In a former Catholic boys' school in Gothic style now houses this beautiful '555 WEA' residence where interior designer Charlie Ferrer fills the gap between the classical and the modern. Combining a creative vision with technical acuity, his studio FERRER always creates precisely produced and timeless design with an eclectic and vintage touch.
The '555 West End Ave' complex dating from 1908 was a private school. The Gothic building was designed by William A. Boring, the American architect best known for his work on the Ellis Island immigration station in New York. Now, there are thirteen unique residences located in a luxury establishment by architect Cary Tamarkin. You are welcomed into a warm lobby with travertine floors and walls, marble pillars and oak panelling. The same sophisticated exclusive look can be found in the residences themselves, of which Ferrer designed one. The apartments in the building were inspired by the functionality, elegant details and grace of those from the early 20th century designed by the legendary architects Rosario Candela and James Carpenter. You'll find the same classic elements such as graceful entrance halls, walk-in closets, staff rooms and so on. The huge windows and high ceilings provide tons of natural light and an extraordinary loft feeling. A real honour and a nice challenge to decorate a home in one of the most exclusive residential buildings on the Upper West Side. And according to Imagicasa, Charlie Ferrer has passed this task with flying colours.
A timeless design with an eclectic and vintage touch
Who did you design the apartment for?
“A young couple with a growing interest in design and decorative arts that also enjoys sharing their home with friends and family.”
Did the existing architecture influence your design?
“The architectural shell has a great deal of integrity. The simplified classical detailing that runs throughout is an ideal background on which to build an interior story. The volumes, proportions and flow of the rooms make it feel less like an apartment and more like a home. A home that bridges the gap between the classical and the modern.” How would you describe the final result of the ‘555 WEA’ project?
“A healthy range of shapes, textures, colours that respects the historical context of the building, achieving a level of grandness while keeping the vibe liveable, fresh and chic.”
What was the clients’ brief? How did you incorporate their wishes and style in the design?
“The objective was to reboot the idea of the classic uptown lifestyle and to make it more attune to a modern way of living. A conversation among interesting design and art was also appealing to them, the idea of a ‘collected’ home. Collected and considered but not too precious, decorated or over-designed. The use of vintage pieces in the newly renovated spaces softens and warms them, giving the apartment an inviting nonchalance.” What was the most challenging and what the most fun?
“The biggest challenge of this project was the expedited timescale. The clients required installation within eight months when, normally, a job of this scope would require fourteen to eighteen months to develop and produce. In order to deliver everything so fast, they had to grant me a high level of autonomy, once the overall concept was approved, to make decisions on their behalf. There was a great deal of trust! Trust is always a key ingredient to success in my work. The most fun was seeing my vision for this home realised almost instantly.”
“Art is an integral part of all my projects.”
What colour and material palette did you use?
“The world outside is intense. So an interior should inspire peace and quiet. That is why I used a soft palette of muted blues, greens and creams and a hard palette of organic textures that channel nature in an ordered and tranquil way. Occasional moments of orange, red and purple inject an extra punch.” The grey sofa with silver in the living room really catches the eye. Who is it from?
“That is a vintage piece by Kappa from the seventies, namely the ‘Slipper Chair’ with stainless steel side panels. I upholstered it myself with a nubby wool fabric from Rogers & Goffigon. I really love this chair! I have two for sale. The silvery blue sofa in the corner of the living room is vintage as well and complements it perfectly. It is the ‘Triennale’ model by Marco Zanuso from the sixties. Its architectural curve wraps that corner perfectly.”
You also used art. Why and can you name some pieces?
“Art is an integral part of all my projects. It is an essential layer. I love using large works like the Ricaro Hoseguera photograph in the dining area and the Marco Lorenzetto painting above the large sofa in the living room.”
The full article and interview can be found in Imagicasa Autumn 2019. You can buy this issue in stores or on our webshop.
All images © Joshua McHugh