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The Top 100 Architects & Decorators


Sm - W

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects

305 Canal Street (212-966-3875)
This smart husband-and-wife design team has been turning out sharp modern masterpieces for almost two decades. Their work incorporates industrial design -- wheeled walls, glass-and-steel staircases -- in an elegant, urbane manner. Clients: Arnold and Pamela Lehman, Murray Moss, Joe and Wendi Rose

Matthew Patrick Smyth

12 West 57th Street, Suite 704 (212-333-5353)
The future of New York décor is in the hands of up-and-comers like Smyth, who is working in a traditional, full-blown style for clients who like their rooms arranged to the last detail. This serious approach is leavened with witty, unusual touches -- "The colors I saw on a trip to Cambodia seem to be surfacing in recent schemes." Clients: Tony Korner, Richard Kalikow

Alison Spear, AIA

131 East 70th Street (800-500-9948)
"The mood of my projects is first and foremost based on client needs," Spear says, rattling off the usual needs: "glamour, style, comfort, fun, art." Spear's sleek style -- white boxes with a mix of color, custom furnishings, industrial objects, and well-chosen antiques -- travels well (she jets between Miami and New York offices). "It all goes together if the editing is right." Clients: Francis Ford Coppola, Jay McInerney

Specht Harpman

338 West 39th Street, tenth floor (212-239-1150)
Scott Specht and Louise Harpman do innovative, forward-thinking work with crisp edges, clever cabinetry, and elegant experiments in inexpensive and industrial materials. Houses have a loftlike feel, with a light palette and lots of empty space. Clients: Ang Lee, James Schamus

Robert A.M. Stern Architects

460 West 34th Street (212-967-5100)
Stern is the architect of dream houses -- typically, the dream is of another decade, if not another century. He populates the Hamptons with Shingle-style manses and the Upper East Side with twenty-first-century prewar buildings. As he says, "No two houses are alike, just as no two clients are alike." Detail, charm, and all the modern conveniences. Clients: Michael Eisner

Studio JTA

432 Austin Place, second floor, the Bronx (718-742-6791)
"African-American influences in color, texture, pattern, and sound elevate the design I learned in Western academic institutions," says architect Jack Travis, who believes the merger of the modern and the "tribal" in his work opens infinite possibilities. Concentrated color is a particular passion, from terra-cotta to "Caribbean" blues and greens, spread over spaces with a rough, textured aesthetic in stone, wood and metal. Clients: Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes

Studio Sofield Inc.

380 Lafayette Street (212-473-1300)
Old-world comforts get a radical modern update from William Sofield, who creates rooms that have the excitement of the runway and the elegance of mid-century modern. Metal hardware can be as carefully detailed as jewelry; leather upholstery is studded or in fashion-forward white; and he mines his inspirations: "natural materials that get patina over time, bright tangerine, and the Pool Room at the Four Seasons." Clients: Ralph Lauren, Nathan Lane, Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg

Tsao & McKown

20 Vandam Street, tenth floor (212-337-3800)
The partners practice a sophisticated, masculine modernism, of marble showers, open gas fireplaces (the most copied feature in town), and stainless-steel kitchens. Their color palette comes from the spice world, their taste in furniture from the comfort-counts seventies. No bean bags, though -- think amoeboid chairs in cashmere. Clients: Ian Schrager, Josie Natori


158 Lafayette Street, second floor (212-966-8815)
Partners Clarissa Richardson and Heidar Sadeki act as if the swinging sixties had never ended, with punchy furniture and environments that combine hot colors and smooth, flowing surfaces. The designers of Bliss, they are also expert in the maxi-bathroom -- his and hers tubs, steam rooms, two-way glass. "One client rented a Hamptons house but never used it," the duo note. "They didn't want to leave their townhouse in the city." Clients: Marcia Kilgore

Alan Wanzenberg

211 West 61st Street (212-489-7840)
Wanzenberg combines the best of the architect's and the decorator's sensibilities. His rooms have a librarylike feel, with warm lighting, simple shapes, and the textures of leather and wood.

Michael Watson Architect

66 West 38th Street (212-221-6936)
Watson shines in tricky urban renovation projects, incorporating original architectural elements into modern, practical interiors. Clients also love his low-key, detail-oriented personality. Clients: Alan Pakula, Sidney Lumet

Bunny Williams

306 East 61st Street (212-207-4040)
A thorough traditionalist, who worked for the legendary Sister Parish before starting her own firm, Williams has the history of neoclassical decorating firmly in her head. Whether you want country comfort -- like her own Connecticut living room -- or formal Georgian elegance, Williams can make magic, intuiting whatever you need.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien & Associates

222 Central Park South (212-582-2385)
Williams and Tsien's projects change moods with the changing light, which appears not through windows but through gaps between sharply cut walls of exquisite materials: bronze, fiberglass, glazed brick, or the smoothest concrete. True urbanites, they can cleverly fit life's necessities into tight spaces -- a lap pool below a townhouse, for example -- without sacrificing serenity. Clients: Jerry Speyer

Vicente Wolf Associates

333 West 39th Street, tenth floor (212-465-0590)
A master of restraint. Wolf's interiors typically have a light palette, strictly edited to highlight the furnishings, which gives his rooms a distinctive linear quality. The sensuous appears via luxurious materials and pieces picked up on Wolf's travels. "I take a global point of view, blending different periods and cultures, seeking a mood that is peaceful, calm and user-friendly." Clients: Clive Davis, Ralph Pucci, David Copperfield


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