While he was selling his old townhouse—and renovating a new one—New York interior designer Steven Gambrel moved into an 800-square-foot one-bedroom apartment directly above his West Village office. “It was my one-year pied-à-terre,” says Gambrel, who recently moved out and began renting the apartment to a couple. “I wanted to create a refined-yet-rugged environment, where all the materials are honest, humble, and authentic.” His palette of textural finishes includes end-grain wood flooring, rough-coat plaster walls, and dark-gray wood-plank ceilings to create a backdrop inspired by an early-twentieth-century factory.
It’s something of a departure from Gambrel’s more extravagant interiors for New York’s elite in more ways than one. Known for his mastery of color, Gambrel decided to stick with muted hues for this apartment because “a lot of color would have been too luxurious.” For furniture, he cobbled together an assortment of his favorite pieces from his previous home and storage space. “I wanted it to feel more like a collection of pieces and less like a decorated environment, which is not always the way I would proceed with a space,” he says. “It’s a very quiet environment that seems underdesigned. It just felt right for this place and time.”
Illustration by Bernd Schifferdecker.
“The furnishings are items that I’ve collected,” says Gambrel. “I like the idea of pulling together my favorite pieces in one place.” The bronze horses are by the sculptor Elizabeth Guarisco. The lamps are vintage from the fifties. The throw is from the luxury-textile company Alta Pampa. Photo: Eric Piasecki
The root coffee table may look rustic, but Gambrel insists it’s perfect for a sophisticated, urban apartment. “It’s rare and refined,” he says. “An ancient piece of wood that’s been discovered and preserved.” Photo: Eric Piasecki
“The sides of the stone countertops are chiseled to look like cut marks, and the hardware is slightly exaggerated in scale,” says Gambrel. The hardware is from a vintage shop in Belgium. Photo: Eric Piasecki