How do you end up with a very discerning 13-year-old client? “I was working on a renovation at Salon 94 downtown,” says Adam Charlap Hyman of the design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero. (Salon 94 is among the most in-the-know galleries in New York, run by Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn.) “And I was going to the house for meetings with Jeanne.” There he met Greenberg Rohatyn’s older daughter, Coco. “At some point, they were expanding Coco’s bedroom to include some of the room next to it. It was going to be this cut-and-dried architectural change, but I had brought a bunch of reference images and materials in my bag and said, ‘Well, we could make a whole little project out of it.’ ” Both Coco and her mom loved his ideas, and a relationship grew.
The choices were primarily Coco’s, with parent and designer providing guidance and options. “She had a great sense of color,” recalls Charlap Hyman. “We had a smart moment in which she understood certain colors were inversed into others, and suggested we do something with the fabric based on the inverse of other colors. And Coco would text me things she liked — I remember getting a text message of a flower that she said was a nice color.” Coco was into ice-skating at the time, and the flooring is the same rubbery material that’s used around rinks to protect skaters’ blades. And, adds her mother, “she did not mind that the green-and-white floor did not quite go with her purple-and-pink everything else. But it’s all good!” She claims there were no parental vetoes.
Being a dealer and collector, Greenberg Rohatyn did stock the room with art. The stool in her daughter’s bedroom is a functional sculpture by Kueng Caputo. (And it really is used as a seat.) The dollhouse on the floor is a Laurie Simmons piece, and the mouth- and eye-shaped rugs are by the artist Katie Stout. The one surprise for Coco, Greenberg Rohaytn says, was the big painting by Mickalene Thomas, all bright colors and age-appropriate glitter. “I had it hung on the day that she moved in.”
Yet for all the unconventional surfaces and artworks, the suite they created is traditional underneath. “It’s a pretty normal bedroom at the end of the day,” Charlap Hyman says. “It’s not some crazy living setup.” Coco has a makeup table with mirror, one a girl her age would have found familiar 50 years ago. “I’ve never had one in my life,” says her mother with a laugh. “It wouldn’t occur to me. But she wanted one, and she uses it every day. Now my other daughter wants one, too.”
*This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of New York Design Hunting.