Prewar apartments in Manhattan—with their high ceilings, generously sized rooms, and decorative period details—are undeniably alluring to residents and their designers alike. So when Lucy Doswell’s clients handed her the keys to their new Upper East Side home, it was like hitting the interior design jackpot.
“I really appreciated that, although they’d done some rooms, they didn’t want to box me in and gave me the freedom to come up with something fun—and we had such great bones to work with,” explains Doswell, whose eponymous design firm has offices in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina. “Originally the apartment had been finished in very neutral tones and was totally one note throughout, but they were ready to make it interesting.”
The couple—busy professionals with two teenage children—bought the approximately 5,000-square-foot apartment from its previous owners, who’d lived there for over half a century, and immediately hired Kinlin Rutherfurd Architects to update the floor plan to fit their lifestyle. “I believe it was a classic—and somewhat linear—14-room apartment before they combined some spaces,” Doswell explains of the unit’s original layout in the 1931 building.
Situated on the 11th floor—with incredible views of the East River—the now four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom apartment remained a blank canvas, and after the renovations were complete and the family moved in, the designer was given carte blanche to transform every space in the expansive property. “Although they’d painted the walls and even put some wallpaper up, they were very open to making any changes that would bring color and life into the home.” Known for her layered approach to design and ability to mix elements from all periods, Doswell delivered on her promise to give this dynamic and active family a home that reflects their sophisticated urban sensibilities. To see how, click through below.