High above Manhattan,this Jamie Drake–designed penthouse is anything but a shrinking violet.
When it was coined in 1889, the word sporty meant sportsmanlike. But by the 1960s, the term also had become associated with the look of sports cars—fast, flashy, sleek—and not long thereafter it took on a certain fashion sense, connoting a trim, fitted, and confidently youthful aesthetic. So when interior designer Jamie Drake describes the couple who hired him to outfit this spacious one-bedroom loft in New York City as “casual and sporty in nature,” he is suggesting they are more Roberto Cavalli chic than Brooks Brothers classic.
Indeed, this is a principal reason people flock to Drake, arguably the premier colorist designer of our day: His fashionableness infuses even his most traditional interiors. Moreover, his clients admire the modernist lens through which he filters his comprehensive knowledge of fine- and decorative-arts history.
This home is Drake’s second project with a thirtysomething pair who, he notes, “wanted more space and, very specifically, outdoor space.” To that end, the couple purchased an apartment near the previous residence he had designed for them. The new penthouse duplex measured 4,500 square feet and featured expansive terraces on the upper level and roof that provided an additional 1,150 square feet. “It’s perched atop an industrial warehouse building erected in the 1920s,” he says. “The views are stunning, with three aspects, facing east, west, and south.”
Fortuitously, Drake recalls, “the apartment had been renovated by previous owners in an excellent way, utilizing high-end finishes and superb details. We built upon that.” Their updates had included elegant honed travertine marble in the dining area, a green marinace marble floor in the master suite, Macassar ebony paneling in the library, and cerused oak millwork in the master bedroom. Drake edited some of these down, removing portions of the ebony to make the library feel brighter, and creating upholstered panels to break up the oak in the master, imparting a suppler couture sensibility.
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