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Publication Date: 2018-01-03

Behind the Design

Designer to the Rescue: Jordan Carlyle

When he found his duplex apartment in a former printing plant in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood, Jordan Carlyle knew that its awkward proportions and limited light would be a challenge. The solution he devised entailed embracing the dark and enhancing the drama.


The living room's unusually high ceiling, at 15 feet, was both a blessing and a curse. The narrow proportions of the room made the space seem cold and empty. To make it feel cozier, I used one of my favorite chevron grasscloth wallpapers by Phillip Jeffries, which added contrast and texture. I decided on accents of dark gray because when darker shades are used thoughtfully, they add drama and sophistication, and often make a space feel larger. I created a gallery wall, the perfect opportunity to display my collection of artworks. To balance the grand gallery wall, I upholstered the custom sofa in a deep blue velvet. I use strong colors sparingly to highlight specific elements. The living room that once felt very cold and empty has now become my favorite space in the apartment. The light fixture is by Apparatus, the vintage cocktail table is by Paul Evans, and the neoclassical bench is Italian. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

The dining space, or rather lack thereof, was another design obstacle. Its location by the entry was less than ideal, especially given the narrow width of the apartment. After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that a dining table would be senseless, considering I'd never get much use out of it. I instead decided to create another opportunity to display my collection of obelisks and accessories. The sconces are by Apparatus, and the marble-and-brass console table is a custom design. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

The only source of light in the apartment comes from the two 11-foot windows in the living room, and the lack of light in the sleeping loft would be a challenge. The ceilings are concrete, so adding recessed lighting was not an option. My solution was to install sconces on several walls. Then I added a beautiful pair of vintage 1970’s Lucite table lamps. For me, no project would be complete without wallpaper. I knew I wanted to use Fornasetti's Riflesso wallpaper. The simple yet intriguing print seemed like the perfect choice for the headboard wall, creating a dramatic focal point that sets the mood for the entire room. The bed and nightstands are custom designs; the throw is by Martyn Thompson Studio. Photo: Douglas Friedman.


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