Friday, October 9, 2009

Eclectic New York apartment

Now this is what I call eclectic. This New York apartment, on the Upper East Side, right off Central Park is owned by Keith Johnson and Glen Senk. The men behind Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

The decor perfectly suits the circa-1928 apartment, full of interesting corners and alcoves. “The space really straddles two eras,” Senk says, “Victorian and modern.” The couple, who met at age nine when Johnson’s family moved in next door to the Senk residence on Long Island, decided to retain the traditional floor plan, which included a pantry with bedroom. This was due more to exhaustion than a design choice, admit the pair, whose first home together in 1976 was a rented Manhattan studio for $225 a month—“lots of pillow furniture, plants, and a sawhorse table,” Johnson recalls—followed by a dizzying list of locations, among them Philadelphia, London, and San Francisco. They had given their last place a complete overhaul, and Senk says, “We were so tired that when we came here we just said, ‘Enough.’”

They did, however, make some cosmetic changes, such as getting rid of the Pepto-Bismol–pink floors and mint-green wallpaper in the front of the apartment. One of the master bedrooms was remade into a tailored home office and now features an exquisite wood-and-iron table crafted by South African designer Gregor Jenkin and a folk-art chair cast from an old tractor seat. The second bedroom suite was converted into a cozy library, with an antique English sofa (the model for an Anthropologie bestseller) and a pair of multicolor cracked-glass sconces, which lend the room a loungy atmosphere. The lights once lived on a ’60s Italian ocean liner—stare at them long enough and you fall into a La Dolce Vita fantasy.

“Everything in here I found with the store in mind,” Johnson says. Almost everything, that is. Placed discreetly in a hallway leading to their bedroom is a sweet photo of the two as teenagers on Long Island, standing in front of the home of Johnson’s parents. Both are grinning and appear to be sharing an inside joke. Some things, it turns out, can’t be found in a store.

Photos & text courtesy of

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