Step Inside a Super-Chic Home on Central Park That’s Surprisingly Modern

Whether or not you’ve visited Manhattan, you likely have a mental image of what it means to live on Central Park. (We have Eloise to thank for that.) For most, living “on the park”—whether it’s at The Dakota or The Plaza—conjures images of formal living, gilded molding, dumbwaiters, and doormen in full regalia. The modern-day families that live in these buildings, however, can paint a very different picture—and so would Kelly Zerbini, an interior designer for firm ADJJ (Arthur Dunnam for Jed Johnson Studio), who recently worked her magic on a spacious home on Central Park South.

The building in question had attracted a number of high-profile residents. But for Zerbini’s clients, a family of five with a fondness for color, art, and spirited decor, the unit’s interiors needed a bit of tie-loosening. “[The mother’s] concerns were that it was a very formal building,” says Zerbini, who recalls that the meticulous detailing of the full-floor original architecture, though stunning, didn’t foster the cozy, homey vibe her clients were after. For them, she explains, “it’s really about how things feel.”

Among the studio’s interventions was the creation of a “library” in a former bedroom—a space that deftly balances an elevated vibe with a palpable sense of play. There, the influence of the mother (a lover of “all things Morocco”) is apparent in the suite’s rich colors and patterns, textured wall tile, and pillow-fort-like Mah Jong sofa. Thanks to the furniture’s modular construction, kids can take apart, stack, and build its components into whatever configuration the day calls for. “Sometimes they’ll make it three levels high,” Zerbini laughs.

In a sprawling great room, ADJJ introduced four large pocket doors, enabling the family to close off activity in the sitting area from those used for working and dining. “The idea was that, if somebody was on a call or watching a movie in the living room, that there could be another zone where the rest of the family could be,” Zerbini says. Clever integrations of library-like lamps and discreet USB charging in the family’s dining-slash-working table means that it’s as productive as any you’d find at a co-working space or hotel lounge.

The home also needed to consider the homeowners’ passion for collecting art, something that was cultivated during the pandemic. With the help of consultants Diego Marroquin and Edward Tang (of Art-Bureau), the homeowners acquired a museum-worthy spread of works by Damien Hirst, Urs Fischer, Julian Schnabel, and other blue-chip artists, which each find ideal settings in the new home. (The Hirst cherry blossom painting seems especially well-placed, mirroring the blooms in the park just outside.) “Everything was done to be harmonious with the scale of the art,” Zerbini says, “even down to the sconces that we did in the living room.” A custom-commissioned painting in a bathroom nods to some of the mother’s heroes—including self-described “art addict” Peggy Guggenheim.

Though the makeover offered the mother and father a superb WFH setup, ADJJ didn’t neglect the needs of their youngest clients: Each child received their own design presentation. “Each of these rooms is completely made for each kid,” Zerbini says, pointing to details like drawing tables and display spaces for 3D-printing experiments.

Throughout the home, the designers opted for indoor-outdoor fabric to help disaster-proof the upholstery—one move of many that helped the family reconcile stylish looks with functionality. “[The mother] prides herself on having a home where guests and friends can come over, sit on the sofas, put their feet up, and not feel like they need to be super delicate,” Zerbini explains. Eloise would love it.

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