New York apartment interior design
Frederique van der Wal envisioned “cozy” when she went looking for an apartment in New York, and she was lucky enough to find a space a wraparound NoHo loft punctuated by skylights that matched her sensibility. Then she surprised herself: she hired an architect with a radically different aesthetic. A major modernist player, Winka Dubbeldam was recommended to van der Wal by her real-estate agent, whose streamlined offices the architect had designed. A participant in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Un-Private House” exhibit and the architect behind Gear magazine’s sleek new Manhattan headquarters, Dubbeldam specializes in cantilevered surfaces, asymmetrical flourishes, and inventive uses of glass and polished aluminum. She also, like van der Wal, happens to be Dutch.
“During our first conversation, Frederique said, ‘You won’t be interested in working with me, because I want something homey,’” Dubbeldam recalls. “But I met with her to show her some materials, and we clicked.” The unlikely collaboration of the model and actress, who recently appeared in Barry Sonnenfeld’s Wild Wild West, and her architect compatriot produced a felicitous juxtaposition of styles. Van der Wal’s French-country antiques, terracotta tiles, and dried-flower arrangements counterbalance Dubbeldam’s black-slate fireplace and angular maple, slate, and stainless-steel kitchen island. Snapshots of the actress water-skiing are displayed on bookshelves built with a striking off-center support column. In the bedroom, which van der Wal had initially conceived as a “tranquil and feminine” boudoir, Dubbeldam added nightstands painted glossy yellow.
Throughout the apartment, the architect used natural and translucent materials to bounce back the light. The curved entryway is glazed in a satiny mix of wax and yellow, orange, and green paint. A walk-in closet was recast as a master bath that van der Wal likens to an aquarium, with pale-blue and green glass tiles set in recessed grout. “If you set them in a normal way, you’d miss the shininess of the edges,” Dubbeldam explains. To help van der Wal get more comfortable with the loft’s modern look, Dubbeldam created doll-sized models for her client to keep around. (She carried a miniature fireplace everywhere until she accidentally sat on it in a taxi.) Still, van der Wal points out, “Winka let me have my influence. We did modern, but we made it warm.” The pair also let their Dutch connection surface in unexpected ways. There’s not a Delft tile in sight, but above the pine dining table hangs a Warhol silkscreen, an irreverent and eye-popping portrait of Queen Beatrix.