After Betty Saks and her husband, Bart Kavanaugh— a financial consultant and an insurance-company owner, respectively—decided the 74th floor of the Time Warner Center was the perfect spot to build a 3,900-square-foot pied-à-terre, they dutifully agreed to interview some interior designers recommended by friends. But Saks was not impressed. “The first person I interviewed said to me, ‘I am doing color this year, and these are the colors I am doing.’ ” Orange and pink, to be precise. “And I said, ‘Well, thank you very much, but I am the client and I want it to look like me.’ ” The designer who got it was Christopher Coleman, whose first meeting with Saks was in a coffee shop, where she showed him her preferred palette of deep blue and royal purple. Betty and Bart’s style (which may, in the final analysis, be more Betty’s than Bart’s) is characterized by tropical color and a love of patterns. In St. Thomas, one of their primary residences, their house glows from the water in hues of teal, purple, and blue.
Their vision for the apartment wasn’t just about colors and dots, however. It included nine flat-screen TVs, hundreds of thousands of dollars in entertainment equipment, and an unusual accommodation for Buttons and Zipper, the couple’s West Highland terriers. Three doggy doors were cut into the walls, so that Buttons and Zipper could have free rein even when their owners’ doors are closed. “A lot of contractor conversation over this,” Betty admits. “They thought we were crazy altogether.”
What do you consider too much?
SAKS: “I don’t like lots of stuff around. I like clean, so the colors and shapes speak for themselves.”
Biggest risk in the apartment?
SAKS: “I don’t think of anything here as a risk. If you do what you like, and you have some guidance for consistency and dimension, how wrong can you go?”
KAVANAUGH: “The one risk Betty did take was the kitchen. She was worried about the optics. The contractor thought he was tripping after two days in there with nothing but the wallpaper.”
SAKS: “The architect who inspired me to do a lot is Antonio Gaudí. I made Bart take me to every single thing he did when we went to Barcelona. He always epitomized design with fun and whimsy.”