The Top 100 Architects & Decorators

Pierce Allen
Photo: Fernando Bengoechea

Whether you long for comfy crushed velvet or gleaming stainless steel, our metropolis has a designer who is right for your apartment. Here, our definitive list of the city’s top interior talents, their signature looks, and their most well-known clients. Bear in mind: You won’t find some of New York’s biggest draws – Philip Johnson, David Rockwell – in the following pages, largely because their focus is outside the home (call them, however, if you’ve got a fabulous restaurant or museum to build). What you will find is a range of home-design legends and up-and-comers, each of them ready to help you rethink how you live.

A - Be

132 Spring Street (212-966-4700)
Thomas O’Brien has a sense of personal style so refined it can be broken down into its constituent parts: dark woods, pale colors, elemental lighting, and modern furniture (by himself and others) in sleek, subtly textured materials. His current passion? “This high-gloss epoxy paint I’m using in my new Bellport house. It has a wonderful vintage-yet-modern quality.” Clients: Giorgio Armani, Ralph and Ricky Lauren

225 Lafayette Street, Suite 205 (212-431-4456)
M. Nasser Ahari adds a romantic flavor to modern rooms, using handmade cast metal, his own sconces, and bronze tiles. An 1850s townhouse, for example, was retrofitted with shoji screens in the bedroom and an adjustable dining table that can be raised for pancakes, lowered for sushi. Plain spaces are roughed up with interesting objects, many from Asia, some from Africa. Clients: Abigail Disney, Robert Kelly

21 West 16th Street, Garden Level (646-230-7222)
Principal Courtney Sloane’s style is bold and high-tech, to suit the electronic needs of her entertainment-industry clientele. But she mixes the heavy metals – “copper in any form” – with a softer, seventies spatial sense (like conversation pits) and an array of Asian and African touches. “We always include ethnic accessories and artworks from other cultures, and mix them with cutting-edge, contemporary art.” Clients: Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Queen Latifah

111 Mercer Street (212-226-0303)
Architect Winka Dubbeldam will soon be known for her 497 Greenwich Street condo project, an eleven-story building with a horizontally rippling glass façade. Dubbeldam’s houses and apartments also favor the avant-garde: A globetrotting bachelor got a blue concrete tub rising out of the floor, a suburban couple a house like a continuous corridor, with cul-de-sacs for eating, sleeping, and working. Clients: Frederique Van Der Wal, Steve Saks

180 Varick Street (212-675-1870)
The work of partners Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky moves beyond modern via adventures in materials: laser-cut stainless steel, leather floors, a translucent beeswax partition in a home. “Our work uses carefully studied details, materials, and light to create intimacy and warmth.”

159 West 25th Street (212-727-0282)
Light practically bounces around a Bananto-designed apartment, reflecting from tin ceiling to polished floor. “My color palette is generally neutral” – white walls, creamy Bolon carpets – “with a spare use of objectified color”: fifties furniture in sharp reds and blues. Clients: Alyssa Gursky and Nunzio Tarantino

500 Park Avenue (212-838-9443)
Clients praise Barman for injecting contemporary glamour into traditional architecture; beneath his classic, tailored exterior beats the heart of an extreme modernist. The designer himself says he takes a “twenty-first-century approach” to the upscale apartment, “luxurious and infused with vibrant color.” Clients: Wynton Marsalis, Bryant Gumbel, Leonard and Allison Stern

525 Broadway, Suite 701 (212-226-8796)
Bengur is a maximalist, known for extravagant combinations of textiles old and new. “The more you can design a space with one-of-a-kind objects, the better,” she says, and she’s willing to do the legwork to find vintage fabrics and objects. All this without sacrificing family-friendly comforts or room for elegant entertaining. Clients: John and Sarah Duerden, Thomas Leddy, Mark O’Donnell and Jim Allman

211 West 19th Street (212-229-9211)
Berke describes her ethos as “simple, elegant, understated … subtle, luxurious, thoughtful,” and that about sums it up. Sometimes the warm Shaker, sometimes the cool urbanist, she creates rooms out of slabs of golden wood, luminous plaster, and striated limestone. Clients: Fabien Baron, William Wegman, Jennifer Bartlett

The Top 100
  • A-Be
  • Bi-C
  • D-E
  • F-G
  • H-J
  • K-Mc
  • Me-P
  • R-Si
  • Sm-W

