in the furniture.
A dramatic dude space needs a den-like vibe, so Charles introduced dark hues as backdrops. Two large niches—one in the entryway and the other near his desk—were painted a deep charcoal while an accent wall in the bedroom was covered in a beautiful blue-gray. Besides providing rich contrast for more neutral wood and leather furniture, the colors add warmth by making the spaces feel more enclosed and personal. A good designer knows you need to balance the dramatics to keep it from feeling too drab.
“My client’s apartment had a lot of windows and natural light coming through which allowed me to create darker, more dramatic spaces in the home,” Charles explains. “Ironically these niches also introduce a feel of warmth and comfort by feeling a bit more enclosed and personal.”
Pop art prints add a touch of whimsy to keep it light—a cartoon hand clutching a glass of whiskey, a piece from Mr. Brainwash, and a series of pool balls were the perfect nod to the client’s comedy writing background.
With the apartment finished, the entertaining could begin—though not without some casualties.
“There was only one occasion where he got to tell me ‘I told you so!’ and that was after the project was completed,” Charles explained. “He had friends over to see the finished apartment and he wanted to cover the marble dining table with a tablecloth. I, of course, did not let him as I wanted everyone to see it, but turns out his friends made a mess and stained the table. But we took care of it and the table looks brand new!,” says Charles.
The hazards of having a gorgeous space don’t matter when you have the right designer.
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