Meg Sharpe has a knack for reimagining historical buildings—her out-of-the-box designs have transformed many an old New York landmark into a buzzy restaurant, from Bill’s Townhouse to the erstwhile Lion. So when a Manhattan power couple approached Sharpe about updating their 1920s Upper East Side Maisonette, she was more than up for the challenge.
Her clients asked Sharpe to open up space in the Maisonette and to revive some of its original details, which had been lost behind layers of drywall.
The resulting space, with its soaring ceilings and soft ivory walls, feels airy and contemporary while retaining much of its old New York flair, thanks to panelling and moulding throughout, and an ornate original fireplace which she was able to preserve in the master bedroom design.
In the living room, for example, curved armchairs by French designer Pierre Yovanovitch flank a crisp-edged formal fireplace, while the wife’s master bath pairs an angular mirror with a bulbous vanity.
In the luxury dining room, where the Maisonette owners regularly host large parties, spherical glass bulbs dangle above a custom 18-person ebonized-oak table.
Because the wife loves colour and art, the interior designer did not shy away from bold gestures. The husband’s den is panelled in deep green, while the wife’s master bath features pale pink tiles that somehow manage to feel both retro and elegant. Jewel-like light fixtures abound throughout, maintaining a sense of playfulness.
The breakfast room, with its square shape and awkwardly placed window, presented Sharpe with her greatest design challenge on this Maisonette. But instead of panicking, she decided to build around the room’s limitations, using curved cabinetry to add dimension and depth.
The gleaming finish, applied using several layers of oils and waxes, makes the room feel as if it’s undulating when it catches the light.
“It was sort of an experiment,” says the interior designer, regarding the Maisonette renovation. “I was lucky enough to have a client that trusted me and said let’s go for it, and what came out in the end exceeded everyone’s expectations.”