Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Designer on the Move - Alex Papachristidis

I love a good story, don't you? Especially when it requires a move of a fabulously talented interior designer from the apartment he designed and lived in for 20-years, to a new place. There's something you learn from living in a place for so long, I think. You learn what you can and can not get away with, what you love and what you don't, what you need and what you simply are holding onto for nostalgia. So, when given the chance to design a new, larger space for himself and his partner, Alex Papachristidis did just that, and gutted a 3-bedroom apartment in New York City, and set in moving the pieces he loved over - freshly recovered and/or renewed, into spaces he'd wanted to create for the last quarter century.
First, his old apartment. You remember it, I'm sure, if not from the many magazines it was published in, but for the bloggers who posted it all over the internet. Thankfully, I was able to find a whole home tour online at New York Social Diary.

This large space, covered in wall to wall seagrass, with seating areas layered with rugs to create a foundation for "separate" space, was filled with beautiful pieces corner to corner. Papachristidis has been described as an eclectic traditionalist with a modern eye, and I have to say that's incredibly accurate, in my opinion.
The main room of this New York City apartment is part living room, part dining room, part office, part lounge, part bar, part library ... with a little more thrown in for good measure. The fabrics are loud and gregarious, they are bold and unique - but they all fit into this space, feeling both bohemian and luxurious at the same time. The rest of the apartment is equally as collected and colorful.


The walls of the library are/were covered in David Hicks fabric by Clarence House, something reproduced not too long ago by Charlotte Moss for Fabricut for much, much less. The rest of the room is furnished with fine furniture, covered in beautiful Fonthill, Scalamandre, and antique silk ikats. Clearly, there is no high/low here. It's all the best money can buy.

Covered in Billy Baldwin wallpaper, the bedroom, with its custom bed, and eclectic array of furniture, including sample size chairs (something I presume Alex loves - as they're scattered among every room of the old apartment, and the new one) should be enough evidence alone that pattern pairing isn't something that Papachristidis concerns himself with. If you love it - it should be there.
The new place, however, is all the space and formality that this apartment lacked, thanks to the full gut and renovation of the space to make all of the rooms that Alex and his partner desired. He finally had the opportunity to have a room wrapped in velvet walls, and they had a proper guest room, that didn't serve double duty as a library. The finishes are still TOP NOTCH, and very fine, and the rooms are still all about more is more, but it's the clever reuse that really made me smile. Here we go, the new place, featured in Elle Décor 2012:
The walls of the parlor, now separated from the dining room and office, are covered in the most gorgeous Gracie Chinoiserie wallpaper I think I've ever seen. Things moved from the old apartment include the Chinese Chippendale high backed chair, formerly in the library, now newly cushioned with a plum colored silk. The Gueridon side tables, a gift from his mother, which formerly flanked the Bennison covered sofa in the main living room, along with many of the accessories on the tables.

The sofa is new, custom made to fit the space and tuck nicely into the corner. But there are other things that were moved from the old apartment, including the antique bergere chair, now reupholstered in Claremont fabric, that once flanked the sofa in the main living space, the turtle foot stool, which once lived in the main reception area of the living space in the old apartment, the Lucite and brass table, with the adored ceramic monkey "Samson". Even the garden stool is from the old living room.

The sconces were moved from the old apartment living room, and used here, along with the chest, which used to double as a bar in the old dining room area of the main room of the prior apartment. The chair also used to flank the chest, but has been reupholstered to fit the new color scheme. 