Bi - C

330 East 59th Street, sixth floor (212-308-4888)
Jeffrey Bilhuber appears to be simultaneously channeling Billy Baldwin, Jean-Michel Frank, and Andy Warhol. In other words: bright, bold, big looks: “the very best representations of cultures past mix seamlessly within an optimistic, contemporary envelope.” Clients: Randolph Duke, Anna Wintour, Peter Jennings, Iman and David Bowie

44 East 67th Street (212-288-8379)
Boardman has moved away from the chintz, fuss, and trim that once characterized Upper East Side decorating and toward an elegant, comfortable Georgian style based on high-impact wall colors and natural-hued upholstery. She emphasizes climate, client preference, and context. Clients: Pepe and Emilia Fanjul, Carroll Petrie

167 East 80th Street (212-249-4920)
A self-described “color freak,” Brandolini doesn’t shy away from pattern, either, applying vibrant block-printed fabrics to walls, windows, upholstery. “I use colors boldly, because I believe it to be paramount in creating a place where people can be happy,” she says. And the enterprising designer has three lines: fabrics, home furnishings, and clothing. Clients: Matt and Annette Lauer, Christopher and Pia Getty, Pavlos and Marie-Chantal of Greece

1925 Seventh Avenue, No. 8M (212-678-6872)
Bridges’s taste runs to the natural, unusual, and minimal – classic pale rooms that frame exceptional furniture finds. “I bring the outdoors inside with trays of grass, stones, and shells,” she says, continuing the theme with sisal rugs and raw silks in bleached, beachy colors. Bridges is currently working on her own TV show, to air in January on the new Fine Living channel. Clients: Bill Clinton, Peter Norton, Tom Clancy

136 East 57th Street, Suite 701 (212-752-9870)
Britt, no wallflower, knows the power of a great room, enhancing the grandeur of prewar spaces (or finding the beauty in an ordinary apartment) via oversize furnishings, plush fabrics, mirrors, and marble. “I take a large-scale, clean-cut approach whether it be classical or contemporary,” he says. “I like texture and solid colors in clear, bright tones.” Britt cuts the opulence with the addition of Indian rugs or quirky objects from his travels. Clients: The Raj Mata of Jaipur, Ambassador Charles Price, Seymour Milstein

120 East 80th Street (212-988-6811)
The ultimate Buatta room, according to its creator, has “an undecorated look – like it fell into place over a client’s lifetime.” Known for his love of chintz, Buatta orchestrates prints better than anyone, layering stripes, florals, needlepoint rugs, and chinoiserie. “It’s traditional for today – a combination of the best of the past and the best of today’s upholstery and reproductions.” Clients: Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Malcolm Forbes

670 Broadway (212-780-5300)
Clodagh’s bold, environmentally conscious approach to design doesn’t skimp on the details. She’s known for stone sinks, concrete floors, and hand-loomed textiles, but all that – and the feng shui, too – comes after some major client bonding. “It’s almost like working as a travel guide,” she says, “bringing people to where they want to be now, gazing into the future to help them visualize how their place might look in ten years.” Clients: Robert Redford, Mo Vaughn, Sylvia Rhone

70 Washington Street, Suite 1005, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-222-8984)
Coleman’s interiors are fresh, bright, and family-friendly, with exceptional kids’ rooms, built-in storage, and a great use of color – these days, he’s leaning toward “colored resin, anodized colored metals, and embroidery on fabrics, especially in shades of purple, red, and orange.” Clients: Kate Betts, Jane Henson, Sylvester Stallone

69 Mercer Street (212-463-7177)
Couturier’s projects, whether Mexican estates or Manhattan apartments, are “clear, light, spacious, and comfortable, with fantasy and humor,” he says. He mixes balanced, logical layouts with elaborate combinations of antique and contemporary furniture and patterned fabrics. “I love green and blue together. Or reds. I love hot-color spaces. And all textures.” Clients: Sir James Goldsmith, Amy Fine Collins, Andrew Solomon

150 East 72nd Street, Suite 2C (212-717-9317)
De Cabrol’s talent is to make rooms look as if they’ve always been in the family, via comfortable antiques, rich colors, and always a nook in which to curl up and read. “My concept is ‘happy to be at home,’ ” De Cabrol explains. “I like to have a little bit of every culture, like a melting pot.” Clients: Patricia Morrisroe, Jeffrey Toobin, Gale Hayman

