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Publication Date: 2014-02-11

House Tours

Manhattan Apartment with Elegant British Style

Could there be a more life-changing move than one from a stately home on London’s leafy Hampstead Heath to a condo on New York’s Upper West Side? That little jolt of corporate reality is exactly what Lynn Eichenberger faced a few years ago when her banker husband, Stephen, was transferred back to the United States after 10 happy, child-rearing years in England. London had become home for Lynn. So the mission for architect James Wagman and interior designer Celerie Kemble was as much psychological as physical—they needed to transform an architecturally ordinary duplex on the 21st floor of a Depression-era tower into a place with the kind of Old World character and grace their homesick client had grown accustomed to.

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

In the large living room, Wagman raised the room height to a majestic 13 feet by removing a 1960s dropped ceiling. Kemble promptly covered the expanse of walls in an ethereal pale aqua silk. “I think silk creates an emotional response,” she says.

“The walls are more of a fog than a dead end; they’re more mood than flat color.”

The living room is divided into two well-appointed seating areas—one for more formal affairs with two sofas separated by a delicate glass coffee table, plus two French-style bergères upholstered in sage green. The opposite end of the room accommodates comfy club chairs that swivel to face a television hidden behind a sliding panel in a built-in bookshelf. A bold-textured rug unifies the room while also quietly stealing the scene.

“The pile and pattern of this rug remind me of the maze at Hampton Court Palace,” says Lynn happily. “But my husband teases Celerie that next time we visit London we’ll have to find an antique Oriental rug for the living room. Her eyes get very wide, and she says, ‘NO!’ ”

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

At every opportunity, Kemble and Wagman chose beautifully crafted traditional design, then punched it up with joyful hits of the unexpected. Take the dining room’s striking green walls. “We definitely had some back-and-forth about that color,” laughs Kemble, “James and Lynn weren’t high on painting the whole room—moldings included—in the same dark color. It sounded crazy to them.” Wagman admits, “We did fight Celerie tooth and nail over that dining room lacquer. In retrospect it was foolish, because now it’s the nicest room in the house.”

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

The breakfast nook’s vintage Murano glass chandelier inspired the room’s blue-and-white palette. A custom curved bench covered in a Clarence House toile is Lynn’s favorite spot for morning tea.

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

A sleeper sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams turns the wood-paneled library into a makeshift guest room when needed. The area rug from Merida lightens the space.

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

The master bedroom is a soft buttery yellow cocoon of silk upholstered walls—a treatment Lynn really wanted. “I think it’s a very comfortable kind of thing in a bedroom,” she says, “like something you’d see in a great hotel.”

An Art Deco-style archway references the building’s pre-war architecture and adds charm to the space. Draperies, headboard, and bed skirt are fashioned from a striped fabric from Pierre Frey.

Photography: Pieter Estersohn and John Bessler

The raspberry and kelly-green bedroom is set aside for visits from Lynn’s two grown daughters. “I’m from Palm Beach, so pink and green come easily to me,” Kemble notes, “and this palette makes the girls’ room fun and fresh and different from the rest of the house.” Bookshelf interiors are painted green, a touch Kemble says brings order to the colorful chaos of books.

To see more of this stylish home, visit Traditional Home's website.

Written by Lisa Cregan

Produced by Jenny Bradley

Architect: James Wagman, James Wagman Architect, LLC, 277 Broadway, Suite 1201, New York, NY 10007; 212/337-9649,

Interior design: Celerie Kemble, Kemble Interiors, 224 W. 30th St., 13th Floor, New York, NY 10001; 212/675-9576,


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