January 9, 2017

Messana O’Rorke: 2016 Best of Year Winner for Small Apartment

When a project goes bust, it’s sometimes a blessing. That was the case for Brian Messana and Toby O’Rorke, who had just completed schematics for a one-bedroom. . .when the owner decided to sell the place. His next-door neighbor, itching to expand, had made an offer he couldn’t refuse.

He then bought an apartment that was larger and better situated: 1,150 square feet in an art deco landmark fronting Central Park. The drawback was a dated interior, requiring a complete gut. Messana and O’Rorke improved the flow of the L-shape layout, separating spaces with sleek multitasking enclosures that conceal storage and much more. Between the living room and the bedroom, for instance, a walnut-clad enclosure not only houses the bathroom and a powder room, with washer-dryer, but also conceals a TV on the bedroom side and, in the living room, a Murphy bed for guests.

As always with Messana and O’Rorke, there’s a lightness to the design. Doors hover ¼ inch off the floor. Cove lighting makes walls appear to float. Flooring is white oak. Complementing the spare envelope are colorful pieces such as a curved aubergine sofa. The Hanns-Peter Krafft sheep stools grazing nearby are a cheeky nod to the apartment’s location, steps from the park’s historic Sheep Meadow. 

Project Team: Viktor Nassli; Agnes Beatle; Pious Weinstein.

> See more from the December 2016 issue of Interior Design

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