You are here

Sophisticated Apartment Filled with Art & Antiques

A Michigan Couple who call New York City their second home revel in the upgrades of an upper east side apartment building—again and again and again

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Michael Partenio

    For many American drivers, the timeline of car ownership chronicles a span that starts with a relative’s hand-me-down sedan and eventually graduates to an upgraded model outfitted with all the luxuries—leather seats, a premium sound system, and most important, a roomier interior. 

    Richard and Joann’s Upper East Side apartment delights with a panoramic view of Central Park.

    Photography: Michael Partenio  
    Produced by Stacy Kunstel

    Interior designers: Ellie Cullman and Alyssa Urban, Cullman & Kravis Inc., 790 Madison Ave., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10065; 212/249-3874,

  • Michael Partenio

    Entry Hall

    Richard Brodie knows the auto business well. In fact, while working in the car industry, he developed an engine part integral to making a car move. So when Richard and his wife, Joann, were ready to switch to their third apartment in the same New York building where they’ve resided part-time for 12 years, the couple handled the process like a well-oiled -machine. No doubt, their previous two units had boasted plenty of bells and whistles, but the roomier interior of their latest abode left them with smiles like those of a newly licensed 16-year-old with a set of four wheels to call his own.

    Wall treatment (custom Venetian stucco); ceiling treatment (alumium leafing): Uriu, LLC,
    Trim paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Chandelier (French gilt bronze chandelier, 19th-century): N.P. Trent Antiques,
    Commode (Regency side cabinet); mirror (17th-century beadwork mirror): Apter-Fredericks,
    Fabric in commode doors (“Maldive”/Apple Green #3013/17, colorway discontinued): Jim Thompson fabrics,
    White urns on commode (Sevres hard-paste biscuit vases, Louis XVI period); crystal vase; pedestal: owner’s collection.
    Box (Calamander wood tea caddy, c. 1870): Mallett,
    Sculpture on pedestal (by Harry Bertoia): owner’s collection.

  • Michael Partenio

    Artful Hallway

    “We grew to love the energy of the city,” Richard says. He and Joann flee to New York when they aren’t in their primary Michigan home. “We would wander around the auction houses, and that drove our interest in art. After many hotel stays, we bought an apartment, and that led to another and then another in the exact same building.”

    The third time, as they say, seems to be the charm. Supplying the creative fuel for the Brodies’ new digs are interior design icon Ellie Cullman and design partner Alyssa Urban. They worked with the Brodies on their other apartments and were familiar with the couple’s affinity for fine detail and passion for art. With a stately existing collection and palette direction to inform the aesthetic, the designers had what they needed to drive a meaningful plan.    

    A pair of antique benches get a fresh look with Scalamandre upholstery.

    Wall treatment (custom Venetian stucco); ceiling treatment (aluminum leafing): Uriu, LLC,
    Trim paint
    (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Flooring (white oak): I.J. Peiser’s Sons,
    Pair of benches (George III, mahogany c. 1780): Clinton Howell,
    Bench fabric (“Tigre” #26167M-001): Scalamandré,
    Art (by Ryan Sullivan): Maccarone Gallery,
    Ceiling lights: Specialty Lighting Industries Inc.,

  • Michael Partenio

    Terrace for Entertaining

    “It was one bedroom, then two bedrooms, then two bedrooms with a view,” Cullman says. “And that Central Park view from the new stone terrace is what made this home spectacular.”

    The renovated stone terrace provides a charming spot for the Brodies to entertain. 

    Chairs, dining table (Florentine Classics Star and Dolphin Collection): Kenneth Lynch & Sons,
    Tall stone sculpture (by Ugo Rondinone): Gladstone Gallery,
    Rattan tray (Hapao): owner’s collection.  

  • Michael Partenio

    Lush Living Room

    The view overlooking lush treetops also made Richard and Joann’s preference for green easy to weave into the decorative scheme. The living room and dining room, arranged into one large space with a coffered ceiling to mitigate the intrusion of a structural beam, share soft celery-green walls. For easy visual flow between the two areas, a pair of sofas covered in silk velvet face each other in front of the fireplace, maintaining the clear sight line. 

