A Beaux Arts landmark building in New York City that has operated as a bank for more than 70 years offered beautiful potential— but converting it into a sophisticated living space took more than pleasing architecture.
When a 30-something entrepreneur sought interior designer Gideon Mendelson’s help in transforming his newly purchased apartment in the Apple Bank Building—a designated historic landmark with condos on the upper floors—the designer knew what the space needed.
The generously sized bachelor pad had great bones—including soaring ceilings and large windows—which gave the apartment a sense of grandeur. Still, it didn’t quite feel like home to its owner.
“Even though it was a new renovation, the space was lacking in layering,” Mendelson says. “We decided to kick it up a notch with the millwork, and we gave it a major cosmetic overhaul.”
His client was apprehensive about too much color, so Mendelson kept the palette mostly neutral, incorporating pops of fresh blues and greens throughout, while limiting bolder color choices to transient spaces like the foyer and halls. “It was really about moving the color through the space in a controlled way,” he says.
An azure blue fabric wall covering by Maya Romanoff lends texture and vibrancy.
Mendelson and his team set out to enhance the architecture of the space, replacing the baseboards, adding moldings, and gutting the kitchen and baths. “I wanted this space to feel very masculine and handsome but also luxurious and exciting,” says Mendelson.
Gideon Mendelson’s confident mix of old and new is evident in his furniture choices. The combination of traditional silhouettes with midcentury pieces and contemporary art reflects the way in which he infuses modernity into a traditional setting. In the living room, a custom sectional grounds the space while providing a solution to the room’s unusual layout. The sofa’s tufts add textural interest while the floating furniture plan and mix of seating create an inviting atmosphere.
A silk Roman shade is combined with floor-to-ceiling curtains to emphasize the height of the room. Turquoise welting adds a pop of color to a neutral sofa from Donghia.
The third bedroom was transformed into an office/library.
When it came to sourcing decorative inspiration, Mendelson didn’t have to look farther than the building itself. The bank’s historic architectural details influenced elements like the mosaic flooring in the kitchen and the trompe l’oeil foyer door inspired by the bank vaults.
Dark maple cabinetry contrasts with walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. The bank's historic architectural details influenced elements like the kitchen's mosaic floors. The varying heights of the upper cabinets are a departure from the norm. “We could have extended the cabinets all the way up, but it would have felt static,” says Mendelson. “This way is much more interesting.”
Large windows, original to the building, add a sense of grandeur to the space. “The windows are what really makes this whole apartment,” Mendelson says.
Mendelson’s litmus test for what makes a space special is if it moves him in a way that makes his eyes open up a bit more and his heart beat a little faster. This sophisticated and dynamic bachelor pad does just that.
“This dining space is formal and informal at the same time,” says Mendelson. A chandelier of Murano glass found during a trip to Italy helps focus the area, which is open to the living room. Chairs in an apple green Edelman leather feature hardware pulls inspired by classic English design.
The large rosewood table is a custom design by the Mendelson Group.
“This room is a complicated study of neural texture and layering." says Mendelson of the powder room. "It’s the kind of room in which you notice something new each time you enter."
The custom bed features a headboard upholstered in a floral fabric from Osborne & Little. Mendelson installed panel molding on the wall below the ceiling, creating a frieze, which he upholstered in a metallic wall covering from Maya Romanoff.
A large inset mirror helps open up the master bath. The tile pattern was inspired by photos of an old gymnasium.
Mendelson carried the varying shades of blue and green into the guest room with the vibrant Sam Glankoff painting, the bedding, and the window treatment. Mocha brown painted trim emphasizes the architecture of the room, while the dramatic London shade highlights the oversized window.
The walls, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Wythe Blue, provide a strong sense of color, nicely balancing the room’s neutral furnishings and accessories.
Designer Gideon Mendelson's five tips of the trade:
- A room isn’t just four walls—don’t forget ceilings and floors.
- Spread color around a space in small doses. Use the same hue on throw pillows in one room, the ceiling in another, and on the walls in yet another. It will keep your eye moving.
- Create architectural interest using wallpapers and moldings to change the scale of a room and draw your eye up.
- Don’t be afraid to do something whimsical. Try painting the back of a door a funky color to make a statement.
- Don’t match, just mix!
Photography: Eric Piasecki