In less skillful hands, another fixed wall, with existing back-to-back fireplaces between the living room and a long, narrow expanse,
might have resulted in a useless room, albeit one with a great view.
Verbridge transformed the slim space into a double-ended office for
two. Antique desks face each other from afar, acting as bookends for
companionable seating. Further intimacy is achieved with deeply pigmented walls, wood paneling, and chairs so nubbly they seem knitted
by hand. “So much of our experience of an object is textural,” says Verbridge. The fireplace, whose rich marble is also used on the two side
tables, draws attention inward from the world outside.
On the other side of the wall, the hearth opens to a larger seating
area in the living room, where surfaces such as the glass Italian coffee
table from Nella Vetrina are light or transparent.
Rooftop access was nonnegotiable. An industrial metal spiral
stairway stood where the dining room was to be located, reaching up
past a communal deck to the family’s private retreat. “There was no
changing that location,” says Verbridge, so she made new stairs an
integral part of the room’s design. With dark walnut unfurling within
curved glass sides, the staircase built by Arcways of Neenah, Wisconsin, is at once sculptural, light, and futuristic, combining fluidity and
geometry. Under the reflecting glass, the wood seems as metallic as
the adjacent copper door, the apartment’s formal entryway, whose