    Symmetry strikes both areas. The living room shows off pairs of 18th-century gilded mirrors and George III side tables.

    Richard and Joann Brodie are not fans of lamps and prefer overhead fixtures and sconces to illuminate their rooms. Flanking the fireplace, a pair of 18th-century mirrors have attached candle arms. “Had there been lamps on the console tables, the candle-armed mirrors wouldn’t have made sense,” designer Ellie Cullman says. An Isamu Noguchi sculpture rests on the left console table.      

    Wall treatment (custom Venetian stucco): Uriu, LLC,
    Ceiling paint (“Super White” #OC-152); trim paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Chandelier (Russian gilt bronze and cut crystal, c. 1880): D&D Antiques,
    Drapery (“Millennium Damask”/Green, Gold, Pink #QT300.01): Christopher Hyland Inc., 212/688-6121.
    Drapery trim (custom silk tassel trim #TF1013-B): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.
    Drapery hardware (custom bronze metal hardware): Wainlands,
    Area rug (antique Sultanabad): Galerie Shabab,
    Mantel (custom): Chesney’s,
    Artwork over mantel (by Henri Matisse): Pace Gallery,
    Candlesticks on mantel (by Tiffany): Macklowe Gallery,
    Pair of consoles flanking mantel (George III mahogany card tables); mirrors above consoles (George I giltwood pier mirrors); sofa side tables (two-tiered tables with beveled-glass shelves #M3B0293): Mallett,
    Sculpture on left console (by Isamu Noguchi); black sculpture on coffee table (by Alexander Calder); vase holding flowers (18th-century carved white marble urn): Sotheby’s,
    Sofas (custom, “Paley Sofa” #1531): Anthony Lawrence-Belfair,
    Sofa fabric (“Polidoro”/Olivier #4234-31, by Manuel Canovas, colorway discontinued): Cowtan & Tout,
    Lumbar pillow on sofa by window (antique Fortuny); rectangular patterned pillow on sofa by window: David Duncan Antiques,
    Fabric for plain pillow on sofa (“Avery”/Ivory, color 202): Norbar Fabrics,
    Tapestry pillow on right sofa: Antique Textiles Collections,
    Sculpture on right side table (by Kiki Smith): Timothy Taylor,
    Gilded armchair (George III giltwood armchairs): Christie’s,
    Armchair fabric, front (“Palma Velvet”/Gold #8013191.4); armchair fabric, back (“Vendome Strié Silk Velvet”/Gold #BR-81013.LLR): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Coffee table (vintage Philip and Kelvin Laverne): John Salibello,
    Sculpture on right console (by Harry Bertoia); box on right side table (by Yayoi Kusama); carafe on left side table; objects under glass on left side table (small Joseph Cornell boxes): owner’s collection.

  • Michael Partenio

    Verdant Dining Room

    In the dining room, twin 18th-century mahogany commodes offer a distinguished foundation for coordinating contemporary paintings by artist Sean Scully. Crystal chandeliers from 18th-century Russia illuminate both spaces.

    The dining room furniture features 18th-century mahogany commodes, a 19th-century rosewood Regency table, and dining chairs covered in silk green-and-gold fabric. “Richard loves hunting for antique pieces that support a specific period of time,” designer Alyssa Urban says.

    Wall treatment (custom Venetian stucco): Uriu, LLC,
    Ceiling paint (“Super White” #OC-152); trim paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Chandelier (Russian gilt bronze and cut crystal, c. 1880): D&D Antiques,
    Area rug (antique Sultanabad): Galerie Shabab,
    Dining table (Regency rosewood center table, c. 1800); dining chairs (Adam period carved mahogany, late 18th century): Ronald Phillips Ltd.,
    Dining-chair fabric (custom woven silk/Green, Gold): Taffard Fabrics,
    Throw (custom): Paul Renwick Textiles,
    Pair of chests (George III mahogany commodes, c. 1760): Mallett,
    Figure on left chest (18th-century terra-cotta, by Joseph Marin): Blumka Gallery,
    Modernist sculpture on right chest (by Alexander Calder): Lévy Gorvy Gallery,
    Drapery (“Millennium Damask”/Green, Gold, Pink #QT300.01): Christopher Hyland Inc., 212/688-6121.
    Armchair in foreground (George III giltwood armchairs): Christie’s,
    Armchair fabric (“Palma Velvet”/Gold #8013191.4): Brunschwig & Fils,
    Artwork above chests (by Sean Scully); framed artwork on left chest (by Henry Moore); wire sculpture on left chest (by Harry Bertoia); vase on dining table (Majolica); box on right chest; vase on right chest; figure on right chest (Eve a la Pomme, by Aristide Maillol, from Galerie Dina Vierny, Paris): owner’s collection.