D - E
Drake Design Associates
Photo: Courtesy of Drake Design

945 Pacific Street, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-789-2919)
“Though our work tends to be modern and spare, we don’t shy away from experimenting with bold materials and strong color,” says Perla Delson. Oriental rugs and upholstered furniture also warm up the brownstones and apartments renovated by this five-year-old Brooklyn partnership. Clients: Bruce Weber

111 East 56th Street (212-759-1969)
Technology permitting, Robert Denning would happily return to the nineteenth century. Since he can’t, he devotes himself to re-creating – with international mixes of opulent furniture – the sumptuous interiors of his favorite era, using damask, silks, and taffetas. Clients: Jean Vanderbilt, Oscar de la Renta, Henry Kissinger

10 Harrison Street (212-334-9444)
Despont is no shrinking violet – his dream client is the pope – but for a price, he’ll re-create all the custom-made, ballroom-size drama of an Italian palazzo, French château, or Deco ocean liner. A master of spectacle and size, Despont is perfect for would-be barons. Clients: Bill and Melinda Gates, Mickey Drexler, Calvin Klein

270 Lafayette Street (212-966-8892)
American traditional decorating is William Diamond and Anthony Baratta’s terrain, with every room steeped in color and pattern-on-pattern layers. Not for the pastel at heart, but a bold and unique point of view.

49 West 38th Street, Floor 12A (917-342-0060)
Joan Gould Dineen and Craig Nealy streamline cluttered interiors with elegant storage walls, opening rooms so that public and private areas flow into one another for maximum space and light. “We respond to the bones of the residence and work from there,” Dineen says, using some of their favorite materials: ebony, resin, Plexiglas, and stainless steel. Clients: Wayne Maser, Sarah Jane Hoare

325 West 38th Street, Suite 1101 (212-760-0537)
Donovan puts a twist on the traditional interior, with an innovative approach to color and arrangements that can make the most mundane space pop. He chooses furniture (European and catalogue) with clean lines and clear shapes, happily juxtaposing proportion, texture, and hue. “My style is like all-American sportswear: traditional with a twist.” Clients: Karen and Eric Freeman, Jennifer Bruder

315 East 62nd Street (212-754-3099)
Put it this way: Jamie Drake is good enough for Mike Bloomberg. Fittingly, Drake is known for striking mixes of genres, periods, and cultures, just like the city he and the mayor call home. Current favorites include metal meshes in copper and steel, intricately patterned marble floors, and rugs. Clients: Mayor Bloomberg, Amanda Urban and Ken Auletta, Madonna

72 Spring Street, seventh floor (212-334-3820)
A recent partnership of greats. David Anthony Easton brings a stellar reputation, both for sumptuous country homes and for apartments, and a charming sense of humor. Charlotte Moss also designs with a countrified eye, mixing flea-market finds with great antiques. An inveterate traveler, Moss likes to build libraries and help design gardens for select clients. Clients: Patricia Kluge, Carroll Petrie

435 Hudson Street (212-645-1011)
Juergen Riehm and David Piscuskas have created pockets of modness all over the city. Fond of curvy corners and dramatic lighting effects, they stick to a palette of cool glassy blues and shiny whites, giving their projects a retro-futuristic feel. Clients: Jasper Johns, David Byrne, Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson, Willem Dafoe

526 West 26th Street, Suite 821 (212-989-0652)
The bright mix of cheap-chic Ikea and blue-chip Knoll in Robin Elmslie Osler’s own home is a small taste of the calm, colorful, wide-open spaces she creates for her clients. She designs for low maintenance and high visual impact. Clients: Isabella Rossellini

F - G

95 Christopher Street (212-620-0655)
Formica has a penchant for mid-century design that never veers into camp, given his editorial eye and willingness to go far afield – or at least to the flea markets of Paris – to find his clients the best of the postwar masters. “I’m a modernist,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand luxury, comfort, warmth. There isn’t necessarily a lot of stuff, but it is luxurious and inviting.” Clients: Bette Midler, Robert Eiger

82 East 10th Street (212-358-1411)
This pair delivers tailored luxury for powerful professionals who want an apartment that works as hard as they do: polished public rooms with cozy personal areas tucked away. “Nothing is more boring than sameness; we love contrast,” say Tom Fox and Joe Nahem, who are known for well-organized layouts, durable, kid-friendly designs, and zero attitude. Their current palette is a mix of warm and cool: white lacquer, hand-plastered walls, bronze versus stainless steel. Clients: David Cone

