New York-based architects Worrell Yeung employ a bright and minimal material palette to revitalise an Upper West Side apartment.
When a young New York couple approached Worrell Yeung to renew their apartment on the Upper West Side, the team immediately saw its potential. It was an authentic piece of the city’s past; an early-20th-century building overlooking the Natural History Museum, with its pre-war charm still in tact. “We looked to revive the apartment’s original spirit while restructuring the space and introducing a bright and minimal material palette,” co-principal Jejon Yeung says. The final result mirrors the status quo of New York City today, while still being reminiscent of its bygone days.
The light-filled kitchen features the &tradition Pavillion bar stool.
Worrell Yeung revised the apartment’s “Classic Six” layout (a traditional pre-war plan segmented into six rooms) by connecting the kitchen, dining and living areas. The new all-in-one space benefits from abundant natural light and clear views of the Natural History Museum below, representing a modern adaptation of the classic layout. The former “maid’s room” (another typical feature of pre-war homes) was expanded to create a third bedroom and ensuite bathroom.
The revised plan entailed the insertion of modern architectural elements designed to open space and guide circulation. In the entry foyer, a custom wood-and-fabric screen acts as a transparent divider, revealing the light-flooded, spacious living spaces on the other side. Elevating moments of transition, two new archways lined in rich oak softly emulate pre-war archways.
Light oak floors brighten spaces, while darker oak archways create a subtle juxtaposition. Silver and white marble form an elegant counterpart.
Upper West Side marries ‘pre-war charm’ and’ contemporary sophistication’ through minimal, natural materials. Light oak floors brighten spaces, while darker oak archways create a subtle juxtaposition. Elsewhere, slabs of silver and white marble have been assembled into elegant built-in shapes. A bar lined in inky marble in the living room contrasts the otherwise understated material elements.
“This project allowed us to test some of our more minimal, elemental ideas within a pre-war apartment; to create a subtle and sophisticated design suitable for a modern family that doesn’t overpower the charm of the pre-war apartment,” co-principal Max Worrell maintains.