  • Michael Partenio

    Rich Den

    The den, encased in rich dark walnut paneling, extends a handsome foundation for a contrasting sofa upholstered in a moss-green velvet damask from Italy. Bookcases display Richard’s finds from antiques shows. “He loves to share his passion for beautiful objects with others,” Urban says. “There’s a joy from explaining the history behind each piece.”

    The walnut-clad den showcases examples of the Brodies’ art and antiques. A Calder mobile hangs above an armchair, and pillows are made from antique textiles with appliqué and embroidery embellishments.

    Paneling: walnut.
    Chandelier (“Giltwood Rococo Chandelier” #CL0082.GI.SE): Vaughan,
    Area rug (custom, silk and wool handwoven rug #BVF045): Beauvais Carpets,
    Sofa (custom, “Scroll-back Bridgewater Sleeper Sofa”): Sterling Upholstery,
    Gold pillows on sofa; green velvet pillows: Antique Textiles Collections,
    Wall sconces (#S-235): Marvin Alexander Inc.,
    Coffee table (vintage, Philip and LaVerne coffee table): 1st Dibs,
    Armchair (George III library armchair, c. 1750): Hyde Park Antiques Ltd.,
    Armchair fabric (“Richelieu”/Bayou Green & Gold #5629): Fortuny,
    Pillow on armchair: Antique Textiles Collections,
    Decorative plates on shelves (16th-century Majolica): antique.
    Black sculpture on bottom shelf (by Kiki Smith): Timothy Taylor,
    Bird sculpture (Chouette, by Picasso); sofa fabric (silk cotton velvet jacquard, Article A 056-Large Floral Medallion, custom color, from Claudal Textiles de Prestige); framed artwork behind sofa (by Robert Motherwell); mobile above armchair (by Alexander Calder): owner’s collection. 

  • Michael Partenio

    Powder Room

    Treated like a jewel box, the powder room dazzles with an eglomise mirror in deep red and gold. Gilded sconces on each side of the mirror add extra ornamentation.   

    Wall treatment (custom glaze): Uriu, LLC,
    Fabrication of vanity cabinet (custom design by architect Jeff Wooley): Peter Cosola Inc., 718/392-4111.
    Vanity countertop: Brescia de Lepri marble.
    Vanity sink (“Gold Reed & Bead Bowl” #76260); faucets (“Classic Elegance Basin Set” #11001): P.E. Guerin,
    Framed mirror (Queen Anne verre eglomise border, early 18th century): Ronald Phillips Ltd.,
    Sconces flanking mirror (Louis XVI gilt bronze lyre-form sconce): D&D Antiques,
    Red vase on vanity (earthenware “Propeller” vase, by Christopher Dresser, manufactured by William Ault & Co., 1890): owner’s collection.  

  • Michael Partenio

    Master Bedroom

    The master bedroom takes a notable departure from the green scheme. Awash in walls covered in buttery-yellow, hand-painted panels, the bedroom glows.