181 Hudson Street, Suite 2D (212-925-0847)
Favorites of the fashion crowd, up-and-comers West Chin and Roseann Repetti can carve dramatic, sculptural spaces out of the most plain-vanilla apartment. They aim to keep rooms from being “too cold or too cluttered,” using white as a base and “a touch of color like red.” Clients: Shalom Harlow, Christy Turlington, Amber Valetta, François Nars, Michael Thompson

665 Broadway, Suite 706 (212-388-1700)
Michael Gabellini’s pale, refined interiors can just as easily put clothes, objects, or people center stage. Often working within landmarked buildings, Gabellini creates womblike rooms with white walls, recessed lighting, and suspended ceilings – sort of like a minimalist heaven. Clients: Jil Sander, Linda Dresner, Donna Karan

225 Lafayette Street, Suite 601 (212-925-3380)
Steven Gambrel is known for slick sheets of color: cobalt lacquer, ebonized floors. His taste in furniture matches the surfaces, with strong shapes arranged for minimal fuss. The only thing you need is the square-footage to handle all that muscle. Clients: Liz Lange, Michael and Lisa Schultz

36 East 22nd Street, eighth floor (212-228-9880)
Gissler works in a classical-yet-modern idiom, balancing rooms with lighting and woodwork before he starts adding color (“earthy, muted, calm”) or furniture (“antiques that have a sculptural presence”). Gissler’s clients are often art dealers or collectors, as he’s willing to let the art command the room. Clients: Michael Kors, Caroline Hirsch, Seth Abraham

250 Hudson Street, tenth floor (212-929-0100)
Richard Gluckman practically invented the Chelsea aesthetic: cleaned-up industrial spaces bathed in natural light, which make great showcases for contemporary art. On the domestic front, he adds tactile materials, striking staircases, even a whimsical outdoor shower, but maintains the discipline. Clients: Marianne Boesky, Philippa de Menil and Heiner Friedrich

504 East 74th Street (212-288-6856)
Mariette Himes Gomez is a modern classicist who creates fresh and unpretentious spaces. “I try to pare each room down to the basics,” she says. And basic does not equal bland: “Even the mildest of rooms deserve a shot of color; when used in moderation, cobalt blue, burnt orange, and red can supply just the right punch.” Clients: Harrison Ford, Ivan Reitman

137 Varick Street (212-229-1199)
“A house is a psychic diagram of the family,” Gorlin says. Which means, in this uncertain age, home as sanctuary, built of materials native to the site, and fitted with wide windows to take in the view. Trained as a modernist, he cites Vermeer as one of the inspirations for his serene spaces. Clients: S.I. Newhouse, Ed Hayes

210 Eleventh Avenue, Suite 502 (212-929-5221)
Groves’s beautiful, thoughtful style makes for oases of calm in the busy city. Working with ecru paint, ebony-stained wood, and stainless steel, he crafts interiors with a place for everything, and not a rough edge in sight. Clients: Barbara Benenson Warren, James and Jennifer Cacioppo

475 Tenth Avenue (212-947-1240)
Charles Gwathmey’s apartments are based around a series of simple shapes – walls that curve out for a breakfast nook, in for a fireplace; stairs that pop from the wall like a small building. His materials, a list reduced over a long career, include Venetian plaster, stainless steel, maybe a warm rosewood. And he has a willingness to take on the difficult: “Constraints,” he says, “are opportunities for invention.” Clients: Ron Meyer, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Dell, David Geffen

H - J
Hariri & Hariri Architecture
Photo: Carlos Emilio

24 East 64th Street (212-888-7979)
The capo of the Upper East Side decorating world, Hadley always goes for clean lines and classical proportions, whatever the profusion of pattern and pillows. Strong-colored walls, edgings in metal, built-in bookcases, and crisp trim make his rooms feel like capsules of comfort. “New for the sake of new is never a prerequisite,” he says, “but it can add freshness and luster to a project.” Clients: Brooke Astor, Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Al and Tipper Gore

