This surprising, 1,600-square-foot apartment is housed in a converted Greek Orthodox Church in New York City’s notable Greenwich Village neighborhood. The existing apartment space was usable, but the design was lacking. “The owner wanted a comfortable, relaxing environment, but also someplace he could work from. It was a bit of a scary challenge to take this project on while the owner was away on a business trip,” says Joe Human, of the New York City design studio Designs By Human. “But when he came back he said he loved the result and that the apartment felt like home.”The owner had several pop art pieces that Human used as a foundation for the design in the living spaces. “The colorful portraits needed to pop off the wall,” explains Human. “I found this wonderful black and white, polka dot pattern wallpaper, but it was difficult deciding on the right scale of the dots. We finally chose four-inch circles. The pattern is lively enough on its own, but works as a perfect backdrop for the paintings, allowing them to stand out.” Human used a lot of neutrals in the furnishings, but added accessories that picked up the colors in the art. The beige-linen sofa holds several pillows from West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Target, and a few custom designs.An aluminum, antique-style suitcase from Restoration Hardware is accented in wood and leather and serves as a coffee table, adding a light industrial feel. Human continued the theme with a suitcase-looking cabinet behind the sofa, a vintage leather case that belonged to the homeowner, and a small valise on a shelving unit in front of a perpendicular wall. Other charming accessories include a couple of ear trumpets; one from a thrift shop and one from Restoration Hardware.
on the patio.The owner often travels to Morocco on business, and Human wanted to incorporate some of the special lanterns he brought back into the decor. He found the perfect venue for these interesting pieces in the small patio off the living room. As is typical of New York apartment patios, there were design restrictions. “We were not allowed to drill through building surfaces and were only able to carry the design as high as the apartment,” explains Human. He mixed some handsome collectables with inexpensive papasan-style chairs from T.J. Maxx. A bright-blue rug from Wayfair offsets a concrete water fountain and a brass-like elephant, also from Wayfair. Details like Moorish lanterns, ornate and simple, and inexpensive pillows from Cost Plus and Wayfair, join living plant accents to make this space unique and sophisticated yet comfortable.
The outdoor patio and intimate bedroom contrast the kaleidoscopic living space design in this home. The patio offers an exotic feel and is reminiscent of the owner’s frequent trips to Morocco.
The owner’s pop art collection served as the inspiration for this NYC apartment design by designer Joe Human.
Human used dramatic details in this design. He utilized a combination of intense color, varied textures, classic pieces, modern furnishings, assorted metals, and contrasting window coverings. All elements work together comfortably and beautifully and help to emphasize the owner’s pop art portraits throughout this Greenwich Village apartment.Human created an informal work space behind the sofa with a small wood table and two sets of chairs. The red chairs, which the homeowner already had, pick up the color in the art; two stackable Lucite chairs disappear from sight, allowing the space to be useful yet uncomplicated. Custom draperies cover a large window for privacy and bring in unexpected tones of green, beige, and turquoise. Most other window treatments in the living area are minimal, without molding and with simple, dark-wood blinds.A long, thin hallway, leading from the living area to the kitchen, continues the polka dot pattern. In front of a large window, Human positioned two vintage rolling shelving units with a variety of antique and new accessories—bottles, books, and containers. The smaller windows opposite have dark-wood blinds.The kitchen creates a simple surround of dark and light. Human added interest to existing espresso-stained cabinets and marble countertops with unfinished copper counter-height stools that have custom cowhide cushions in black and white. Off the main cooking area is a formal dining space with beige-linen upholstered chairs. “The chairs are from Restoration Hardware and have intricately carved legs that bring an antique feel into the room,” says Human. Pop art and the polka dot wallpaper are carried from the hallway into the kitchen and offer a distinct alternative to the simple white walls.A lush, subtle-toned master bedroom offers a dramatic change from the brilliantly colorful living space. Human designed the graceful goblet pattern of the blue-and-gold grass cloth wallpaper. The ornate detail of the carved wood bed contrasts the delicate wallpaper and simple bedside table, creating a peaceful and regal retreat for the homeowner.Human says he could have followed the traditional path of pairing mostly neutrals such as white, beige, or gray with pops of color, but he chose to create a design that was almost all pops of color. By blending exciting patterns, colors, and textures with the homeowner’s favorite possessions, Human was able to create a space that feels effortless, like it’s exactly as it should be, like home.
WRITTEN BY CAROLYN M. RUNYON PHOTOGRAPHY BY COLBY EDWARDS