When interior designer Ariel Okin kicks off each project, she begins with a creative brief meeting, as is typical of her profession. There, she sits down with her client for hours to ascertain what it is they want from their impending project. “We really dive into what they love about inspiration images that they [pulled], what they don’t love, [prospective] color palette, which textiles that we should be focusing on,” says Okin. In the kickoff meeting for a recent remodel on Riverside Drive, the aesthete uncovered a challenge: a couple in which she, a fashion veteran, loves vibrant textiles and patterns whereas he, a connoisseur of the film industry, prefers a neutral palette—”nothing too busy.”
Despite their aesthetic differences, the couple shares a mutual respect for design. So Okin created a haven for maximalists and minimalists alike. That meant, “keeping the walls white and the majority of the palette creamy, neutral, and textured, but then adding in these textiles in the form of pillows, or bedding, or carpeting,” she explains. At first glance the living room skews loud in its design with ikat textiles and oxblood hues. However, strip the accessories, pillows, and artwork away, and you have a simple assortment of whites and woods. Another highlight from the clients, they collect. “It’s not just the textiles that make it feel layered. It’s the books they’ve been collecting for years, the artwork, the little accessories,” she muses. “All of that stuff kind of comes together to make it feel special, and layered, and like them.”
Aside from the delicate work of selecting textiles, Okin also had to ensure the physical space fit their needs. With the help of Chad Smith from Smith & Architects, they essentially took the prewar co-op down to the studs—all of which they did during the height of COVID-19. In reconstructing the home, Okin added patinated elements like reclaimed wood beams (a few of which were there originally) to contrast the stark white walls and fresh kitchen cabinets. Now, each room in the apartment serves multiple functions. The living room is a place to lounge as a family, but also serves the function of dining room, office, and library. (Oh and there’s a piano squished somewhere in there.) The kitchen houses all the traditional elements—stove, counter space, island—but encloses a breakfast nook that entertained online schooling throughout the pandemic. Now, it’s a homework table, as well.
Between the two clients, they have two children—one who is there full-time, the other comes and goes—and a Cavapoo who joined the family over the pandemic. (Think: Yours, Mine, & Ours but on a New York scale.) With heavy input from each daughter taken into consideration, Okin created bedrooms and a shared bathroom that will hopefully evolve with the girls. Patterns on the girls’ bedding subtly ties the kid-friendly bedrooms in with the rest of the space. “It makes me happy seeing younger families embracing color, pattern, and life,” says Okin, :things that make your home feel really special and unique to you.” Though most of these components can be attributed to Okin and her clients’ creative input, there’s one element she never had to touch: the river views. Continue scrolling to discover more details on how this space that boasts eclecticism in moderation came together.