addition to creating a warm and inviting environment, Sharff was charged
with adding lots of storage, using family-friendly finishes (“We don’t want
to be worried about breaking something,” says the fiancée), and incorporating pieces from the owner’s collection of modern art.
At the homeowner’s request, Sharff designed the living room around
a collection of paintings by Porfirio DiDonna. The eight canvases inspired
the apartment’s earthy palette of warm wood, slate, and subdued shades
of coral, baby blue, and sage green. But, says Sharff, “the focal point of
the rooms is the view.” So he used custom built-ins fabricated by R.F.
McManus Company of Charlestown, Massachusetts, that defer to the skyline and give the residents the storage they craved. “We are absolutely gaga
for all the built-ins,” says the fiancée.
the living room is “all about the views,” according to Sharff,
who oriented seating (facing page) to maximize the wraparound
windows of the corner unit. Customized built-ins (above) are
painted soft taupe; drawers conceal toys and games, while flat
panels open to reveal more shelves. Sharff ripped out the unit’s
original parquet flooring and replaced it with planks that appeal
to the homeowners’ modern sensibilities.
While the “adult” wing (the master suite, guest quarters, meditation
room, and media center) remained intact with just some reconfigured
layouts and new finishes, the entry, kitchen, and kids’ rooms underwent
a major overhaul.
In this busy residence, creating a landing space for sports equipment,
jackets, and shoes was a must. “A mudroom isn’t typical for an urban environment,” says Sharff, who redesigned the once boxy foyer into a cozy, but
organized, catchall for gear and toys. Hard-wearing, variegated slate tile
floors are now framed by cherry cabinetry that conceals locker-style cub-bies for each child.
The guest room and two baths off the kitchen were reworked into a
large room with bright blue walls and maple bunk beds for the three boys
and a small private room for their sister. Her room features a custom carpet
from K. Powers & Company in Needham, Massachusetts, which features
a grown-up koi fish motif. Powers designed the carpet so that it could be
reworked into an area rug when the daughter gets older.
“The kids’ rooms were really fun because of the playful quality of the
built-ins with the ladders and bunks,” says Finley Perry of FH Perry Builder
in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, who worked on the unit with project manager Greg Mackintosh. “I think the kids liked it a lot, too.”