654 Madison Avenue (212-888-1178)
Hagan is known for graceful, flattering rooms, warm lighting, and pale tones, and for picking the one piece of art that will pull it all together. Her mantra? “Keep things comfortable, livable, with an elegant simplicity.” Clients: Barry Sonnenfeld, Ronald Perelman

654 Madison Avenue (212-753-4110)
Hampton’s daughter Alexa is carrying on her late father’s elegant tradition: interiors for high-profile clients with a classic European flavor, great attention to detail, and an apparently inheritable eye for color. An excellent watercolorist, she also has her father’s charming habit of painting portraits of her completed projects. Clients: Susan Burden, Teresa Heinz

18 East 12th Street (212-727-0338)
An interior by sisters Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri has the feeling of an excavation, however high the floor. The sisters install sculptural fireplaces, cantilevered steps, and floating shelves, keeping their work close to the walls to leave clear, quiet spaces for their clients to fill. Clients: Craig Robins, Stephen and Rebecca Schiff

50 Warren Street (212-587-1108)
Harris is a shape-shifter. While always maintaining impeccable modern credentials – “I’m inspired by William Wurster, Paul Dupré Lafon, and the gardens of Roberto Burle Marx” – he’s willing to be pushed toward flamboyance (in a playpen of a townhouse) or beigy luxury (in a Palm Springs–worthy beach villa). Clients: John Leguizamo, John Berendt

136 East 57th Street, Suite 702 (212-832-3810)
Hawks gives clients a luxurious, livable room, using soothing colors and a fantastic array of accessories – embroidered pillows, paintings, and textiles. Her inspirations have a touch of the East: “I look to Japan for color, pattern, simple lines and lessons in contrast.” Clients: Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Candice Bergen and Marshall Rose, Michael Ovitz

90 West Broadway (212-571-1234)
“We are modernists with an appreciation of history,” says Hayes, whose furniture collection for Donghia reflects that best-of-both-worlds sensibility. His interiors are always sharp and sensible, but he flits happily between periods, finding something to appreciate in every century. “Lately, I am inspired by English country houses and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French furniture, but things change. Next week it may be Renaissance gardens.” Clients: Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Thomas L. Friedman

450 West 31st Street, eleventh floor (212-629-7262)
Holl’s busy practice takes him all over the world. But he’s also designed local homes that are miniature versions of the dynamic, luminous, sculptural spaces he provides for institutions. He likes to play with surfaces, indenting walls, cutting windows for specific views or a particular shadow, never sticking with a rectilinear box. Clients: Herbert Liaunig, Janet Odgis

327 East 58th Street (212-888-6000)
Though its favorite material is English chintz – “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” – this 45-year-old firm recently brought in partner Jason Bell to add some youth appeal to their classical interiors, which are “edited for the twenty-first century, and hopefully without a ‘decorated’ stamp,” as Bell puts it. Clients: Wendy Vanderbilt, Steven and Cynthia Brill, Jamee and Peter Gregory

136 East 57th Street, No. 1704 (212-838-9080)
Known for his museum-curator knowledge (and basketball-player height), Jayne designs interiors with space enough to admire fine eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiques, colorfully upholstered, without sacrificing client comfort. A beach house gets cotton carpets, a sixties apartment a gallerylike array of modern art. Clients: Julia Reed

504 East 74th Street, fourth floor (212-570-4470)
“There is a celebration of the hand in our work – fabrics and finishes that feel luxurious to the touch,” Jordan says. His firm helps clients identify their dream, and then gives them a perfected version of it: “By every chair there’s a reading light and a place to put a drink,” whether the home is Mediterranean or Arts and Crafts. Clients: Blaine and Robert Trump, Ashley Judd

K - Mc

27 West 24th Street (212-414-0001)
Formerly with Parish-Hadley, Klein has translated that firm’s elegance into a younger idiom, working from his love of natural materials and knowledge of art and architecture. He respects his clients’ lifestyles (which have ranged from Gulfstream-mogul to bohemian), and his civilized interiors always come with a sense of fun. Clients: Caroline Kennedy and Ed Schlossberg, Robert Rosenkranz and Alexandra Munroe, Doug Kramer

330 East 59th Street, fifth floor (212-754-9500)
Offering Balenciaga-quality details to the Park Avenue–Newport–Litchfield set, Kleinberg’s firm creates tailored interiors with lush textures and interesting juxtapositions of period and modern luxuries. Kleinberg likes the lines of eighteenth-century furniture but will update a room with bold woven-leather textiles or subtle bleached woods. Clients: Scott Rudin, Jessye Norman

