New York Daily News Apr 10 '08 "The No-Rules Room"
by Jason Sheftell
If Marie Antoinette were alive in New York today, she would either live in this Chelsea apartment or choose Joe Nahem to design her city digs. While it looks spare and sparse, the room is filled with either vintage objects or custom-made pieces. "It takes a lot to make a room look this simple," says Nahem.
To complete the project, Nahem went to France to sift through flea markets, antique stores and designer showrooms only accessible to interior designers and people in the decorating trade. The client, a couple who now have several children, followed the two designers to check out all their furniture recommendations.
The flooring is reclaimed limestone from a French chateau that was purchased at a store in New York. To install it, they needed a layer of mud to serve as a bed underneath the stone. It cost $35 per square foot.
The wooden chaise was designed by Nakashima, a midcentury modern furniture designer whose work has appeared at the Museum of Modern Art. It costs $35,000. Fortunately for Nahem, the owners of the apartment also own the building.
"That allowed us to do different things, like put the fireplace against a glass wall," says Nahem. "It made dealing with landmarks and building code issues easier. We had complete freedom."
The result is a room with strong materials like stone, and simple furniture pieces and objects of art that have the luxury of space. Nothing in the room is on top of each other. Even the plant life is sculpted and clean.
"Too much personality can turn a room into a three-ring circus," says Nahem. "It takes balance to put this together."
For an added touch, the clients walked in to a completely finished home with champagne on ice.