Ultimate Home Tour: The Library

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Penny Drue Baird transformed what was once a run-of-the-mill rectangular foyer into a grand entranceway and library. The designer removed the room’s harsh right angles, creating an oval-shaped space with concealed doors that open only when a secret lever is pulled. The room represents a major departure for the sedate Park Avenue apartment. “It’s traditional with a twist,” says Baird. “The clients never imagined anything like this. They were moving into this new space for pleasure. It wasn’t a change of size or scale; it was just for fun. So I wanted to give them something spectacular.”

Upon entering the room, it is difficult to distinguish the real from the faux. Decora created the leather bookbindings for the decorative books, which not only cover the doors but also conceal such unsightly items as the stereo. “Before the remodel it was a very simple apartment lacking charm,” says Baird. “But now there’s a surprise around every corner.” The tufted leather double settee, found at an antiques store on London’s Pimlico Road, provides a strategically placed conversation piece; the lanterns, from a Paris flea market, are reflected in the floor-to-ceiling mirror. “I’m a firm believer that an environment should set a stage to live life on,” says Baird. “Visitors just faint when they enter. And my clients always get an especially great reaction at Halloween from trick-or-treaters.”


Penny Drue Baird, Dessins


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