When Melanie and Philippe Zrihen asked interior designer Ghislaine Viñas to create a Tribeca apartment that was modern but also suitable for their three young children, she knew just what to do. “I wanted something really simple and straightforward, but strong and bold,” says Viñas, adding that she hoped to create a gracious backdrop for what can often be a harried lifestyle (Melanie runs the nearby Downtown Dance Factory, and Philippe works in banking). The result is a minimalist interior that, thanks to strong infusions of brilliant color, isn’t the least bit austere.
By adding blasts of bright turquoise in the living room, salmon orange in the TV room, and electric-green stripes in the powder room, the 3,500-square-foot four-bedroom apartment feels lively and playful, despite its pared-down, mostly white shell. However, the biggest surprise of all is the entrance hall, where the ceiling, floor, and walls are painted coal black—creating a dramatic moment of darkness that propels you into the airy, sun-drenched living room. Formerly two separate claustrophobic apartments, which the Zrihens bought in a foreclosure auction, the combined space has been utterly transformed. “I felt like I really needed to give them a lifestyle that was young and easy, clean and modern,” says Viñas. “That’s who they are.”
Illustration by Bernd Schifferdecker.
“We worked with a lot of colors, but black kept coming back into the project,” says Viñas, adding that it took some work to convince the family to coat their entire entryway in the heavy hue. “It’s not a dark space”it’s just a dramatic space.” Photo: Douglas Friedman
To illuminate the dining room, “we did an arrangement of differently shaped shades,” rather than a singular chandelier, says Viñas. The Superman and Gilligan paintings are by Adam Lowenbein. “There’s such a kitsch element to it: If everything is serious-looking, art is where you can throw in the wacky factor,” says Viñas. The chairs recall a flock of sheep”all of them are white, except for a single seat in black. Photo: Douglas Friedman
“We used Ikea cabinetry in the kitchen but put custom doors on top,” says Viñas. Although it wasn’t exactly a low-budget renovation, “we had to figure out how to spend the money wisely.” Photo: Douglas Friedman
The fiery TV room has become a beacon when viewed from street level. “At night, it actually glows a soft, warm orange,” says Viñas. Photo: Douglas Friedman
Viñas’s “fascination with stripes” perks up the powder room. Photo: Douglas Friedman