Enter a West Village Pied-à-Terre inspired by both Paris and LA
“We felt like in New York we were getting the best of both cities with great views,” says designer Carol Ann Blinken, referring to the Manhattan location of her part-time residence. This home offers stunning views of the Hudson River and New Jersey. But as far as the eye can see, Blinken has gone even further when it comes to the creative process involved.
The original New Yorker, living in Los Angeles, had been looking for a pied-à-terre in her hometown for many years, but the quest was reinvigorated when her eldest daughter began to seek universities. Finally, Blinken found the New York home of his dreams: a West Village duplex with a terrace. The grassy outdoor space helped her feel like she could enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of her home. (She may have missed the energy of New York for a long time, but she admits that she’s gotten used to an outdoor lifestyle in LA)
Once the residence was purchased, Blinken turned to Los Angeles architect Steve Giannetti to help him reinvent the space. The two flew to New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. With no heat in the bare apartment, they warmed up with the stove as they drafted a plan. The design process was organic for Blinken, and she completed it in just three days. With a plan in mind, she then began searching for furniture at auction houses in Los Angeles, New York and Europe, filling the new home with items she had always coveted. Unsurprisingly, the duplex has evolved since she bought it. “It’s like a living, breathable collection,” she muses.
The opening of the home – which Blinken and his family have found themselves frequenting on city breaks – also recalls an interior style often associated with Southern California. This is especially true in the library and the kitchen, which are in tune with a notion of bright and relaxed luxury.
Aquatic blues, earth tones and organic materials – all hallmarks of the City of Angels, where Blinken resides primarily through work and family – can be seen throughout the duplex. Blinken’s design scheme was also influenced by her travels: having lived in Paris for a year, the designer opted for chalky white cabinets and moldings throughout the apartment. She also juxtaposed antique pieces with more modern elements in the ultra-bright space. In particular, the decidedly contemporary sparkle of the master bedroom (cue of the floating custom TV) is complemented by seating areas dotted with vintage finds.
Buy now for unlimited access and all the benefits that only members can enjoy.
Ignore LA and Paris for a moment, however, and it becomes clear that some aspects of the apartment are still quintessentially New Yorker. “We took a large part of the space and turned it into a bookcase, which I designed as a beautiful, elegant, romantic, lacquered [room on the] Upper East Side, ”says Blinken. The bookcase includes a Willy Rizzo coffee table with a pearly finish and some of Pierre Jeanneret’s silently powerful seating options. To add humor to the room, Blinken added an ostrich feather lamp. “It’s not a designer lamp, but it has that feeling,” she notes.
“One of the things I love most about this apartment is the contrast,” says Blinken. Stairs, for example, have herringbone floors and rough structural details. “You know, there are these beautiful architectural elements, some very finished. I love how I feel every time I’m in it.
The entire building was undergoing modernization, so she had carte blanche in the design process. The designer and her architect ended up fitting out three lovely downstairs bedrooms and bathrooms for the kids, creating the perfect Blinken family home.