Even if Cohler hadn't been family, his expertise as an architectural designer could have snagged him the job. The Park Avenue apartment required structural changes to enhance both aesthetics and function. Cohler made the art pop with such architectural tweaks as opening up the boxed-in stairwell to free premium floor space for a folk-art weather vane. Raising the low-slung doors to 8 feet, then topping them with molding, added character notoriously absent in the city's postwar construction. But the most gratifying, if sobering, change was to make the apartment future-friendly for his mom, should the dynamic skier and world traveler ever opt to embrace caution.
"My mom insisted this was her last move. Since she moved from our childhood home, she's downscaled to a 10-room apartment, then to eight rooms, and now to five," observes Cohler. "She was adamant that this is it!"