The Disciplinarian: As a decorator, Ghaleb has learned, you have to be very strict about getting clients to throw things away—but you also have to figure out how to reorganize the things they simply won’t part with. In the case of one recent job—for a writer and his editor wife—Ghaleb confronted a house where books were overwhelming the furniture: a disparate mix of black leather couches and Scandinavian pieces. She put all the volumes on one big shelf along the longest wall, a simple solution that her clients, living for so long with the space the way it was, had somehow never visualized.
The Gentle Overhauler: Trainer David Kirsch’s clients would no doubt have been shocked at the way he lived in his large Fifth Avenue studio: like a college student, with boxes everywhere and colored sheets masquerading as slipcovers. He wanted the apartment to grow up. Penelope Irwin quickly divided the space into more discrete spaces (a large table, rather than the boxes, now separates the bed area from the living room). But experience has taught her that even when clients ask for a complete renovation, they want to move back into something familiar. Her “turn-key” approach to a job means that when Kirsch walked into his redone apartment for the first time, his clothes were hanging in new closets and his favorite foods were stocked in the new cupboards.
The Mixer: Jaklitsch—who’s designed more than twenty Marc Jacobs stores—is very good at cool modernism, but he’s also come to recognize that many residential clients say they want something modern, but don’t actually want to live in chilly perfection. So, for his home designs, he specializes in a well-edited mix of austerity and warmth. For a West 12th Street basement kitchen, Jaklitsch contrasted the room’s exposed wood beams with rough textured wooden cabinetry and a stainless-steel backsplash.
The Loft Carver: Architect Kikoski and his wife live in Barnett Newman’s old painting-studio loft—whose light, from eleven windows, is its best feature—but they had a new baby and needed to create more private space. Instead of throwing up walls, Kikoski, known for his work with lofts, designed a system of five massive panels of prismatic glass that slide on curving tracks set into the floor and ceiling. The five-by-ten-foot panels let sunlight penetrate deep within each room but are not see-through.