Suzanne Lovell Composes a Tranquil Apartment at the St. Regis for a Major Collector
The art-filled residence features remarkable architectural details, a thoughtful curation of fine furniture, and a cool palette of soft neutrals with moments of playfulness and whimsy
The classic idiom about not reinventing the wheel, just realigning it, rarely pertains to great interiors, where designers look to create unique spaces that speak to a homeowner’s individuality. But for Suzanne Lovell, working on a client’s third residence in New York’s famed St. Regis meant revisiting many of the elements that had made their first two projects together so successful. “She already knows that I’m going to go towards preserving the French Beaux-Arts architecture,” the Chicago-based architect and designer tells Galerie. “We’re respecting that and bringing it into a contemporary world.”
After completing two renovations within the building, Lovell approached this project—a combination of two suites—with the same gusto, replacing flooring, lighting, and more to elevate the space to the exacting expectations of a seasoned art collector. “Everything is new,” says Lovell, who reconfigured the floor plan to create three bedrooms with space for an office. “I think the difference that we bring to any project is not only that we have this ability to research and create dialogue for art, but that we’re architects first. I’m always going to be about the architectural finishes.”
After first addressing the structure and the function of the home, Lovell created a cohesive design featuring a neutral palette of black, white, and gray, most strikingly in the glamorous bath that features a bold hexagon-patterned stone floor. (The the remainder of the residence is paved in a classic walnut herringbone.) “We knew that a strong floor was going to be a grounding mechanism in the space,” she explains.
The soft grays of the living room are given dimension through the layers of textures—a sturdy textile on the traditional armchairs and sofa, a wool and silk rug by Oscar Isberian, a sleek glass Baccarat chandelier with pleated silk shades. Pops of color appear in a Hermès folding chair with deep red leather seat, a pair of custom Frank Pollaro dining chairs upholstered in a rich peacock-color Hermès fabric, a work on paper by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a Roy Lichtenstein lithograph entitled Reflections on The Scream (1990). “In a holistic way, we were thinking about the balance of the artwork and the floor, about the balance of the color and materials,” says Lovell. “We’d be working on the balance of color in three dimensions and asking how do we bring warm and cool colors together to give confidence and comfort inside the space.”
A similar aesthetic carries over into the study, where another Hermès Pippa folding arm chair is coupled with the atelier’s Metiers desk by Enzo Mari, both featuring a cherry-red leather. In this room, another Baccarat chandelier features gleaming bursts of red, while a cashmere rug by Oscar Isberian provides luxury underfoot. A ghostly work by Key-Sook Geum (one of several pieces by the Korean-born artist featured in the client’s collection) dances between Jouffre drapes. “The quietness of that as a background was appropriate for someone who is very fashionable,” says Lovell. “The subtle sophistication was the most important.”
In the serene main bedroom, the muted tones take an elegant turn when paired with a jet black Baccarat chandelier and high-gloss bedside tables topped with a set of sculptural lamps. A pair of cast-bronze Liaigre benches is surmounted by an Irving Penn photograph. Just beyond the door, a plaster work entitled Little Ida by Charles Calverley was one of the collaboration’s moments of serendipity: Lovell discovered it an art fair and immediately texted her client to expound its virtues only to learn the homeowner had already purchased the piece.
The home’s strongest color moment happens in a bedroom conceived for the homeowner’s daughter. The walls, sheathed a romantic seashell pink, are echoed in a painting by Hiroyuki Matsuura, a sculptural work by Kristine Mays, and a custom chandelier that features a cluster of handblown glass orbs in white and gray but also red, orange, black, and gold. The client has a custom rug featuring a map of Milan in one of her other St. Regis residences, so the designer selected a handmade one by Hokanson for this space that features the Land of Oz.
“There’s a consistency—you still feel like you’re in the same house,” says Lovell. “There are threads that follow through. It’s a sophisticated, large pied-à-terre in New York City—you’ve got to have a little fun.”
By Jill Sieracki for Galerie
Photography by Richard Powers