Inside 6 Homes That Prove Traditional Interior Design and Modern Style Really Do Go Together

Inside 6 Homes That Prove Traditional Interior Design and Modern Style Really Do Go Together

“We’ll just fix it up a little bit.” That’s what Ashley Stark Kenner thought when she and husband Nick, founder and CEO of Just Salad, bought a town house on New York’s Upper East Side to make room for their growing family. The landmarked 19th-century building had a lot going for it—generous dimensions, a deep backyard, and, a rarity among town houses, lots of light. But at their first meeting with New York–based Lichten Architects, talk quickly shifted to “gut renovation.”

“The façade was the only thing that stayed,” Kenner says now, three years later. “For a while, we didn’t have a roof. We didn’t have a floor. We dug out the basement, we added a top floor, we added terraces. If I showed you the before and after, you’d be like, ‘What?’”

As the senior vice president of design and creative director at the eight-decades-old textile titan Stark, she knew exactly what she wanted. And with a totally clean slate, she didn’t have to compromise. “I had a vision, and I stuck with it,” says Kenner, calling her aesthetic “laid-back, organic, beachy, a little bit French.”

Working closely with Kenner, architects Andrew Friedman and Kevin Lichten created a floor plan that functioned for family life and, as Friedman explains, “felt loftlike and modern but still like a traditional town house.” That sensibility extended to the decor, spearheaded by New York firm Aman & Meeks (with a heavy hand from Kenner herself). —Hannah Martin

The formal living room was designed as the setting for the owners’ frequent gatherings, so Huh spared no expense furnishing the space. Starting from the custom-designed pomegranate-patterned rug, Huh built up a rich but cheerful palette of pale oranges, peaches, and soft pinks. Furniture-wise, she blended eras, matching pieces like Art Deco Dedar-upholstered Bergère chairs from Karl Kemp with a vintage blown glass Murano chandelier and an ancient Greek terra-cotta standing Aphrodite, which looks over the custom sofa with fabric by Brunschwig and Fils.

Photo: Jacob Snavely

When two born-and-bred West Coasters relocated to New York, their goal was to bring the sunny atmosphere of a life lived close to the Pacific along with them. To stave off homesickness and stay true to their roots, they turned to New York–based designer Young Huh to inject breezy California vibes into one of the most unlikely of places: a high-rise towering over one of Manhattan’s most prized locales—Central Park. “Since the clients were relocating, they asked that I keep the design very light, bright, and airy,” Huh says of the couple, who moved in order to accommodate the husband’s job in finance.” The end result? A handsome Park Avenue pad that perfectly blends California spirit with a dose of New York drama.

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