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A vibey New York apartment offers playful and bold design

With this scene-stealing, playful yet elevated apartment in Manhattan’s vibey West Chelsea, interior designer Justin Charette channels bold colours and New York’s contemporary art capital

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By Lisa Abdellah | January 26, 2023 | Interiors

The moment one steps into the foyer of this residence, the wallpaper itself serves as art. A Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa design packs a graphic punch and sets the tone for the homeowners’ favourite colour palette: shades of blue, from electric to lulling. The homeowners, Bella and Elio Boyd, a couple, both South African entrepreneurs in their thirties, moved to Manhattan and fell in love with this 232-square-metre full-floor space, private yet ‘close to the area’s happening scene, its nightlife, galleries and restaurants,’ they say.

The passageway is boldly covered by wallpaper from Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

The couple had just clothes and suitcases and needed to be in the apartment within 90 days. The project would involve starting from scratch, painting the entire home, sourcing brand new furniture, and even removing a wall – a tight deadline that would scare off most designers. Not native New Yorker Justin Charette, whom the homeowners appointed to execute it for his direct nature, discerning eye and can-do attitude. They asked him to infuse his style into their space – serenity, restraint, layered minimalism – while injecting colour, texture and pattern. ‘A clean, modern aesthetic often calls for neutral palettes, so I was excited to delve into colour,’ says Justin.

The artwork in this main bedroom is by Aschely Vaughan Cone Photograph: Sean Litchfield

Fun pops of blue are incorporated throughout most of this home, in the wall coverings – midnight and pale blues – the navy velvet sectional sofa in the living room, shades of sky blue in the guest bedroom, accessories and art. Through careful repetition, Justin achieved a subtle sense of cohesion, breaking up the blues with white, grey, and black accents and hints of orange for warmth. ‘In the main bedroom, in particular, I wanted to bring the green tones of The Highline, a landscaped urban park viewed from the window,’ he says. ‘This was an opportunity to take a break from blue to avoid being too thematic.’

The four seater dining room features a round table with curved chairs, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

The neighbouring galleries inspired Justin’s bold choice of artwork. ‘I needed to give the art room to breathe, drawing attention and creating interest,’ he says. The designer incorporated large-scale pieces to balance the expansive windows. This included a print of polo players wearing cobalt-blue swimming caps by Roger Camp from New York-based Robin Rice Gallery in the living room, which is fresh, young and unexpected. And an artwork by Tyler Guinn in the dining room, tying all the colours of the neighbouring rooms together and adding texture.

The guest bedroom is in monochromatic blues to tie into the guest bathroom and living spaces, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

Justin gravitated towards bouclés, velvets, metals and stone. ‘The clients wanted the space to feel elevated and elegant while also keeping things low-maintenance,’ he says. The result is a finely edited environment, where natural materials are celebrated and comfort is always top of mind.

An open plan kitchen works well in an apartment when space is limited, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

The stand alone bathtub features city views, Photograph: Sean Litchfield