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Publication Date: 2017-11-20

Behind the Design

Designer to the Rescue: Richard Mishaan

Using his signature sleight of hand, Manhattan designer Richard Mishaan transforms a tall and narrow townhouse living room into a serene and surprisingly spacious retreat.

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The sofa is upholstered in a Rogers & Goffigon mohair velvet, and the curved settee is covered in a Zoffany velvet; the slipper chairs are by Nancy Corzine, the cocktail table is by Homer, and the light fixture is from Bernd Goeckler.

The challenge with the living room of this New York City townhouse was its proportions—it is only 19 feet wide. And its very high ceilings could also have distorted the scale of the room. On top of that, we were asked to incorporate some beautiful furniture items that had belonged to the client's mother.

The club chairs are upholstered in a Travers fabric, the benches by Homer are covered in a Holly Hunt leather, the side table is by Lorin Marsh, and the Art Deco cabinet is vintage; the custom rug is by Tai Ping.

Our solution was both spatial and textural. We created two seating arrangements within the same room. This not only makes the room feel cozier, but also creates a nice flow and makes the space look larger than it actually is. And because white is a color that allows a room to breathe, we used it as the unifying hue throughout. We painted the walls a creamy white, then chose a purer shade for the ceiling. We also used different shades of white on the furniture, but in a mix of fabrics and textures, and for the silk rug we designed. The variety of these textures and shades, playing off the rich glossy brown of the wood furniture, makes the room feel luxurious and layered—not like the modernist, sterile environment of so many white rooms. The result was a huge success, and you would never know any of the challenges had ever existed.

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