153 East 60th Street (212-759-1212)
Langham’s ideal house is a nineteenth-century British villa, foursquare outside and bursting with color and cozy comfort within. He tends to pick a hue per room: Red walls lead to cranberry stripes to a cherry glass vase. The result is not overkill but a rainbow. Clients: Jacqueline Onassis

12 West 27th Street (212-686-6300)
Leff is hired for her ability to re-create many eras and moods, taking into consideration “architectural concepts of light, proportion, cleanness” and hitting her favorite notes: “wonderful woods and veneers, and objects from the twenties to the forties.” Clients: Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Tom Cruise, Barry Diller

225 East 21st Street (212-982-7089)
Ling worked for I. M. Pei before opening his own firm, and his interiors reflect Pei’s skyscraper gestures. Ling might cut a pond in a concrete floor, or cantilever a bridge from bedroom to study, turning a narrow house into a floating world. “I like to use everyday materials in unusual applications, so you do a double take: ‘Hey, isn’t that the same stuff I saw in aisle 4 at Home Depot?’ “ Clients: Alberta Ferretti, Monique Knowlton, Aaliyah

152 West 88th Street (212-874-0773)
Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea have a great track record, beloved by clients for their lean, layered interiors – uncluttered spaces, light tones, and practical arrangements, with exotic surprises like Fauve paintings and Greek antiquities. Clients: Barbara Warner

125 East 81st Street (212-249-4466)
Mica Ertegun’s work, with and without her late partner Chessy Rayner, is a model of uptown simplicity: sculptural, neutral furniture, from many times and places, arranged so that each piece has room to breathe but no element is isolated. There’s no fussiness, only a modern feeling in prewar spaces. Clients: Bill Blass, Carolyne Roehm, Arnold Scaasi, Carly Simon

150 East 58th Street (212-752-5444)
Marino can go minimal (“I like bleached wood walls, black or white floors”), as in his designs for the Armani stores, but his natural tendency seems to be opulently modern: his own double-height salon, say, with marble columns and an intarsia floor. His clients have the luxury of made-to-order spaces, furniture, fabrics, fireplaces in unified muted tones. Clients: Yves Saint Laurent, Bernard Arnault, the Aga Khan

1414 Sixth Avenue, Suite 404 (212-308-7600)
Trained at Parish-Hadley, McCarthy is one of a flock of decorators with a fresh take on the colored walls, classical structures, and prints that were that firm’s signature. He has an eye for accessories, modern and vintage, and is considered excellent company. Clients: Robert and Maria Tuttle, David Dangoor, Alexander Roepers

155 East 56th Street, fifth floor (212-753-5600)
Designer Betty Sherrill leads this legendary firm, the last bastion of old-money taste since Parish-Hadley closed its doors. “We lean toward natural materials, rich textures, and a wide range of color palettes,” the firm’s Louis A. Rey says, “and we always keep in mind that we’re designing for the client and not for ourselves.” Clients: Carl Icahn, Robert Zoellner, Thomas Harris

Me - P

475 Tenth Avenue (212-967-6060)
Honed over a more than 30-year career, Meier’s delicate spaces are showcases for views and art, carefully sited and crisply detailed. “I like to create environments that are uncluttered and soothing,” he says. The longtime New Yorker recently claimed a prime piece of real estate with the apartment towers at 173–176 Perry Street – Nicole Kidman just bought a spot there. Clients: Bill Joy

115 Mercer Street, third floor (212-625-1446)
Eric Liftin enjoys pushing his limits: “I like active environments that encourage investigation and experimentation.” His intelligent designs for folding, rolling, and light-emitting walls allow him to create flexible rooms with a space-age feel. Clients: Karl Sims and Pattie Maes, Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan

150 East 58th Street, 22nd floor (212-223-7502)
Mishaan works with the eye-catching shapes and smooth edges of the great twentieth-century French designers, surrounding all that good taste with eclectic vintage objects and bright, savvy contemporary-art pieces. Clients: Jacqueline Krueger, Tiffany Dubin

368 Broadway, Suite 504 (212-587-6340)
This young architect is fast making his name via budget-conscious, clever renovations and redecorations of brownstones and apartments. “In general, my style is classic, not dated,” he says, “elegant but still fun.” Mitchell’s enthusiasm is infectious – as are his whimsical, functional kitchen and bathroom designs. Clients: Gordon Chambers, Meredith Marshall, Roger Black

