New York Designer Maxine Shriber Creates a Space for a Growing Young Family That Makes a Surprising Statement with a Palette of Nuanced Neutrals
Long one of New York’s most sought-after neighborhoods, Manhattan’s Tribeca is undergoing a quiet evolution. Among new stores openings and restaurant launches, an influx of business suits and baby strollers now line busy streets. And as more and more young professionals and young families move to the area, some of New York’s oldest buildings are now becoming home to some of the city’s newest residents. The interior transformations—beautifully blending both form and function—are as inspiring as they are complex.
In one of the neighborhood’s oldest factory buildings, off the West Side Highway, one Tribeca family has created its own urban retreat away from long workdays and packed schedules. The young couple called upon the services of New York designer Maxine Shriber, owner of MSD – Interior Architectural Design, to make the most of their apartment. They now have a home that meets all the criteria growing families are looking for today: a stylish oasis and entertaining space that provide both function and comfort.
Chic yet simple furniture in luxury fabrics, steel, glass, and marble set the tone in main living areas.
“Moving from renters to buyers, they wanted to make this a chic city apartment,” Shriber explained. “But when they purchased the apartment, it was too traditional and over the top. Our ultimate goal was to give the space clean and simple lines that gave a new edge to the space while still maintaining functionality for everyday use.”
The building, a landmarked old sugar warehouse built in 1853 along the Hudson River, was converted into residential condominiums in 2002. Incorporating cues from the space itself, Shriber said the design came quickly: “The client has a colorful home in South America where they spend a few months of the year, so as a contrast she wanted to make a bold statement with a neutral approach. Gray fabrics full of texture, white walls, black hardware, and specially stained wood floor were some of the driving forces in the design.”
Trading in Traditional for Sleek Modern
Traditional elements, like the old wood staircase railing and existing kitchen cabinetry, were replaced with black metalwork and Shaker-style doors. Chic yet simple furniture in luxury fabrics, steel, glass, and marble set the tone in the main living areas. Custom-designed fixtures and cove lighting added the perfect amount of drama.
“With a double-height ceiling in the living room and dining area, we knew light fixtures were going to be a very important element,” Shriber said. “The building’s original windows are still in place and bring great natural light to the space, which allowed us to focus on the aesthetic rather than worry about producing a huge amount of light.”
To pull all the rooms on the main floor together, Shriber and her team tapped O’Lampia Studio in the city for three custom pieces. All the units were in the same finish and had strong linear elements to give weight and communicate the inspiration for the apartment.
“The first design established was the five linear pendants over the dining-room table, made to highlight the length of the stunning 10-foot custom-made wood and metal table,” Shriber said. “Next, we worked on the living-room fixture with its varying rod lengths crisscrossed to create a more abstract feel over the space. The last light fixture was for the kitchen eating area. With its lower ceilings and being slightly separated from the grand room, we went with a design that has a retro touch with the cone shades.”
Room for Twelve
Another design challenge was space planning. With a big family and lots of friends, the family wanted a place that was made to entertain. Although they had an everyday-use den for the kids to play in, the living/dining room needed to be chic, comfy, and durable.
“We had to accommodate a dining table to comfortably fit 12 people with room for more and a living space to do the same,” Shriber said. “Ultimately it came down to making the most of the layout, creating a room where entertaining 14 doesn’t feel crowded, yet a night with a glass of wine and two on the couch doesn’t make the room feel enormous.”
“White is a noncompete. It never asks for attention yet makes such a statement with its clean and crisp appeal. Some may consider this neutral palette a modern trend, but a white wall never goes out of style.”
While lighting played a key role, it was color, Shriber said, that achieved the ultimate feel of the space. Nuanced neutrals set the tone for a surprisingly bold statement. “A classic white is the perfect blank slate for design that allows for the furniture, fabrics, and accessories to speak for themselves,” she explained. “White is a noncompete. It never asks for attention yet makes such a statement with its clean and crisp appeal. Some may consider this neutral palette a modern trend, but a white wall never goes out of style.”
Feeling inspired? Explore a similar look for your next project with these Pratt & Lambert shades, inspired by Shriber’s revamped Tribeca loft.