A Gut Renovation Transforms a Tiny Manhattan Apartment

A 400-square-foot Upper East Side apartment gets a new look.
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Not long ago, James Davison and his wife, Fanny Abbes, left lucrative careers in finance to start a company, the New Project Group, that rents out designed, furnished apartments in New York City. More recently, the pair parlayed Abbes’ degree from Parsons the New School for Design into a subsidiary interior-design venture that they are calling the New Design Project.

A parallelogram-shaped window pane, rescued from an architectural salvage yard, was outfitted with steel edges and casters, and repurposed as a coffee table. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

For one of their first projects, they were approached by a young couple who had just bought their first apartment, a cramped, uninviting space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. "They bought it back in October or November, and it didn’t have much going for it; it needed a complete overhaul," Davison says. "So they asked us to come in and gut-renovate it. So we ripped out the kitchen, ripped out the bathroom, and gave it a complete cosmetic makeover."

All of the artwork was created by the New Design Project. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

Click through the slideshow to see more.

Abbes and Davison removed drywall to expose the brick on one wall in the living room. "As we began to expose that brick, we found the old metal framing that they used to use," Daivson says. "They used to stick chicken-mesh wire on it and put plaster on top. When we exposed the brick, we found this metal detail and decided to keep it." Photo by Alan Gastelum.

"In the kitchen, we changed the layout," Davison says. "It was a galley kitchen, extending lengthways into the room. We spun it back along the back wall. The tiles are Moroccan concrete tiles that came from a supplier here in Manhattan. The idea was to inject some color and playfulness into the space with the blue cabinetry." Photo by Alan Gastelum.

A geographic lime-green tile pattern was incorporated into the bathroom to complement the sink, which was found in an architectural salvage yard and retains its original color. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

The nightstands were fashioned from concrete blocks that were rescued from the street outside the building. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

The cantilevered shelving in the bedroom was fashioned from vintage metal panels that were purchased online, Davison says. Photo by Alan Gastelum.

Another view of the master bedroom shows more original artwork by the New Design Project. Photo by Alan Gastelum.


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