March 1, 2012

Love At First Site: Juan Montoya’s NYC Pied-a-Terre For a Long-Time Client

A 72-day marriage comes to a Hollywood halt. Fickle bachelors and bachelorettes save their wooing for TV. Meanwhile, for Interior Design Hall of Fame member Juan Montoya, loyalty still has longevity. Thirty years ago, Juan Montoya Design renovated a New York pied-à-terre for a couple from Greenwich, Connecticut—and the aesthetic connection was immediate. Much later, the couple entrusted the Greenwich house to him. By the time he tackled their latest New York apartment, they had become more than mere clients. “I have no bigger fans or dedicated followers,” Montoya says. “Design creates everlasting bonds.”

Capitalizing on space was critical, given the low ceiling of the 2,000-square-foot postwar apartment, so he replaced doors with open archways to encourage easy passage between the den, living room, dining area, and kitchen. Next, he introduced two things often lost in 1960’s construction: detail and texture. He lined the perimeter of the living room with subtle drywall soffits, fitted them with halogen cove lighting, and composed a grid of fiberboard wall panels. Built-ins disguise radiators, while ebonizing all but obscures the floor’s bland parquet squares. Furnishings have a down-to-earth vibe, as walnut and bronze play against neutral suede and chenille. A quartet of his own crushed-paper collages is framed together in the entry-a signature of sorts. As if clients like these would ever forget.

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