IKB Crafts Two SoHo Apartments

THE FAMILY ROOM cabinetry below Walton Ford’s gouache of a tiger contains the home’s A/V systems; FJ Hakimian’s carpet is 100 percent, easy-care wool; a faux zebra print covers the hassock; the lacquered, red table is from Holly Hunt.

“We’re good listeners,” says Thomas A. Kligerman, the preternaturally modest architect and partner at New York-based firm Ike Kligerman and Barkley . . . as though that was all it took to combine two large, distinctly laid-out apartments and create one beautiful home comprising 15 rooms surrounded by extensive terraces.

What was needed was top-drawer creativity and skillful attention to detail, both of which he and Mia Jung, the company’s director of interiors and his collaborator on the project, have in abundance. It also helped, they say, that the client was “receptive to our ideas, trusting, enthusiastic and quick to make decisions on the choices presented.”

The two apartments were situated in a “quintessential SoHo building dating from the turn of the 19th century,” says Kligerman, “roughly the same size, positioned side-by-side. One, the client and her two children were living in, the other, a recent purchase, can best be described as a developer’s white box with sheetrock walls and builder bathrooms. Together, they measured approximately 6,500 square feet.”

Of special interest to everyone involved were the exceedingly high ceilings – 12 to 14 feet – and two terraces, one 637 square feet, the other hovering at 600. Kligerman notes, “They provide a green context, adding to the soothing mood we were striving for, not so easy to find in New York.”

THE DINING AREA is centered by a table that extends to seat 10 or 12; the dining area’s artwork includes a gelatin silver print by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

“Our directive,” explains Jung, “was to create a modern, cohesive home that was light, relaxing and child-friendly. The client preferred natural fibers, subtle blues and greens, and fabrics that were soft to the touch. She also was developing a photography collection that would play a role in the décor.”

Working closely together, Kligerman and Jung came up with a plan that was “open and casual, a timeless design, yet also hip and current,” adds Jung, “one that would allow us to add depth with interesting textiles and a mix of vintage, contemporary and period pieces.”

THE MASTER BEDROOM features sheer drapes with a hand-blocked pattern and custom wool rug from ALT for Living. Above the bed, upholstered in a diamond-patterned cotton-hemp blend is Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong’s photo, one in the “Horizons” series.

Kligerman outlines how, in addition to the adaptations one would expect to be made to the lighting, mechanical and plumbing systems – eliminating redundancy was key – they also reframed walls and doors; reconfigured layouts for more graceful and practical comings-and-goings from one room to another; joined two rooms to make one grand dressing room; rid one apartment of its kitchen to make room for a dining alcove and turned the gym into a guest suite – among many other things. Basically, “We changed everything,” says Kligerman. Or, as one on the team put it, “This wasn’t just a blowout. It was a totally new hairdo!”

Mahogany floors, often finished with rugs, anchor the delicately hued palette, the family room being the sole exception. Bursting with pops of red, orange and purple and a variety of bold patterns, the effect, perhaps amplified by Walton Ford’s tiger painting, projects something of an Asian sensibility.

THE LIVING ROOM sofa is dressed in a plush, handwoven Chapas Textiles fabric. The sleek furniture includes a slipper chair from 1930s France.

In the living room, Jung utilizes the natural light that pours in as a key accessory, filtering it with sheer fabric panels. As elsewhere, she combines a multitude of textures that, while restrained, entice the eye. In every respect, furnishings are simple and clean-lined; at the same time, each encompasses a singular quality: a coffee table with a woven leather top sits upon the three-dimensional, silk-and-wool carpet from Tai Ping, side tables sport parchment surfaces and a concrete Parsons table adds quiet drama.

Lit by a wire-wrapped, glass pendant light, the master bath gleams with mosaic and ceramic tiles on the floor and walls. In the bedroom, brass side tables complement barefoot-beckoning carpeting.

THE STUDY’S two photographs add depth to the room’s color palette. Above the sofa hangs “Villa Lante I” by Lawrence Beck; at the right, a selection from Valérie Belin’s “Painted Ladies” series. Tables are from Holly Hunt; the light fixture is 1960s French.

The study, its fluted molding carefully crafted to incorporate the one-half inch-thick padded squares affixed to the walls, epitomizes the precision with which everything in the house was planned and executed. Whip-stitched together, they produce a secondary layer of intrigue while providing a gentle background for the straight-edged furnishings.

Comfortable, tranquil, welcoming, sophisticated. The end result is one that will last. As Kligerman and Jung were pleased to hear their client say upon seeing her new home for the first time, “Everything is gorgeous! Truly, I am beyond happy with how everything has turned out.”

Photography by William Waldron.

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