29 East 69th Street (212-628-0097)
“My sense of classicism is consistent,” says Molyneux. “It has nothing to do with the pedigree of the furniture. It has to do with how things relate to each other.” He orchestrates spare, geometric spaces, articulated with art and architectural detail, deepened with old-world finishes like lacquer, scagliola, and verre eglomise. Clients: Richard Feigen, Dolores Smithies

330 East 59th Street (212-421-2400)
Light, lean, and Scandinavian are Montoya’s watchwords, though, as he says, “I never repeat myself.” The designer eschews the dark and carved in favor of the antiques of the recent past, placing pieces by Jean-Michel Frank and his ilk in modernist arrangements, letting the slim, sculptural furniture breathe. Clients: Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Fernando Botero

150 West 28th Street, Suite 1102 (212-989-9300)
David Mann has a very quiet, almost scholarly intensity that he focuses on arranging the practical aspects of his clients’ lives into exquisite modern vignettes. He set up a single mother, for example, with a home office on one wall of her living room, with slots for every last pencil and disk, and a beautiful curtain that hides the whole works in an instant. Clients: Ruby and Lofton Holder, Joyce and Tim Shavers

270 Lafayette Street (212-343-7415)
A Park Avenue native, Netto offers décor by and for Bright Young Things: young, jet-set couples ready for grown-up homes. “You have to tell a story, get into character to add to – but not distort – who your clients are,” he says. Netto makes savvy mixes of eighteenth-century reproductions with real antiques, shiny white lacquer with matte sand-blasted oak. Clients: Eliza Reed Bolen, Mark and Renee Rockefeller

75 Spring Street (212-343-9709)
Noriega-Ortiz’s palette tends to the celestial – silver, white, aqua – though the objects in his constellation are as likely to come from eBay as from a tony antiques shop. He pulls together beads and Biedermeier, curves and crisp edges, via clever color choices and a bit of humor. “I have grown fond of acrylic, feathers, and crystal, which I have been using lately to give sparkle to my interiors,” he notes. Clients: Lenny Kravitz, Laura Esquivel

80 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1602 (212-627-5440)
Architect Michael Pierce and designer DD Allen make an energetic team, injecting projects large and small with “tight plans, relaxed furniture, color on walls, and a balance on luxury and simplicity in fabric and materials.” Accustomed to movie-star budgets, Allen still likes to scavenge, adding textiles that range from burlap to silk. Clients: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ann Tenenbaum, Matthew Marks

152 Madison Avenue, Suite 900 (212-779-3835)
Simplicity is Platt’s mantra, a modern (not minimal) aesthetic. “With the stresses of the city, we provide an unstylized and quiet home environment,” he says. The discerning may note a classical sense of proportion, but Platt’s balanced rooms typically have a contemporary feel, thanks to “metal, Lucite, resin, and lots of natural woods.” Clients: Al Pacino, Meg Ryan, Russell Simmons

R - Si
Miles Redd
Photo: Fernando Bengoechea

300 Elizabeth Street (212-995-1922)
Known for exuberant color, usually in the form of paint, Redd has freshened up blah kitchens with a coat of Tiffany blue, tacky floors with two-tone patterns borrowed from classical Greece. Though his painting technique works for small budgets, Redd’s taste in furniture (like his choice of colors) is traditional, and travels uptown with ease. Clients: The Frelinghuysen family

1239 Broadway, Suite 1604 (212-779-9080)
“I like each room in a house to have a wow factor,” Ridder says, whether it is an unusual texture (horsehair for walls) or color (bright lacquered floors). Currently she’s in an Oscar de la Renta mood: Luxurious materials turn into leather tiles; folk-art inspirations like peasant embroidery show up in overscaled wall stencils. Clients: Timothy Collins, Ann Harrison and Vicente Madrigal

315 West 39th Street, Suite 1101 (212-643-8140)
Ridless and associate Beth Martell add a fantasy element to crisp, classical interiors, working in a touch of Morocco, for example, or a Gaudí flair. Ridless is currently developing a fabric and rug collection that highlights a few of his favorite things: taffeta, cat-scratched velvet, embroidered jute. Clients: Terry Lundgren

