More is More is More

More is More is More


More is More is More - Today's Maximalist Interiors - Carl Dellatore

More is More is More:

Today’s Maximalist Interiors

by Carl Dellatore
Photography by Gross & Daley

Gissler-West Village Maisonette-Dining Room- New York Interior Designer

“This graciously scaled dining room in Greenwich Village had everything one might want in a proper dining room-but no window. That limitation became the germ of an idea. We commissioned artist Kevin Paulsen to paint a fantastical all -encompassing landscape mural where history meets contemporary imagination. The result is a room that offers more of a view than a mere window could ever provide.”


Introspective Magazine




See the High-Style 1970s Home of a Renowned New York Preservationist

by Glenn Gissler
Photography by Joshua McHugh

We offer the first public peek at a Joe D’Urso–designed Upper West Side apartment that hasn’t been touched in 40 years — and discover the many lessons both the space and its owners, Arlene and Bruce Simon, have to teach.

Joe D’Urso — a pioneer of forward-looking, minimalist modernism — designed the apartment of Bruce and Arlene Simon on New York’s Upper West Side more than 40 years ago. Thanks to the Simons’ careful upkeep — she’s a well-known preservation advocate — it remains a study in sleek black, white and gray. Top: For the dining room, D’Urso created a modular table system (one leaf hangs from the wall when not in use, looking like an Ad Reinhardt painting deployed as bulletin board), and he added chairs in the style of Marcel Breuer’s 1920s Cesca design.

Even in the analog days of the 1970s, word traveled fast about a certain emerging and remarkably talented interiors star. His name was Joe D’Urso, and he was shaking up the design world.

I still remember the first time I saw his work, just after I graduated from high school and 10 years before I would start a design practice of my own. It was in Architectural Digest’s November/December 1976 issue, which featured a New York City home D’Urso had reinvented as an exemplar of High Tech design, the extreme minimalistmodernindustrial style that had become his signature. The Upper West Side apartment was unlike anything I had ever seen or imagined.

The space, located at the top of a West 67th Street Gothic-revival atelier building, was a four-bedroom duplex belonging to prominent labor lawyer Bruce Simon and his wife, Arlene Simon, a childrenswear designer who in 1985 would cofound the trailblazing neighborhood preservation group LandmarkWest!. In creating the apartment’s design, D’Urso used the most limited palette of colors and materials and the fewest pieces of furniture possible. He covered the floors in nearly black commercial-grade carpeting of a sort not usually associated with residential design, contrasting its dark hue and low, nubby texture with smooth high-gloss white paint. This he used on every paintable surface, from the wood paneling and balusters to the built-in cabinets, doors, walls, beams and ceilings.

His design for the home’s soaring main space, a double-height living room overlooked by a balcony originally intended to accommodate musical performances, felt radically new.

He furnished the space sparsely, with a few blocky, rolling black-Formica coffee tables and a couple of low-slung woven chairs set on a high carpeted platform. That plinth was one of several he created to break up and define various sections of the room, using one as a sofa, another as a daybed, and one even as a table. To help balance out the cavernous volume, D’Urso suspended a large split-leaf philodendron on wires from the ceiling, and Arlene added black canvas pillows to the extended built-in sofa, with more on the daybed near the fireplace.

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Maximum Glamour

by Cara Greenberg 

A sophisticated duplex is a designer’s repository of art and antiques, a haven for its owner and a splendid space for entertaining


When interior designer Glenn Gissler went apartment hunting six years ago, the longtime Manhattanite had been to Brooklyn very few times before. He was astounded by the charm and amenities he found in the upper duplex of a circa 1890 row house in central Brooklyn Heights. “The apartment exceeded my list of ‘must haves,’” Gissler says, recalling his initial reaction: “You mean I can have all this—two floors, a fireplace, a washer-dryer and a terrace—ten minutes from Greenwich Village?!”

Now, furnished and decorated with what Gissler calls a “collage of art and artifacts,” the two-bedroom co-op is even more enviable. Sleek and cozy, modern and historic at the same time, it comprises a book-lined dining room, kitchen and guest room on the lower level, and two rooms with beamed ceilings, reminiscent of a Paris stelier. And who wouldn’t want to wake up to a view of a terrace filled with greenery?

