That Old, Bright Magic

Photographs by Thomas Loof/Art Department

Art curator David Kaiser had one prerequisite for his apartment hunt: His new home had to have a working fireplace. When he found a one-bedroom in a converted printing- factory building in the West Village, there was a fireplace indeed—but not much else. Kaiser, who had never hired a decorator, knew this undertaking would require a professional eye. “It looked like a rec room in a dorm,” remembers interior designer Miles Redd, who was tasked with transforming the space. Redd and Kaiser shared a Hollywood Regency–style vision, as well as a desire to realize it on a budget. Redd’s specialty, as he puts it, is “turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” plucking pieces from estate sales and auctions, then reimagining them with a fresh coat of paint or snappy new fabric. A reupholstered set of chairs from Doris Duke’s estate in New Jersey, for instance, is paired with a dining table snagged at auction for $400 at Doyle New York. The most dramatic result came when Redd overhauled the existing “iced-tea-colored” wood floorboards with a more glamorous paint job—a marbleized geometric pattern of black, white, and gray. Throughout the six-month project, Redd says, “I just kept thinking of Fred Astaire in Top Hat.”

The doors are painted glossy yellow to offset the neutral walls. The plate above the closet door is from John Rosselli Antiques.The apartment owner, David Kaiser, received the silhouette portrait of himself by artist Karin Spraggs as a gift.Decorative painter Chris Pearson revamped the wood-varnished floors with a blown-up tumble- block pattern for what interior designer Miles Redd calls “a kind of comic-book glamour.” Photograph by Thomas Loof/Art Department

The Living Room
When Redd first saw the apartment, he says it was “just a Sheetrock box from the eighties.” The mantel is a reproduction of one in Doris Duke’s home, and the coffee table was found at auction and painted white. The urns and sconces were designed by Redd and custom-made for the apartment. Photograph by Thomas Loof/Art Department

Living Room
A view of the living room from the front door. Photograph by Thomas Loof/Art Department

Dining Room
Redd found the game chairs at Doris Duke’s estate sale and reupholstered them in new, colorful fabrics. He bought the dining-room table at auction at Doyle, then ebonized the exterior. Only the two front columns of the wood cabinet, which was bought from Sotheby’s and now holds Kaiser’s library, are ebonized. The lamp over the table is from Visual Comfort. “It had an ugly old parchment shade, so we painted it emerald green and silver-leafed the inside,” he says. Photograph by Thomas Loof/Art Department

That Old, Bright Magic