    To coordinate with hand-painted Gracie wallpaper, custom linens by E. Braun & Co. are embroidered with a floral scroll motif

    Wallpaper (“Georgian Cream” #SY-700 on #SY-9Y ground): Gracie Studio,
    Drapery (#26672.14, colorway discontinued): Kravet,
    Drapery trim (custom silk tassel trim #TF1076-99): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.
    Drapery fabrication; bed (custom-shape headboard): Anthony Lawrence-Belfair,
    Drapery hardware (custom, bronze metal hardware): Wainlands,
    Area rug (custom colored silk tweed area rug): Fort Street Studio,
    Ceiling paint (“Super White” #OC-152): Benjamin Moore,
    Mattress and box spring (custom, king): Charles H. Beckley Inc.,
    Bed linens and duvet (“Brocato,” custom color); blanket (“Brilliantine Pique”): E. Braun & Co.,
    Bedside table (Louis XV lacquer commode, stamped Delorme): Bernd Goeckler,
    Swing-arm sconces flanking bed (custom): Marvin Alexander,
    Headboard fabric (“Stoddard”/Tan #36205M-005): -Scalamandré,
    Gold bedspread (“Luxury International Bedspread”/Gold): Frette,
    Sculpture on bedside table (Virgo Lactans, France, 1540): Sam Fogg,
    Upholstered armchair and fabric (antique); flower vase; lion sculpture (from J.M. Bealu & Fils, Paris): owner’s collection.

  • Michael Partenio


    An 18th-century chest at the bedside is embellished with tassel hardware and a marble top.


  • Michael Partenio

    Pretty Corner

    Joann describes the bedroom as “peaceful, elegant, and fresh like a mini castle.” 

    In the master bedroom, an 18th-century Louis XVI gilded armchair wears a grand yellow floral damask fabric. 

  • Michael Partenio

    Dressing Room

    A vanity table hand-painted with a floral design soaks up natural light at the end of the dressing room.

    Paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Hardware on built-in cabinets (“Roped Georgian Knob”/Burnished Brass): Nanz,
    Window shade (#26672.14, colorway discontinued): Kravet,
    Window-shade trim (custom silk tassel trim #TF1076-99): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.
    Vanity table (custom design by Jeff Wooley Architect); fabricated by Peter Cosola Inc., 718/392-4111.
    Vanity finish (custom handpainted floral design): Uriu,LLC,
    Chair at vanity (custom): Anthony Lawrence-Belfair,
    Chair fabric: Holland & Sherry,
    Chair trim (custom sik cord): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.

  • Michael Partenio

    Guest Room

    With the Brodies’ record for switching apartments, nobody knows if another address is on their road ahead. But for now, they are plenty comfortable.

    Rich golds, and the Brodie's pup, Annabelle, welcome in the guest room.

    Wall treatment (custom glazed stencil): Uriu, LLC,
    Trim paint (“White Dove” #OC-17): Benjamin Moore,
    Drapery: custom.
    Drapery trim (“Silk Tassel Trim” #TF1003-2): Passementerie Inc., 212/355-7600.
    Drapery hardware (custom bronze metal hardware): Wainlands,
    Bed (custom): Anthony Lawrence-Belfair,
    Mattress and boxspring (custom, king): Charles H. Beckley Inc.,
    Headboard fabric (“Stoddard”/Tan #36205M-005): Scalamandré,
    Bed linens (“Rafaella,” custom color); blanket (“Brilliantine Piqué): E. Braun & Co.,
    Gold bedspread (“Luxury International Bedspread”/Gold): Frette,
    Wall sconce (custom): Marvin Alexander,
    Bedside table (antique, George III mahogany bedside cupboards): Ronald Phillips Ltd.,
    Sculpture on bedside table (Virgo Lactans, France, 1540): Sam Fogg,
    Art above bedside table: by Sean Scully,
    Art on top shelf of bookshelf (by Michael Goldberg): Michael Rosenfeld Gallery,
    Desk (Regency writing desk): Mallett,
    Lions on desk (by Christophe Fratin, 1860): Univers Du Bronze,
    Black sculpture behind desk: by Clement Meadmore,
    Desk chair (antique, Adam period carved mahogany): Ronald Phillips Ltd.,
    Chair fabric (custom, woven silk): Taffard Fabrics,

  • Michael Partenio


    “This apartment has so much soul,” Richard says. “We’ve used it and have enjoyed it. With our involvement in the art community, this home is a reflection of our passion.”

    Joann and Richard Brodie and their dog, Annabelle. 

  • Designer

    Ellie Cullman’s new book, From Classic to Contemporary (The Monacelli Press), is a lesson in enriching lives with culture and comfort, no matter what your aesthetic.

  • Bruce Buck