A Prewar Apartment Gets an All-Out Modern Renovation

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The family space was designed to be open and flexible. Photo: Erwin Hernandez

Hieu Pham and Irina Petrova lived in an un-renovated, prewar apartment on Forsyth Street for a decade. After a chance encounter at a dinner party, they finally decided to remodel.

Photo: Courtesy of Catalina Castano

“It was very weird,” says interior designer Catalina Castano of the layout of her client’s 2,300-square-foot prewar apartment. “It didn’t really make sense.” Her clients, Hieu Pham and Irina Petrova, who work in finance and for a nonprofit, respectively, had been wanting to do a total renovation after ten years of living there. When they met Castano at a dinner party, the design chemistry clicked. A full demolition led to a two-year redesign, seen in process here.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

Castano stripped the floors, and replaced them with European white oak from HF Design. She re-clad the walls between the windows with brick that matches the exterior of the building. “I wanted to keep the family space open and flexible,” she says, “so I thought the Roche Bobois Mah Jong sofa would be perfect, as it can be reconfigured in so many ways.” The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin, and the rug is a Mazandaran Kilim from Nasiri.

Photo: Courtesy of Catalina Castano

Before the renovation, the kitchen, seen here, was wedged into a small area that was closed off from the rest of the apartment.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

“Hieu loves music and loves to cook,” Castano says. “He was a DJ when he was younger, so for him it was important to make the space an open and relaxing one where he can listen to music and cook for family and friends. He wanted to make it very comfortable and playful for his kids.” The light pendants are from Restoration Hardware. and the backsplash and countertop are from Nemo Tile. The appliances are from Sub-Zero, and the kitchen stools are from Blu Dot.

Photo: Courtesy of Catalina Castano

Here, the raw space before the kitchen was built — to the left, past the front door. Toward the back wall, a home-office area has been installed.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

For the desk and shelving in the home office, Castano commissioned custom millwork. The desk lamp and vases are from West Elm, and two Eames chairs, done in camel leather, are from Design Within Reach. The two African wood carvings were found at the flea market.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

Pham and Petrova’s daughter’s room is anchored by Pottery Barn Kid’s Hadley Canopy Bed in white lacquered wood. The whimsical butterfly-print wallpaper is the Farfalla pattern from Osborne & Little. The nightstands are from West Elm, and the pillows are from John Robshaw. The wool throw blanket is from ABC Carpet & Home.

Photo: Courtesy of Catalina Castano

The raw space before decisions were made about how to divide public and private areas.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

A pristine hallway, from which the master bedroom, bath, and daughter’s bedroom are accessed, was added. The accent wall at the end is painted in a Benjamin Moore gray; the door hardware is from the Brass Center.

Photo: Erwin Hernandez

A little powder room makes a big statement with a custom metal sliding door with frosted glass from Bendheim and wall tiles from Nemo Tile. The Alto Mini Offset Porsel Wall-Mount Sink is from Signature Hardware, as is the faucet, and the mirror and wall sconces are from Restoration Hardware. The project was two years in the making but worth the time, Castano says. “They were a very easygoing couple to work with, and I enjoyed helping their vision for the apartment come to fruition.”

A Prewar Apartment Gets an All-Out Modern Renovation