A Lush Wallcovering Brings the Feeling of Nature Into This Tiny New York Apartment

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By Tim McKeough
A Manhattan pied-à-terre provides a homey retreat for Canadians who frequently visit New York.

When Vancouver residents Dale Steele and Dan Nguyen began looking for a pied-à-terre in New York, they were intent on finding a home away from home, not just an impersonal stand-in for a hotel room. "Even though it wouldn’t be our primary residence, we really wanted to have a place that felt like us," says Dale, a physician. "When we saw places, we’d think, yes, we could live here, but it wouldn’t be a home." 

Stadt Architecture’s Christopher Kitterman transformed a generic studio in Chelsea into a bright one-bedroom apartment for Vancouver couple Dale Steele and Dan Nguyen. The living room features a Hans Wegner GE290 lounge chair upholstered in leather by Spinneybeck, a round rug and Cobble Hill Adams sofa from ABC Carpet & Home, a Pedrera coffee table by Gubi, and a Bob side table by Poltrona Frau. An automated lift raises a TV from inside the custom millwork under the window. Acid-etched tempered glass doors lead to the bedroom.

Stadt Architecture’s Christopher Kitterman transformed a generic studio in Chelsea into a bright one-bedroom apartment for Vancouver couple Dale Steele and Dan Nguyen. The living room features a Hans Wegner GE290 lounge chair upholstered in leather by Spinneybeck, a round rug and Cobble Hill Adams sofa from ABC Carpet & Home, a Pedrera coffee table by Gubi, and a Bob side table by Poltrona Frau. An automated lift raises a TV from inside the custom millwork under the window. Acid-etched tempered glass doors lead to the bedroom.

That changed when Dan, a hair stylist who works with runway models during New York Fashion Week and other events, stumbled upon a sunny 585-square-foot studio with a small balcony in Chelsea. The space was tired, with a cramped kitchen and a sleeping area behind a three-quarter-height wall, but, says Dan, "I thought the light was beautiful and the apartment had a lot of potential."

The apartment’s most striking feature is a custom wall and ceiling mural by Calico Wallpaper, inspired by Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The Asher bed is by Rove Concepts, the sconces are Pearl Modern Wall Sculpture by Cedar & Moss, and the bedside tables are from Crate & Barrel. A mohair throw by Bronte Moon falls across Frette linens. 

The apartment’s most striking feature is a custom wall and ceiling mural by Calico Wallpaper, inspired by Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The Asher bed is by Rove Concepts, the sconces are Pearl Modern Wall Sculpture by Cedar & Moss, and the bedside tables are from Crate & Barrel. A mohair throw by Bronte Moon falls across Frette linens. 

After purchasing it in the fall of 2016, the couple tapped Christopher Kitterman of Stadt Architecture for help with the renovation. They had seen Kitterman’s own crisp, space-saving 450-square-foot apartment on dwell.com, and they told him they wanted something very similar. But Kitterman believed he could do even better. "My apartment is nice, but I was on a limited budget and had to value engineer things," he says. "With theirs, we were able to do more bells and whistles."

Shop the Look
Cedar & Moss Pearl Sconce
Cedar & Moss Pearl Sconce
Crafted with heavy gauge exclusive solid brass parts that have beautiful artisan finishes. All fixtures are hand-made to order.
Rove Concepts Asher Bed
Rove Concepts Asher Bed
Asher's seamless joinery and beautiful walnut or ash veneer are inspired by the design of traditional teak Danish mid-century masterpieces. Carefully crafted and delicately sculpted, the frame is beveled with 45 degree edges that fall towards the center, encapsulating the security of the head.
Bronte Moon Mohair Throw - Moss Green
Bronte Moon Mohair Throw - Moss Green
 This Mohair throw is whisper-soft making it a firm favorite with Bronte customers. Available in a wide selection of rich colors to suit any room of the house.
In the bathroom, the vanity and sink are by Duravit. 

In the bathroom, the vanity and sink are by Duravit. 

Kitterman gutted the space to reconfigure it. Because both Dale and Dan love to cook, and were intent on taking advantage of nearby Chelsea Market, the architect opened and significantly expanded the kitchen, adding a large counter topped by Calacatta Gold marble and installing a terrazzo tile floor with marble pieces that match the counter’s creamy tone. He designed millwork to conceal and contain heating and cooling equipment along the window wall. Where the three-quarter-height divider once stood, he put in a full-height wall with ethereal acid-etched glass pocket doors at the center, turning the apartment into a proper one-bedroom. 

Kitterman designed built-ins along one wall of the apartment to hide heating and <br>cooling equipment. The pendant light, dining table, and chairs are all vintage, sourced from Europe and Palm Springs. Herringbone oak floors throughout are by LV Wood.

Kitterman designed built-ins along one wall of the apartment to hide heating and
cooling equipment. The pendant light, dining table, and chairs are all vintage, sourced from Europe and Palm Springs. Herringbone oak floors throughout are by LV Wood.

 "The idea was like an enfilade—being in one space and seeing through to another space and another." 
Dale Steele, resident

The kitchen was significantly enlarged; it includes appliances by GE Monogram and a faucet by Delta.

The kitchen was significantly enlarged; it includes appliances by GE Monogram and a faucet by Delta.

But the most personal, and dramatic, element is the bedroom feature wall and ceiling, where a custom green mural from Calico Wallpaper, inspired by a photo of Vancouver’s lush Stanley Park, transitions to gold leaf overhead. "It’s a play on the canopy bed, which historically often incorporated landscape references," says Kitterman. "It’s something that envelops the room."

The kitchen counters and backsplashes are made of Calacatta Gold marble. The Tolix Marais barstools on the balcony are from Design Within Reach.&nbsp;

The kitchen counters and backsplashes are made of Calacatta Gold marble. The Tolix Marais barstools on the balcony are from Design Within Reach. 

The intervention softens the experience of living in New York’s concrete jungle just enough, says Dan, who had considered installing a living green wall before deciding maintenance would be too much for part-time residents. "We really wanted to bring in elements of the Northwest," he explains. "Now, it truly feels like home." 

The living room cashmere throw is from Crate &amp; Barrel.&nbsp;

The living room cashmere throw is from Crate & Barrel. 

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