For a designer, there is nothing more exciting than a blank canvas. And for the product and the interior designer Nicolas obeid, there was no better opportunity to start from scratch than with a 2,800-square-foot loft in a pre-war apartment building in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, with 16-foot-high ceilings, imposing windows and crisp white walls.
But there is also such a thing that too much Empty. The biggest challenge of this project, commissioned by a book loving couple who work in finance, was to ensure that the apartment, with its empty spaces and the absence of pre-existing architectural details (with the exception of a stone mantle covered with a solitary cherub), looked like a house and not a warehouse or a furniture showroom.
“I always say it’s a conscious mixture,” says Obeid, who spent seven years at Jonathan adler before going on his own in 2018.
For Obeid, who worked with design company EQPT Residences on the project, the first solution was to temper the large combined kitchen, living room and dining area with rooms at the appropriate scale. This included a custom 105-inch sofa and a custom 50-by-50-inch cocktail table in the living room. The oversized furniture, he says, works to create a more intimate scale. In the same room, Obeid created separate seating areas delimited by rugs to help fill the expanse and create different living rooms. “It will also help when my clients are hosting cocktails to have different spaces to mingle,” he explains.
The same strategy came into play for the dining room, which featured spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows. The bespoke blackened oak dining table designed by Obeid anchors the room with its large size. “It feels organic and sort of soft and curvy,” he said. A set of woven leather Casamidy the dining chairs add lightness to the vignette and, as an added bonus, were made in the same small town in Mexico where guests got married.
Then came the “conscious mix” Obeid talks about, comprising one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and artwork. In the living area, he brought fluidity to the arrangement with soft curves, like a screen by Alvar Aalto in a corner and a red leather armchair by Tobia and Afra Scarpa for B&B Italy. Obeid added works by the Brooklyn ceramist Nathalie Weinberger and the sculptor Paul morehouse, who made the sculpture on the fireplace mantel. Customers, meanwhile, brought in some of their own pieces, including Picasso’s lithographs seen in the living room. In other parts of the apartment, such as the bedroom, Obeid has obtained works of art from La Pera projects—A subscription service featuring a selection of works of art by established and emerging artists.
Other items were Obeid’s own design, including a floor lamp in an adjacent home office from its partnership with CB2 (this month, Obeid expanded the collection with a new console, side tables and a selection of lighting).
“My goal was to make such a large space more like a welcoming home,” Obeid explains of the overall project. Mission accomplished.
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