Disalvo Contracting
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Left: Marino Marini's Horse and Rider sculpture from 1952 makes as powerful a statement in the foyer as the large piece of art by Sterling Ruby. The dark- walnut-stained 5 1/2-inch rift-cut oak plank floor is from LV Wood. Right: Widened doorways and a raised ceiling create a gallery feeling in the foyer, where a Jean Dubuffet painting is centered above a midcentury Harvey Probber bench. The Isamu Noguchi sculpture is from 1947.

For interior designer Nina Wexler, rebooting the four bedroom 6,100-square-foot apartment to a more minimal style was the perfect job. “My philosophy always has been 'less is more.'” she says. "To me, a home should not only reflect the values of the people who live there, but it should serve as a backdrop to the personalities that embody it." Throughout, the vibe is calming. "Life is hectic," the wife says. "So, the need for calm and serenity inside our home was a priority."

Without altering the layout, Wexler worked with longtime friend and architect Mark Stumer, as well as general contractor Vincent DiSalvo, to modernize the interiors, creating spaces that would allow current and future art to breathe and be celebrated. "We wanted to create a loft-like feeling," Wexler explains. Respecting the apartments great bones, they began to edit. Most of the Moldings were stripped and replaced, and door widths were beefed up to 7 feet and heights raised to 9 1/2 feet. In addition, vaulted ceilings were eliminated.

Other cosmetic do-overs instantly shifted the tone. In the living room, Stumer says the original fireplace mantel was more detailed, higher in the wall, more of a statement piece."
A George Baselitz painting in a gilt frame is a strong anchor between the windows of the living room. The sofa is from Profiles and is covered in fabric from Romo, while the carpet is Doris Leslie Blau.

In its place now is a minimal surround in pristine white onyx, so as not to draw attention from the starring art. Likewise, the media room fireplace is nearly visible—a slot in a blackened-steel surround, centered below an op-art light sculpture. Other thoughtful alterations include changes in window pockets, removing moldings so everything is flush. "It's a much more contemporary look," Stumer says.

New lighting is perhaps the most significant installation, an elaborate fiber-optic system configured to adapt to rearranging art that required removal of the entire ceiling. "The lighting is pure white," Stumer says, "most of it specific to the the art. We didn't need to be worried about lining up heads. It's not a symmetrical design." Wexler also specified plenty of table and floor lamps throughout. "Lighting is so important to a home, with different layers," she says. "It's another way to add warmth, embrace a room."

With a revolving art collection, the designer knew it was essential for the palette to stay neutral. From soft offwhite to greige, the range is soothing, enhanced by tactile, sensual play with textiles such as bouclé, leather and Mongolian lamb. There are mohair- and suede-clad walls "for richness and character," Wexler says, and lacquers for "dimension and luster."

Furnishings are commodious, designed with entertaining in mind. "Prior to the renovation," the wife says, "there were several seating areas in the living room. But guests tend to congregate together, so we did a central seating zone." Two 8-foot sofas, a pair of chairs and an upholstered bench are arranged conversationally around a custom glass-steel-and-wood table set on what Wexler describes as a whimsically patterned rug.
Der Morgenthau Plan by Anslem Kiefer dominates one wall of the dining room: the acrylic emulsion oil and shellac painting was done directly on the canvas over photographs that the artist took on his property in southern France.
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