NY Spaces Sept '09, "Guts and Glamour"
pages 82-89 by Harry Sawyers
Formulas give way to fantasy when designer Joe Nahem rehabs a late-80's spec house in Westchester
IN AN AGE WHEN "EXTREME MAKEOVERS" HAVE BECOME ROUTINE TV FARE, the idea of a real-life "wham-bam rehab" may seem less than thrilling, says Joe Nahem, of Fox-Nahem Associates. "But this is the way we’ve been doing whole-house renovations for 20 years." Early on, Nahem realized that big changes go more smoothly when clients extract themselves from the daily grind of construction dust and product deliveries. "They walk back in when all the worries are over and the Champagne is sitting out," says Nahem.
The "fizz" in this Westchester County rehab started on the walls, where embroidered silk, wood mosaic tile and bold point color purged a series of late-1980's spec-house rooms of boring, builder-issue Sheetrock. As project architect Ira Grandberg brought the structure a sense of elegance and proportion, Nahem and his crew redefined its interior with guts and glamour.
Upholstered pieces designed by Fox-Nahem blend with antique lighting, vintage French chairs, and a worldly mix of period and contemporary art and objects. And the firm’s patient electrician made sure that every antique and mid-century lamp and light fixture introduced to the house worked perfectly. In the end, the adventurous transformation garnered the praise Nahem most values: “It looks like the people that live here.”