When it comes to taking on a renovation in a building as iconic as New York’s San Remo, striking the right balance of old and new is key. So when the design firm Husband Wife was tapped to renovate and combine two units in the double-spired Upper West Side co-op—designed in 1930 by architect Emery Roth and home to residents ranging from Rita Hayworth to Bono—they wanted to honor the original details while envisioning a new residence for a contemporary family of five.
The homeowners, who had lived in one of the Central Park−facing apartments since 2004, seized the opportunity to enlarge the 2,000-square-foot home when a neighboring, 2,500-square-foot unit became available. “The original plan was to lightly renovate the existing unit and gut the new one, but after thinking about the project as a holistic entity, we ended up doing a considerable amount of work in both apartments,” explains Justin Capuco, who cofounded the architecture and interiors firm with his wife, Brittney Hart, in 2015.
“We wanted to pay homage to the existing architecture of the building and the envelope we were given,” adds Hart. “The clients had kept the original terrazzo floor, trim, moldings, hardware, and doors, among other things, so our goal was to maintain that language throughout. A continuity in finishes and palette ensures that it feels like one home as opposed to two connected units.”
Hart and Capuco, both trained architects, set out to create a cohesive family-friendly residence that’s both sophisticated and durable. The kitchen, baths, and the more formal public spaces remained in place, while the rest of the layout was tweaked to better suit the family’s needs. To accommodate the kids’ school supplies and other gear, for instance, the corridors were built out with hidden storage made to look like wall paneling.
“We didn’t want anything too precious, but we also didn’t want it to look cookie-cutter,” says one of the clients. “The kids can have friends over without us stressing about things getting ruined. It was also important to us to have a comfortable family room where extended family and friends can hang out after Sunday dinners or watch a game.”
In addition to the family room, there’s an informal hangout space with a pool table and wet bar. “The rooms facing Central Park are more formal, and then as you move away from the park it’s more about casual living and places for the immediate family to spend time together,” notes Capuco.
While there are colorful accents throughout, the palette in the formal spaces leans toward quiet and serene. “The view of the park is tranquil, so we tried to create a softness and a sense of calm,” continues Capuco. “Many of the walls feature custom plaster or silk upholstery, which lends nice texture.”
When it came to the rest of the decor, the designers collaborated with the client to pull together an exciting mix of vintage pieces that mingle with custom upholstery and the couple’s art collection. “I love finding vintage treasures, so I wanted a mix of old and new,” says the homeowner. “I like the idea of reusing something that had another life in a different home and time period.”
In addition to scouting in New York, the designers and clients found items in Paris and Milan. “They travel a lot as a family and love collecting, so we created a framework they can add to over time,” says Hart. “Their incredible artwork collection was a huge bonus,” adds Capuco. “It adds a layered feel to the home while telling their story.”
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