A Sense of Place

Florida Design Volume 18 #4

Florida Design

Kim Sargent

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“I happened to be in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, and from the broken heart that was shared by so many, I fell in love with the city in a new way,” owner Darelyn Olsen says. “At the time, I had a pied-á-terre on Sutton Place but maintained a primary residence in Colorado. Being in Manhattan on that day made me realize a desire for a new sense of community, and I wanted it to be in New York.”

Olsen’s decision prompted a search for a larger space, and, with a Fifth Avenue address and views of Central Park, this 3,000 square foot apartment won her heart from first sight. Olsen then called upon the design duo of William R. Eubanks and David Mitchell Brown, antique experts who proved the perfect choice for the homeowner.

With nature as the starting point, Eubanks and Brown set about the task of opening up the space to showcase the view. Walls came down, ceilings were raised, and all the windows and doors overlooking the park were replaced. “Bill and I take a very architectural approach to interior design,: Brown says, crediting architect David Hotson, who worked side-by-side with the designers in transforming the floor plan.

Originally a two-bedroom home with maid’s quarters, the plan was refashioned into a large one-bedroom residence with library. The result is elegant and inviting. Eclecticism reigns, thanks to the design duo’s gift for marrying centuries-old pieces with new custom-designed furnishings and updated classics.

The floor plan radiates from where a dramatic gallery space, where cream, latte and chocolate shades, defined by marble flooring and Venetian plastered walls, provide the backdrop for painstakingly crafted millwork. The gallery opens into the spacious living room, where French doors fronting the view create a relationship with nature and open up to an outdoor terrace overlooking Central Park. In the living room, an antique Oushak carpet, placed atop oak parquet flooring, lends a touch of informality that counters fine French antiques and soft, lush fabrics.

A more intense palette infuses the formal dining room with an apple green silk wall covering and chairs upholstered in tactile floral and animal print tapestry. Eight of the 12 chairs are original Italian antiques that Eubanks and Brown found in Paris; the remaining four are duplicates that the duo had manufactured in their workroom.

With its saturated color scheme and mix of textiles, prints and finishes, the opulent library is a clear departure from the rest of the apartment. Chinese red silk upholsters walls, while custom millwork in a tortoises-shell finish pairs with kidskin fabric and a multitude of textural influences.

Feminine and romantic, the master bedroom, with a miniature garden along the terrace, provides a restful spot for taking in the view. Paneled walls in French gray silk compose a quiet backdrop for the profusion of colorful fabrics and grouping of Art Deco, Biedermeier and French antiques.

“I was blessed with designers who could share my vision,” says Olsen, who resides in the apartment full-time. “The team created the home of my dreams, and I hope to live here a very long time.”