Triple Threat NYC Apartment

A sneak peek inside Pietro Cicognani's new book Pietro Cicognani: Architecture and Design (Vendome Press).

Pietro Cicognani Architecture And Design NYC&G is thrilled and honored to be publishing a New York City project, the cover story of October NYC&G, by architect Pietro Cicognani, whose book, Pietro Cicognani: Architecture and Design (Vendome Press) is out now, with photographs by Francesco Lagnese and text by Karen Bruno. Get your copies today!

Pietro Cicognani Staircase

Photographs by Francesco Lagnese

When the apartment’s residents step from the elevator into the petite foyer, the city suddenly fades into grisaille tones. This newly carved-out triplex in a Gilded Age building on Irving Place is home to an entrepreneur, his wife, and their five children, who desired a sort of hôtel particulier centered in New York City. Their architect, Pietro Cicognani of Cicognani Kalla Architect, created a serene retreat with luxe details.

An airy, skylit spiral staircase, crafted of steel and darkened bronze serves as the triplex’s anchor. “It’s like a brownstone within an apartment building,” says Cicognani, “with a floor for children, one for parents, and a communal level” all linked by the stair. The stairwell’s dolomite-flecked plaster walls sparkle faintly day and night, and tiny uplights set into the steps provide extra illumination in the evening. The thin balusters are set à l’anglaise on the side of the stringers of the stairs instead of on the risers, giving the staircase a delicate floating appearance. The French-born wrought-iron railing serves as the cherry on top.

Pietro Cicognani Dining Room

Photographs by Francesco Lagnese

The renovation began from the ground up beginning with Siberian white-oak parquet floors in a chevron pattern. With the exception of the spacious kitchen, Cicognani employed elongated strips of white-glazed terra-cotta tile in the same pattern throughout. Custom windows are bare and period appropriate for the landmarked district. An industrial edge appears in the form of custom steel-framed partitions with restoration-glass panes to separate room from room.

Much of the apartment’s sophisticated appeal stems from the triplex’s paneling, ceiling rosettes, and doors that required months of refinement by Cicognani Kalla. But the residence isn’t a museum piece as washable and kid-friendly materials cover the kitchen and dining room. The two square dining tables are not only intended for eating but for doing homework as well.

A pair of blackened-nickel chandeliers from John Rosselli & Associates hang above the tables, while triple slabs of gray-and gold-veined Calacatta marble top the cooking island, and a band of polished steel wraps the kitchen table.

There is little pattern in the triplex, which makes the gorgeous details pop: the custom silver legs on the kitchen island, blue mercury glass–like drawer pulls on the kitchen cabinetry, a simple limestone fireplace designed by Cicognani in the living room. Cicognani-designed silver shelving even supports built-in bars in both the living room and the parents’ bedroom.

Pietro Cicognani Master Bath

Photographs by Francesco Lagnese

Silver-and pewter-toned hardware and light fixtures unify the mostly white apartment, except in the girls’ bedrooms and bath, where pink and rose gold dominate. Santa Monica–based decorator Windsor Smith, who is known for creating modern, minimalist interiors, incorporated many sumptuous, tactile elements.

Upholstered in gray, white, and light-blue velvet, the majority of the furnishings are curvy and soft, “almost experiential,” she says. Smith even sprinkled in some from her own line. She reveals, “Furniture can be luxurious without being stuffy. I wanted to push this young family toward a classic, elegant environment.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Triple Play.