A 1935 Manhattan apartment has been transformed by Rawlins Design into the residence for its Principal. Architecture, furniture, and art are woven into a seamless progression of spaces that embody the calm intelligence combined with hedonistic sensuality that we aspire to in each of our projects.
Inlaid floors in the foyer recall the Art Deco building’s public spaces, also renovated by the architect. A sculpture by Miroslaw Baca and mysterious, walnut-stained canvasses by Tad Mike are set off with a richly hued gradient wallcovering. Rawlins’ grandmother lived in the Philippines in the 1930’s, and one of her favorite pieces was an Art Deco mahogany and cedar chest that she commissioned there--for thirty-eight dollars. It now anchors the foyer. Other heirlooms include a midcentury drop-leaf table that once held his grandparents’ guest book and ornate nineteenth century silverware that perfectly complements a sleek new dining table and credenza designed by the Turkish firm Marbleous. An Edward Wormley sofa with original lime upholstery holds court with a Gio Ponti coffee table and lounge chairs inspired by Marco Zanuso.
The original master bedroom and kitchen locations were “flipped,” allowing for modern forms of dwelling while infusing the public spaces with multiple exposures. Curved ceilings ease the transition to the sunken living room, while concealing a new central air system. In the open kitchen, an extra-deep sink and a raised cooktop vent maintain order in the midst of a dinner party. Polished Corian countertops in the “wet” zone trace a line from the floor to the ceiling, with a stone-topped island serving as the “hot” zone. Hobs for the Gaggenau cooktop are set directly into the zebrawood cabinetry.
Teak and seamless Corian form the palette of a ship-like bathroom. The master bedroom is illuminated by a custom-designed chandelier fashioned from copper plumbing pipe, kept tidy with an immense maple dresser that floats off the wall, and surrounded by linen wallcovering. Full-height closet doors, veneered in a checkerboard pattern, were inspired by a visit to Katsura Villa in Japan. Although the bedroom is spacious, the sleeping area is a tailored and intimate niche. It is surrounded by sensual Tom Bianchi Polaroids of Fire Island in the 1970’s, an era that Rawlins also chronicles in his book Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction. The architect’s studio was carved from an adjacent apartment, which also includes guest quarters: an arrangement that has greatly facilitated pandemic living. Best of all, every room in the combined dwelling faces Inwood Hill Park.