Real apartment: NYC beat


Influenced by its NoLIta, New York location, this apartment buzzes with energy

The NoLIta (North of Little Italy) borough of New York is a trendy location that’s a far cry from the name it’s spawned from. Once a place filled with Italian-American immigrants, the neighbourhood has experienced an influx of yuppies and trend-seekers who have prompted the opening of restaurants, cafés and shops, ultimately creating an on-trend, desirable and upscale area.

Interior designer Piero Manara from design firm Casamanara is responsible for the revamp of the property, which was in dire need of some TLC. Previously owned by Italian actress/singer Romina Power, the space was a “disaster” and “hadn’t been renovated since the ’70s”, according to Piero. Add to that a personal relationship

“They wanted a place that makes people feel at home straight away” — Piero Manara
with the client and the challenge of converting a one-bedroom, one-bathroom place into a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home for a family from Hong Kong.

Using the apartment when visiting New York with their children, the couple sought a space that was simple, light and airy. “They wanted a place that makes people feel at home straight away,” says Piero. “Our intention was industrial chic as the clients requested. They also wanted to use simple, strong materials and finishes — reclaimed oak timber for the floor, cement on the walls and cold rolled steel and glass for the partition.”

Casamanara re-did all the ceilings and plumbing, installed a new air-conditioning system and platform to divide the space and cut out new windows to embrace natural light. At the completion of the project, the entrance, living room, TV room, kitchen/dining area, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, laundry, powder room and master dressing room all exude colour and a sense of energy.

In keeping with the industrial design aesthetic, colour also plays an important role in bringing elements of warmth into a space that could easily become cold and impersonal. Every room has colour present in one way or another through furniture or accessories, but there’s one structure that is an invaluable asset to the apartment — a clear view of the Empire State Building. What more could you want when visiting the Big Apple?

It’s hard to imagine this spacious home once consisted of just one bedroom and one bathroom. In a city where space and extra bedrooms are incredibly costly, clever design and innovation are key to making the most of what you have.

For more information


Written by Annabelle Cloros
Photography by Evan Joseph

Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 18 Issue 4