Friday, November 1, 2013
Hearst Magazines Designer Visions at the Walker Tower
With pal Michael Boodro, the editor of Elle Decor.
Three interior designers recently did their magic in three residences for the Hearst Magazines Designer Visions showcase in the newly renovated Walker Tower on West 18th Street so I toddled over to the gala opening. After all, it's only three blocks from the apartment!
The Art Deco-style Walker Tower was built in 1929 by architect Ralph Walker for the New York Telephone Company. The New York Times called Walker "the architect of the century," and Frank Lloyd Wright said he was "the only other honest architect." Later, Verizon used the building which was recently bought and converted into luxury residences. Very luxury. Just yesterday, the building's penthouse apartment went into contract for almost $55 million, which is a real estate record for downtown Manhattan. Verizon still occupies the first seven floors, and the new apartments in the upper floors have sold or are being sold; Cameron Diaz was spotted checking out the building.
Archival photo of the Walker Tower in Chelsea –
For the Hearst Designer Visions showcase, designers Allesandra Branca decorated an apartment for Elle Decor, Jamie Drake created one for House Beautiful, and Carlos Aparicio went to work for Veranda. The party was mobbed with guests and it was hard to take pictures of the residences, which will be featured in upcoming issues of the magazines, but I did manage to get a few snaps. I ran into my friend Michael Boodro, the editor of Elle Decor, who told me more about the magazine's apartment.
Allesandra Branca, who designs a collection of fabrics for Schumacher, combined vivid reds and blues in a guest room for an Elle Decor residence.
"Allesandra took a huge raw space and made it into a colorful yet sophisticated family home," he said. "She used lots of pinks and reds, and showed how different fabrics and patterns can be harmonious and not clash. It's a practical but glamorous apartment."
A pretty vignette –
Designer Jamie Drake is renowned for his bold use of color, and he brought his signature touch to his apartment for House Beautiful. There was a golden foyer, a pink living room, a blue media room, and an aquamarine bedroom which was conveniently punctuated by this stylish guest in a scarlet red dress and matching bag.
Across the hall I met Clinton Smith, the new editor of Veranda magazine. Clinton reported that designer Carlos Aparicio is the owner of Gallery BAC in Soho, which deals in 20th century European antiques. For the Veranda apartment, Aparicio mixed in pieces by masters including Jean-Michel Frank to create an interior that was inspired by the craftsmanship and quality of the period between the wars.
Throughout the three residences, a common feature was the jaw-dropping, 360 degree views. The building has new floor-to-ceiling windows, and the resulting site lines are fantastic. Here, a luxurious bathtub looks downtown toward the new Freedom Tower on the site of the World Trade Center.
On the other side of the building, a view uptown –
Many of the apartments in the Walker Tower have stunning outdoor terraces. I love the timeless, graceful Art Deco architecture – very "Gotham City."
"After you –"
It's always fun to go out and see new designers and new buildings and new views –
And that is why we love New York.