For artist and accessories designer Christina Wang, fashion should always include a bit of cheek. Her Noodles scarf, for instance, features whimsical illustrations of carb-y favorites like beef pho and lasagna arranged in an Hermès-worthy array. Her Bag Goals silk scarf, meanwhile, showcases “It” holdalls including a Chanel backpack, a Dior tote, a Louis Vuitton trunk—and an Ikea Frakta. The latter design could be a metaphor for Wang’s freshly overhauled four-bedroom, four-bathroom home in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood—a venue where fashion, function, and fun collide head-on. Case in point: The appliances are bubble gum pink. “The last thing I want is a really monotone, ‘safe’ apartment,” Wang declares.
Wang and her husband, Brian, had purchased two adjacent apartments in the building, one in 2011, another five years later, and wanted to merge them into their dream home. For Wang, that meant a truly supreme kitchen and comfortable, fanciful spaces where she could make memories with her husband and two kids, Connor and Dylan.
Enter New York–based design studio Le Whit, helmed by Liza Curtiss and Corey Kingston. Wang was drawn to the duo not only for their easy personalities (“I could foresee us being friends,” Wang shares), but also because she was eager to collaborate with two fellow female entrepreneurs. And the feeling was mutual: “It was really clear that [Christina] loved an exuberant color palette and wasn’t afraid to just go there—which is always pretty exciting for designers,” Curtiss says. “Some clients, you really have to pull them out of the gray scale.”
A key theme in Le Whit’s design solution, both for the decoration (overseen by Curtiss) and the interior architecture (Kingston’s purview) was introducing soft curvature wherever possible—a strategy that Wang first encountered while touring Antoni Gaudí’s buildings while in Barcelona as a college student at Brown. “He pretty much never designed with 90-degree angles,” she remembers. “No sharp edges. Everything is curved to mimic the softness of nature. I was always very taken by that because everything we live in is so square.”
That softness is apparent as soon as you enter the subtly sumptuous entry, which introduces visitors to the home’s residents with a custom mural by Maine-based artist (and Roman and Williams go-to) Dean Barger. The bucolic landscape includes depictions of Wang, her husband, and kids. Wang’s dog, Finn, and horse, Don, have been represented in the scene, too. “It’s like out in the country on a misty morning walk,” Wang says. “You walk in and it just feels airy.”
From there, the residence blooms into distinctive branches—Brian and Christina’s wing, the children’s wing, and an entertaining/living wing—through a series of dramatic arched hallways (each features pocket doors). “When you walk into the apartment, it doesn’t reveal everything immediately,” explains Wang. “There’s a sense of discovery.”
The arch motif continues in the custom casework (created in collaboration with Aries Builders) that defines the combined dining room/kitchen as well as the living areas. “What we always wanted to add in were elements of old New York, like these Art Deco or art moderne curves, a lot of beautiful wood molding, and beautiful tile,” Kingston explains.
One of the most striking spaces is, as enthusiastic home cook Wang desired, the kitchen. “They really live in that space,” Curtiss says. The designers rejiggered the floor plan so that the cooking space, as well as the dining area, abuts a set of windows, a move that affords mealtime Manhattan views and access to a terrace. The kitchen’s La Cornue range is one of many pink punctuations throughout the home—though, perhaps, the most surprising. “We were deliberate about the pop of ultrafeminine with the stove,” Curtiss says. It was our client’s dream stove—she’d discussed it with her family years before, actually!” A dramatic marble backsplash, blond wood, and clean lines “help steer the pink away from anything frilly,” she adds.
The primary suite continues the home’s curved language—but with darker, sexier tones. The bathroom and bedroom are lushly decorated, in concert, with rich blues (including, Sherwin-Williams’s Naval paint) and reds. The bathroom’s “A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains” from de Gournay ups the drama. “I really wanted a de Gournay wallpaper,” Wang says, joking, “that, to me, was the mark of an adult home.”
Her enduring fondness for fashion, appropriately, has been sewn into the scheme. In one of the powder rooms, the floor’s multicolored Italian tiling references the Céline stores of Phoebe Philo’s reign; in another, a tiger-themed wallpaper by Gucci. In the sitting room, India Mahdavi’s Botero chair is covered in Dedar’s Say Goodbye Flora Pomponette fabric — the same pattern, Wang notes, that’s in Dior’s new Paris flagship. As for the pink botanical wallpaper covering the walls? That’s a Wang original, a pattern so chic that it could be splashed across one of her scarves.
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