Reinvented Tradition – Park Avenue

Upper East Side – Park Avenue

Reinvented Tradition

This expansive Carnegie Hill apartment, just steps from The Guggenheim Museum and Central Park, is owned by a couple who have called it their home for nearly four decades. They raised their two children here and have entertained a multitude of friends and family over time.

With the children grown and having moved on to create their own lives, this couple was ready to redecorate the public and private rooms. With a penchant for traditional design and an interest in having their home feel fresh again, they contacted Glenn Gissler Design.

In our initial meetings, my clients shared their appreciation for jewel tones, which informed our palette, as set against warm and cool neutrals that serve as a backdrop. And while virtually all the furniture and furnishings–new, vintage, and antique–were fresh acquisitions for this apartment, we chose pieces that echo our clients’ taste for classical aesthetics.

When the installation was complete, one of my client’s longtime friends came to visit, offering her the ultimate compliment: “It’s beautiful, and while everything is different, I see YOU in all of it!” Glenn Gissler Design considers it a compliment, too.

Glenn Gissler - Sharpe Nyack - New York State

A vibrant canvas by the late American abstract impressionist painter John Opper takes pride of place in the apartment’s gracious living room. Two deep-seated sofas are upholstered in lush blue velvet, with a pair of club chairs covered in a Zak & Fox textile and two Regency-style benches covered in paprika-hued velvet. The curtains were tailored from a Cowtan & Tout floral fabric.


In the living room, a custom basketweave pattern area rug carpet in shades of sandstone grounds the space with a subtle rhythmic geometry. In the foreground, a ceramic vessel by Pablo Picasso rests atop a Paul Frankl table from the 1930s. The cheerful brick-colored glazed ceramic lamp, one of a pair, is mid-20th century from France.


Across the entry gallery, we placed an Aesthetic Movement console table, replete with Wedgewood cameos ringing the apron. The gilded Neoclassical mirror was part of the homeowner’s collection. A pair of mahogany side chairs flank the console, resting atop a custom carpet with a stylized double–helix border. The pale blue ceiling balances the warm tones perfectly.


On one side of the entry gallery, a pair of lyrical metal sconces recall the work of Alberto Giacometti, bathing the space in an amber glow. Hanging between them is a minimalist work on paper by Ellsworth Kelly. The bench is a custom piece Glenn Gissler Design created for the room; it is covered in a Studio Four fabric and is detailed with brass sabots capping the legs. A small ball-and-stick Aesthetic Movement table from the late 19th century completes the tableau.


A handsome console table and a pair of vintage chairs greet guests in the apartment’s elevator vestibule. The framed vintage black and white photographs of life in New York City in the late 1940s are by Arthur Leipzig are from the client’s collection.

Divers, East River, 1948
Chalk Games, 1950
Stickball, 1950.

The dining room walls, and adjacent seating area, are upholstered in a cabbage rose-patterned fabric from Cowtan & Tout; the walls absorb noise and provide perfect acoustics for lively conversations. The wall pattern informed the color choices for the cabinet insets and the upholstered dining chairs, which are backed in a Venetian-inspired textile from Le Gracieux. The Regency-style dining table, which we restored, expands to accommodate larger parties.


The curious, almost Aztec-like face on Pablo Picasso’s “Visage dans un carré” plate, 1956,  peers into the dining room from the center of the built-in cabinetry.


Across from the dining room is an informal seating area with gracefully tailored upholstered pieces covered in textured neutrals. A built-in desk at the far end provides space for writing notes or answering emails. Sheer Roman shades diffuse the afternoon light.


A charming home office was fashioned off one corner of the blue bedroom, stylishly defined from the larger space by a portiere curtain. The striped Roman shade, desk chair, and window seat are all made from Cowtan & Tout fabrics.


A shade of barely-there blue paint wraps the perimeter of this peaceful bedroom. The photo by Mary Ellen Bartley sets a calming aesthetic. The undulating chandelier provides overhead light, while a pair of crackle-glazed lamps perched atop a pair of mahogany nightstands, illuminate for pre-slumber reading. The decorative pillows are covered in textiles from Kravet.

Senior Designer Craig Strulovitz
Photos by Gross & Daley