Story credits her childhood, helmed by art-obsessed parents, for her wanderlust and collecting proclivity. Having grown up in Asia and then suburban Houston—her father is in the oil business; her mother was a museum curator—the appreciation for “an eclectic mix of furnishings and finishes” came early on, she says, pointing to Laotian lacquered pumpkins on a grasshopper-shaped wicker table.
Upstairs—with its fully equipped gym, infrared sauna, and cold-plunge ice bath—the third floor is now an oasis for the self-proclaimed fitness obsessive. Its living area, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Pink Innocence, is reflected in a blown-glass mirror by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert over the mantel. The vivid aerie contrasts with the neighboring “working kitchen,” where all of the family’s meals are prepared, a walnut-paneled jewel box with a vintage Knoll dining set below a George Nelson pendant.
While limited structural work was done during the acquisition of the various apartments, the amalgamation of floors four and five in 2007 was an exception. In the family room of that combined space, a large Daniel Richter painting of the Afghan mountains covers most of the bookshelves along one wall. Nearby, a lineup of carved-wood monks from Thailand keeps watch, and almost every surface in between is dotted with little silver, ceramic, and stone curiosities of disparate origins. The eat-in kitchen, punctuated by Jonas Wood’s graphic French Open, is the scene of daily meals around a painted elm table. The couple’s bedroom next door is the backdrop for family movie nights. There, two paintings of Story, one by Will Cotton and the other by Ragnar Kjartansson, complement works by Yoshitomo Nara, Friedrich Kunath, and Alison Blickle.
Crowning the address, the fifth floor is accessed by a sculptural spiral staircase, and it includes skylights that illuminate this domain. Formerly comprising three studios, this warren of rooms—including a red Morocco-inspired bath—feels appropriately relaxed but no less artfully adorned.
Unlike the designer’s other houses—a pristine compound on a 500-acre spread in Texas Hill Country (AD, April 2014), a gut-renovated 1874 High Victorian Gothic estate on the Hudson River (AD, November 2016), and a newly acquired pied-à-terre in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés—the Gramercy Park abode is a mille-feuille of Story’s unrestrained personal aesthetic. And that, she insists, comes down to the abundance of one defining feature.
“I think a home feels empty if you don’t have art. And it’s not all expensive art—it can be paintings your children have done,” muses Story, whose new book on the subject, The Art of Home, will be published by Rizzoli this fall. “Sometimes you go to someone’s home and they don’t really have that, and you feel like something’s missing…. It’s having some whimsy and color and magic on your walls. That’s home.”
This story appears in AD’s June 2023 issue. To see this Gramercy Park home in print, subscribe to AD.