An enviable enclave of calm awaits Greg Hymowitz when he gets home after a long day on Wall Street. The moment he steps inside his softly lit aubergine-toned entrance hall, the stresses of the day dissolve: this is where life after work undeniably begins.
Greg, a hedge-fund manager, bought the Manhattan townhouse on the Upper East Side after his divorce, intending to create a new home not only for himself, but his three young daughters, Lilli, Cloe and Jenna.
His brief to interior designer Julie Hillman was clear: he wanted unlimited luxury that appealed to all the senses, along with a distinguished sense of style. But while real estate in this part of the city is undeniably expensive, it is also, in Hillman’s opinion, somewhat conventional and uninspired. To make up for the lack of architectural impact, therefore, her priority was to ensure both the decor and furnishings were unusual and unique – whilst carefully considering every creature comfort to meet Greg’s exacting requirements.
Deep-pile carpets, huge sofas, ambient lighting and a multitude of candles help to harness a cosseting atmosphere, particularly in the living room where the family frequently gathers to relax. Taking centre stage is the sensuous s-shaped sofa by Vladimir Kagan. Its impressive size means it’s spacious enough for Greg and the girls to cuddle up or sprawl out on as the whim takes them – though a crane was needed to heave it, along with other oversized pieces of furniture, through the tall windows as the stairway simply proved too narrow to accommodate its arrival.
With the emphasis on low-level furniture in this room, Hillman also chose a divan designed by Maria Pergay in a brushed steel frame, which is placed directly in front of the fireplace, as well as a coffee table – created from a magnificent tangle of teak roots and buffed to a brilliant shine – to add both interest and a sense of drama to the overall scheme.
By contrast, the dining room is a study of cool elegance and understated chic. “I wanted to create the reserved atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club,” explains Hillman. The long table – originally designed for a boardroom – is strikingly lacquered in purple: the mirror-like surface reflects the glow cast by Moroccan hanging lanterns, while Jacob Jensen wall sconces on the grey flannel walls shed soft light. It’s not an entirely grown-up space though – Greg has allowed a television to be installed in a silver cabinet so that, just occasionally, his daughters can watch TV during mealtimes.
Upstairs, the girls – aged eight, 11 and 13 – are indulged with bedrooms decorated in bright, positive colours and eye-catching furnishings. Greg is keen to develop their appreciation of good design and contemporary art, so each was permitted to choose a design object for their room. “Cloe decided on the Lip Sofa; Lilli opted for a Verner Panton climbing wall, and Jenna chose a clear plastic bubble chair,” their father reveals.
Not surprisingly, Greg’s bedroom is a haven of comfort, dominated by an enormous bed with a patent leather headboard designed by Hillman, and quietly masculine furniture. The business tycoon dislikes unnecessary clutter and fuss: hence, bedside tables have no drawers to interrupt the clean lines; nor does the desk – cleverly converted from an antique dining table.
Colour, style, luxury... Throughout this New York home, every aspect has been considered and executed with flair. For Greg and his girls, a genuine retreat in the city has been achieved.