Here again, the Chinese Chippendale chair with its new silk tufted seat. The sofa, gorgeous in its shape and gilded exposed wood, along with the Luigi Bevilacqua cotton, is custom made. The rococo table was found at an auction. I love everything about this room, including the hand painted floor.
New York Social Diary went into the newly finished space for another story after Papachristidis moved, and consequently, after the Elle Décor feature ran. The pictures they took show more of the apartment's flow, such as the entrance to the new library.
The new library is remarkable with all that pattern and color, isn't it? The book étagères and carpet are custom, of course, and the whole room is covered in Stroheim velvet. Of course, we again can see that a lot of the furniture in this space came from the old apartment. The sofa, one in the main living room, and formerly covered with Bennison, is now covered in Schumacher cotton ikat. The wicker chair was once a side chair in the old library, the coffee table brought over from the old living room, the Rob Wynne art also came over, this time flanked by sconces that once hung in the old dining room topped with mustard foo dogs. Even the sample chair is reused, this time covered in ikat. 

While I am certainly in love with the room as seen in Elle Décor, I feel like the photos taken for NYSD showcase the rooms as Papachristidis had intended, beautiful filled, that more is more perspective he's known for and does so well!
The Spitzmiller lamps are from the old Master Bedroom, but work here seamlessly, as they are nearly the same color as that beautiful Stroheim velvet. The French chairs in this photo once lived behind the two club chairs in the old space, making convenient seating by the double sided book shelf. Speaking of, remember that piece? How it so beautiful broke up the dining room and living room in the old place?
Well, look at it now ...
Standing at attention in the Lee Jofa linen tented entrance hall, I think it's perfect here, don't you? The new apartment is larger, and allows for a proper guest room, which Alex covered in Manuel Canovas cotton:

The desk and chair are from the old apartment, and look to be untouched, simply moved to the new room. The daybed the same as the one from the old library, simply recovered in the same Canovas fabric used on the walls and curtains.


The room serves as a dressing room for Alex's partner, Scott. So the armoire, formerly in the main room, flanked by chairs that remained as-is. I loved some of the NYSD pictures of this space, too:

Never economize on luxuries. Easier said than done, right? Moving on to the master bedroom:

The bed is the same, but is now covered in gorgeous Schumacher velvet. The carpet was designed by Papachristidis, just as the library carpet was. The walls are wallpapered in a Sandberg wallpaper. A couple of things made the move in here too, including the bamboo plant stand which used to be home to Samson, and the bamboo chair from the old bedroom.

The NYSD images however, show that much more made the move into the room and was removed for the photoshoot, including:

The sample size chair, now covered in Scalamadre silk velvet, and the side table (left of chair) once used in the dining room of the old apartment. 

They also brought over their Cole Porter brass étagères, for books and the requisite television. I also largely prefer the bed made so loosely, don't you?

We'll finish up back in the dining room:

So much is the same here, including the chandelier, the chairs (newly covered Fortuny), and the bust covered in shells on it's lacquered stand. The table may also have been the existing table, now void of it's Suzani cover.
This photo as seen in NYSD, shows the Alex I love - all about more is more. The chest, vintage from Doyle, formerly in the library, is such a gorgeous piece, and fits beautiful here against those plum colored wool felt walls finished with brass nailheads. What a way to finish out this tiny jewelry box of a room.
Suffice it to say, that Alex Papachristidis could have likely afforded to completely redecorate his new apartment in furniture from the finest of antiquarians and custom builders. He could have chosen the most expensive fabrics in the world ... but he started out buying the things that he loved, and this is proof that if you do the same, even on a much more modest budget, you can move from house to house, as easily as he did with the help of a little paint and fabric!


  1. I'm just obsessed with every detail of his "new" or newly remodeled apartment. The colors are amazing and I've been over each images time and again just trying to take it all in - can't get over the entrance…amazing!!

  2. More IS more! I love every bit of it. Truly is a 'jewel box' of a home!

  3. A feast for the eyes! What a tremendous example of mixing patterns without fear to create a home that is uniquely yours!

    Segreto Finishes

  4. Oh, this left me breathless .... I love his style.

  5. WAY too fussy for me. Think of the dusting!

  6. I think he can afford someone to clean... as Leslie said... "A feast for the eyes"!

  7. You are amazing! Spectacular job on his apartment renovation.

  8. You are amazing! Spectacular job on his apartment renovation.

  9. Mind blowing design . These are captured better here .