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Alexa Hampton Creates a Home with a View
A New York apartment boasts neoclassical interiors as compelling as its skyline vistas
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Perched high above Central Park, this Upper West Side apartment moves the heart and uplifts the soul with its bird’s-eye views, transporting its empty-nester owners. Yet their Southern hearts yearned for the pied-à-terre to take them somewhere more: home.
“The couple live in a house and wanted a sense of a house when they’re in the city,” designer Alexa Hampton says. “So we infused the apartment, which originally had very modern interiors, with that sensibility.”
Hampton was introduced to the project through Joel Barkley of Ike Kligerman Barkley, who had begun architecturally reimagining the triplex, bringing in a sweeping central staircase, grand moldings, and stuc pierre artisan plasterwork.
“The homeowners are fans of patina, age, and use of different materials. That drove the project,” Hampton says. “Inspiration came from the beautiful materials and their mix.”
The tone is set in the entry, where a Potsdam photo by Celia Rogge above an antique console and bull’s-eye mirror serves as Hampton’s clarion call for what’s to come. “I used photography because I like the modernism of that -medium mixed with the aged elements I brought to the interiors,” she says.
Transparent crystal balusters alternate with French ironwork, speaking to the home’s emphasis on openness and views. A parquet floor with marble insets steps around an antique marble column into the living room, where the floor transitions to wood planks.
“The materials are connected, but they progress as you move through the space,” Hampton says. “The material choices give this home its sense of richness.”
In the living room, an antique limestone fireplace surround and hand-applied patinated finish on doors continues the theme. Old and new furnishings comfortably mingle, as do pattern and color.
“The homeowners love oranges, rusts, greens, and peaches—it’s such a great palette,” Hampton says. “There are modern nuances to the apartment, but the palette is traditional. It’s nice counterpoint.”
Pattern also welcomes both the current and the classic, geometrics and florals. “There’s big pattern on the curtains, chairs, and a pair of pillows, but everything else is solid, striped, or more subdued,” Hampton says. “It’s a sneaky way to get in a lot of personality without a room becoming too busy.”
In the adjacent dining room, character comes from an antique canvas used to cover the ceiling. “Because there are almost no walls—just windows—in this space, it’s a critical element,” Hampton says.
While she employed numerous French antiques throughout the home, nodding to the warmth and character of the Southern homeowners, Hampton also included English pieces—as seen in the pairing of Louis chairs with an English dining table. “The mix is a hallmark of American style,” she says. “I love that everything’s in the cauldron bubbling.”
Oranges and blacks join russets and rusts in the library, where leopard-print fenders frame a marble fireplace and metal-and-leather bar stools attend an equally sexy bar.
The cozy colors work with rich woodwork and brass elements to imbue warmth in the dramatic, soaring space, a favorite of Hampton’s. “Who hasn’t watched My Fair Lady and dreamed of having Henry Higgins’ library?” she says with a smile.
Wood paneling also cocoons the kitchen and the den, while the home’s private rooms return the emphasis to an airy attitude and stunning sight lines.
Wood doors from the serene, layered master bedroom open to views of the two-story library.
The master bath awes with a freestanding tub overlooking lofty skyscrapers. “I used reflective materials, a mosaic-tile floor and a mirrored cast-iron tub, so the bath twinkles and shines,” Hampton says.
“There are so many captivating moments throughout all of these wonderful open spaces,” she says. “The homeowners brought so much of themselves to it. You can tell it’s someone’s house—it’s very personal, and that’s what makes it successful.”