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That Old, Bright Magic

Designer Miles Redd transforms a forlorn-looking West Village apartment into a retro-Hollywood-inspired sanctuary with one very creative paint job.

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Photographs by Thomas Loof/Art Department

Art curator David Kaiser had one prerequisite for his apartment hunt: His new home had to have a working fireplace. When he found a one-bedroom in a converted printing- factory building in the West Village, there was a fireplace indeed—but not much else. Kaiser, who had never hired a decorator, knew this undertaking would require a professional eye. “It looked like a rec room in a dorm,” remembers interior designer Miles Redd, who was tasked with transforming the space. Redd and Kaiser shared a Hollywood Regency–style vision, as well as a desire to realize it on a budget. Redd’s specialty, as he puts it, is “turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” plucking pieces from estate sales and auctions, then reimagining them with a fresh coat of paint or snappy new fabric. A reupholstered set of chairs from Doris Duke’s estate in New Jersey, for instance, is paired with a dining table snagged at auction for $400 at Doyle New York. The most dramatic result came when Redd overhauled the existing “iced-tea-colored” wood floorboards with a more glamorous paint job—a marbleized geometric pattern of black, white, and gray. Throughout the six-month project, Redd says, “I just kept thinking of Fred Astaire in Top Hat.”


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