September 1, 2011

Setting the Stage: Dufner Heighes Designs Dynamic Model Apartment For Luxury NoHo Building

Even at a prime address, you often have to offer extra enticements to potential buyers. The model apartment at 41 Bond Street breaks the “bland is better” mold with dynamic artworks, rich textures, and (gasp) some color. Many of the furnishings came from ateliers and showrooms only minutes away.

This short stretch of NoHo is now home to some of the most sought-after real estate in the city, including condomi­niums by Herzog & de Meuron and Interior Design Hall of Fame member Deborah Berke. The seven-unit building at num­ber 41 was developed by DDG Part­ners and designed by its in-house architect, partner Peter Guthrie. DDG’s CEO, Joe McMillan, calls the area the “down­town gold coast.”

The building’s subtly striking exterior, clad in bluestone from upstate New York, influenced interior elements. Kit­chen cabinets, meanwhile, reprise patterns in the stonework outside, albeit in maple. Guthrie explains that detailing marries vintage and contemporary, a theme that runs throughout.

Installing wainscoting flush to the walls gave it a sleek update, and the same goes for contemporary takes on tray ceilings and cove moldings. “Flooring,” Guthrie adds, “is another one of the glues that hold the project together.” The oak underwent a series of stains, from dark to light, to bring out the color.

DDG had completed the interior finishes when Dufner Heighes was asked to furnish a 2,600-square-foot three-bedroom as the model unit. Most challenging was the fact that the public space is one long room with the fireplace slightly off-center. “We thought of it as separate areas—living, lounge, dining, and kitchen,” Greg Dufner says.

To avoid traffic jams, he and Daniel Heighes Wismer played with shape and scale, particularly in the middle. “A round rug defines the lounge. You can flow around it easily,” Wismer says. “And we used a group of armchairs there, rather than a sofa, for a clubby feel.”

The armchairs are by Edward Wormley, who also designed the living area’s slipper chairs. They’re paired with his tailored L-shape sectional. “The scale of the furniture—not giant or overstuffed—doesn’t overpower the space,” Dufner says. In the dining area, the walnut table may be long, but it feels light, an effect heightened by the open-back chairs.

Above the dining area hangs one of six chandeliers by Lindsey Adelman, whose workshop is in the same building as the Dufner Heighes studio. “Our intention was to work with local artisans,” Wismer says. “More than just being local, though, things had to have a sense of craftsmanship.”

Down the hall, past an en­viably large dressing room, the master bedroom contains another Adelman chandelier. It’s installed over a bed that backs up to wallpaper by the artist Kiki Smith. Actual art—paintings and photography—comes from the contemporary gallery Mixed Greens.

A peppy number pattern papers one wall in the children’s room. On the opposite wall, painted de rigueur white, is a colorful, gestural oil on canvas by Howard Fonda. “After we hung it here, the director of Mixed Greens told us it’s a skull,” Dufner says. “I still think it can work.” Downtown children like a little edge.


Sky-Frame; Walch: Custom Windows. H. Thomas O’Hara Architect: Architect of Record. Future Green Studio: Landscaping Consultant. Plus Group: MEP. Polygon Projects: Woodwork. Marie Savatiere: Drapery Workshop. 

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