119 West 23rd Street (212-989-8429)
Romualdez seems to have a direct line to such early-twentieth-century greats as Sir Edwin Lutyens and Jean-Michel Frank, but he wears his architectural knowledge gracefully. His interiors might pair his own designs with eighteenth-century Swedish pieces, setting a scene that is timeless, refined, and unpretentious. Clients: Matt and Annette Lauer, Marina Rust, Tory Burch, James De Givenchy

41 Union Square West, Studio 1036 (212-741-3380)
Young talents Alysa Weinstein and Bella Zakarian don’t turn up their noses at modest budgets or square-footage. Problem solvers par excellence, they will work with what a client already owns, editing, rearranging, freshening. “Our clients are often time- and budget-conscious, seeking to improve their surroundings through smart design,” Zakarian says. Clients: Jennifer Chambers, Stacey Reiss and Ross Intelisano

200 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1600 (212-684-3720)
A New York fixture, John Saladino is known for magnificent rooms. He balances Italian furniture with his own designs, always establishing the structure of a space beneath the curlicues and gilt. Current favorites include “limestone in a warm beige color from Oklahoma, mouth-blown seeded glass, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian antiques with a strong architectural nature.” Clients: Susan Harris and Paul Witt, Michael and Mary Jaharis

515 Canal Street (212-431-8751)
Sanders’s apartment designs push the capabilities of computers and clients alike, as he creates fully functioning homes out of one continuous surface. A concrete floor may dip to form a padded conversation pit, then rise up to turn into a countertop. As he puts it: “Flexible living environments for fluid lifestyles.” Clients: Scott Metzner, Martin and Ann Gallagher

801 Greenwich Street (212-691-7814)
“A reduced number of elements and contrasting pieces and materials can make a house full of museum-quality art and furniture still look comfortable enough to put your feet up and your drink down,” says Sclaroff. His relaxed approach encompasses anything from rococo to Perriand, but he lets cool colors, a tight edit, and luxurious materials take the edge off contemporary and the fussiness off antiques. Clients: Kate and Andy Spade, Tony Kushner, Edward Klein

62 White Street (212-219-9571)
Annabelle Selldorf deserves her reputation as a minimalist; her interiors often run the spectrum from black to white, with brief stops for stainless steel: “well-proportioned rooms,” she says, “with ample lighting.” Jolts of color come from Selldorf’s impeccable taste in art, which could explain why she’s a favorite of gallery owners. Clients: Eberhard Müller and Paula Satur

P.O. Box 1797 (212-681-7942)
Shade’s Harlem practice includes a custom-furniture line in deep colors and African-inspired shapes. His taste is eclectic, a rich combination of art, textiles, and modern furniture. “I like to see the hand-wrought against the highly stylized,” he says, “and I enjoy drawing from ethnic sources.” His book Harlem Style was published this month. Clients: Star Jones

10 Greene Street (212-274-7476)
This two-and-a-half-year-old firm is quickly making a name for itself, with functional planning and a luxurious stable of materials, giving modern a broken-in, handcrafted twist. “I like using elements such as patinated bronze and hand-gouged woods to create a strong, textured palette as a backdrop for furniture, most of which we design ourselves,” Shah says. Clients: Ian Schrager

216 West 18th Street (212-243-3939)
A team for over twenty years, this firm still offers a fresh, seamless, soup-to-nuts version of high-modern design, synthesizing architectural elements and strong furniture groupings into intelligent, carefully edited, cool interiors. Clients: Melissa Soros, William Ford, Jim Nevins

30 East 67th Street (212-988-1636)
Designer Stephen Sills arranges European and American furnishings in rooms known as much for over-the-top gestures (hand-laid cobblestone floor, backlit quartz-crystal fireplace) as for museum-quality antiques. Lately, Sills and his partner, James Huniford, have brightened their palette, turning to Southeast Asian spice tones. Clients: Tina Turner, Nan Swid, Vera Wang

21 West 58th Street (212-752-3790)
Paul Siskin’s strength is his concentration on the nuts and bolts of decorating: seeking out those spectacular accessories – chandeliers, brass wall hangings, objets d’art – that give an interior personality. He sets these finds against a low-key background: early-modern furniture and a contrasting color palette (“If I had to choose a color I could love for eternity, it would be brown”). Clients: Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Tom Clancy

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

The Top 100 Architects & Decorators