We’re long past due for a Design Eye Training post, and I know how much everyone loves these (myself included)! Today I have a real treat for you, as we’re analyzing and admiring one of my favorite spaces by the talented Gil Shafer of G.P. Shafer Architect. Step into Gil’s stunning, 900 square foot parlor-floor apartment with me in Greenwich Village. It’s layered with antiques, textiles, design treasures, and the Greek Revival architecture is absolutely stunning. Click through to take a little tour and chat all things interior design with me…
In our “Design Eye” series, we observe and admire design fundamentals like scale, texture, pattern, material use, lighting plans, color, floorplan & layout, and a variety of intentional styling & interior moments pulled together by the pros. It’s an exercise I used to practice often in design school, and one I still enjoy today. By discussing and breaking down well designed spaces in greater detail, you’ll begin to train your “design eye”, build upon the design fundamentals, and can apply some of these things to your own home, if they appeal to you. I also feel like this series can really help you hone in your personal aesthetic, determining what you like and dislike.
The first thing that really jumped out to me in this apartment was the gorgeous Greek Revival architecture. From chunky crown moulding, ceiling medallions, heavy window & door casing, architraves, and even ionic columns- the architectural backdrop is nothing short of beautiful. I also noticed forms and shapes seen in the millwork that have been repeated in other design elements throughout the space- like the area rugs and light fixtures. Repeating shapes, patterns, or colors throughout a room is a great way to create cohesion.
The timeless neutral color palette also works very well here because of the amount of decor used… it provides a layered look, plenty of texture, color, and warmth. I’m actually hoping my home office renovation takes on a similar effect, as my color palette feels pretty close to what we’re seeing here. It’s warm, but also bright and inviting. Anyway, this apartment definitely has a maximalist feel to me, that is nicely curated and styled. There is much to discover and interesting vignettes in every corner.
I also stopped to admire the nero marble fireplace in the back corner, and the use of accent furniture in this space. My rule is that every seat should have a table nearby or a place to rest a drink, and Gil does such a great job of floor planning in a way that feels intentional and functional. I really enjoy the way he styles with plants as well! There is so much life in this space and those little moments of greenery really add life to this open concept apartment.
Did you notice the beautifully layered rugs? While all of the textiles in this space are neutral, they have a lovely, graphic antiqued look to them. The black and white Iranian flatware carpet adds a fun high-contrast punch to the traditional period details. You know I’m all about mixing aesthetics… modern patterns or profiles paired with traditional antiques will forever be a winning combination! I also really enjoy the art installations throughout the space and the way they’re layered and stacked. Did you observe that all of the artwork is modern? Again- it’s a smart move to install modern art against such a traditional backdrop, like the Greek Revival millwork. One more thing to admire- those doors with the original brass hardware that has a fantastic patina going.
I also wanted to share some design / millwork / architecture history with you, since we have such a nice closeup of the column to analyze. This is an Ionic column, which is one of the three column styles prevalent in Greek architecture (Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian). The Ionic order is usually the most narrow, is slender and more ornate than the masculine Doric style. Ionic columns have an ornate shaped scroll on the capital, which sits at the top of the column. These are often fluted and have such a beautiful balanced shape. If you’re going to install a column in your home and are going for a classic, traditional Greek look- this is the way to do it! I’m not sure if this one is purely decorative or offers support, but I love the way its integrated. It works well with the soaring 13 foot tall ceiling that make this small apartment seem far larger than it actually is.
There we have it… another Design Eye post in the books. Did you enjoy this one? I can’t wait to hear the things you noticed and admired in this wonderful apartment! Did you find any inspiration that can translate to your own home? That’s always my favorite part. I hope you’re having a good week so far!