Gissler’s atmospheric apartment, filled with intriguing places representing styles and periods from antiquity to the present day, is “a distillation of the designer’s development over the past three decades,” as the designer’s website puts it. Every item, from millicl-old clay pots to a Swedish mid-century lamp resembling a meteorite, from a Keith Haring poster given to Gissler by the artist at an anti-nukes demonstration his first summer in New York to framed childhood drawings by his now-teenage daughter, reflects who he is (an eBay addict, to be sure) and where he comes from. “Their cash value is irrelevant,” he says. “It’s whether it speaks to me.”


It was inevitable that Gissler would end up living in a vintage house (he also owns a 1840s farmhouse on eight aces in Connecticut). He saved his first building at the age of 18—a Gilded Age Milwaukee mansion he rescued by convincing his father, then an editor of Milwaukee’s largest daily newspaper, to write an opinion piece embarrassing the bankers who had refused to lend $200,000 to a preservation group to buy the building and keep it from destruction. The banks changed their tune and the Pabst Mansion still stands as a historic house museum.

At 19, as an interior design student at the University of Wisconsin, Gissler joined the board of the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Later, while earning an architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, he lived in Providence’s College Hill Historical District for three years and found it a formative experience. “Walking home on a snowy night along 18th century brick sidewalks with gas lights was like a delirious dream,” he says.

Part way through his education, Gissler decided that historic preservation was not his calling. “The thing I found frustrating about historic preservation is you choose a date and time and freeze it. That wasn’t complex enough to keep me interested as a career.” After graduation, he veered toward interior design, retaining his special interest in historic architecture. “You have to think cleverly about how to insert a contemporary life into an old building and respect its historic character,” he says.

Gissler followed early stints in the New York offices of renowned designer Juan Montoya and architect Rafael Vinholy by founding Glenn Gissler Design in 1987. The four-person boutique firm has a portfolio of projects including residences in Manhattan, Westchester, New Jersey, Long Island, Florida and Martha’s Vineyard. Active in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Gissler recently served two years as president of the New York Metro chapter.

A designer’s own home probably says more about his or her taste than any project for clients. Gissler’s is masculine and low lit, with deep, rich wall color–glossy green in the kitchen and chocolate brown upstairs. Large-scale pieces of tailored furniture—not too many—provide comfort without clutter. Collected objects from design movements from Arts and Crafts to Steampunk are arrayed on the mantle and on tabletops, while framed art, including many contemporary works on paper, line the walls, the white mattes contrasting smartly with the dark paint colors.

When Gissler took over the apartment it was inn pretty decent shape, down to the “well-built kitchen cabinets” that contributed to his decision to purchase. He didn’t need to renovate but made a few of what he calls “architectural corrections.” Chief among them was “un-kitchening the kitchen,” which sits in the middle of the apartment’s lower level. The entry door opens right into it, and Gissler did all in his power to minimize the room’s utilitarian qualities and makes it as glamorous as the adjacent dining room. He painted the cabinets as high-gloss “murky green” and replaced their glass panels with mirrored wire glass that disguises their contents. The island top is an elegant slab of dark green granite suggested by the color of the existing Eastlake-stye fireplace. When Gissler entertains, as he frequently does for up to 40 guests, the kitchen island becomes a glittering bar.

In other tweaks, Gissler shifted the door to the downstairs guest room for greater privacy and more storage space, hung curtains on hospital-type tracks to completely enclose the dining room for intimate dinners, and added beams to the ceiling int he cozy upstairs sitting rom so it wouldn’t look “denuded” next to the bedroom, which had already beamed before Gissler came along.

The apartment gave Gissler abundant opportunities to deploy designers’ trade secrets, like replacing the recessed lights in the kitchen ceilings with surface- mounted fixtures with simple cone shades and lining the window frames with mirrored panels to bring in every ray of available sunlight. His dark wall colors are perhaps surprising in an apartment measuring only 1,250 square feet, but Gissler is not a believer in the oft-quoted maxim that light colors make spaces feel bigger. “Brighter, yes,” he says. “Not bigger.”

Gissler uses all his rooms to the fullest. The main challenge of living in a row house designed for 19th century living is “figuring out how to use the spaces in a way that makes sense for the 21st century,” he says. “Town-houses have challenges and opportunities.” Gissler has certainly made the most of both.

Story: Cara Greenberg
Photography: Matthew Williams
Styling: Vanessa Vazquez

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