A Serene Oasis in the Middle of New York City

Jarlath Mellett brings his fashion know-how to an airy space in downtown Manhattan.

The mirror above the fireplace was repurposed from an old wagon wheel. The chaise and couch are from ABC Carpet & Home. 
The mirror above the fireplace was repurposed from an old wagon wheel. The chaise and couch are from ABC Carpet & Home. 
Photography by Patrick Cline. Original text by Shawn Gauthier.

In the mid ’90s Jarlath Mellett, then the director of design at Brooks Brothers, put the storied American brand back on the map by making the colors bolder and the tailoring sleeker. But after two decades in fashion design, Mellett was ready for a change. “It was time for something new,” he says. 

"The apartment is located in the heart of SoHo," says Mellett. "It&squot;s classic New York." 
"The apartment is located in the heart of SoHo," says Mellett. "It's classic New York." 
Designer Jarlath Mellett.
Designer Jarlath Mellett.

                                                                        With that, Mellett entered the world of interiors. Although he's now dressing homes instead of people, his design approach holds steady. "I see interiors from a fashion-design standpoint," he says. "My aesthetic has a vintage twist in regard to the resources we use, but a fashion twist in how we put the house together. Even the stitching in our fabrics is often driven by fashion." 

Top right: Knoll chairs sit under a collection of black-and-white photography in the office. Mellett found the vintage boomerane coffee table in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Bottom left: Mellett chose a chaise in lieu of a second sofa to help the space feel more open. "It makes the whole area feel more conversational," he says. 
Top right: Knoll chairs sit under a collection of black-and-white photography in the office. Mellett found the vintage boomerane coffee table in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Bottom left: Mellett chose a chaise in lieu of a second sofa to help the space feel more open. "It makes the whole area feel more conversational," he says. 
A Serene Oasis in the Middle of New York City
From left to right: The vintage table is surrounded by stools from Calypso Home. "The client often gathers here with friends to play cards," says Mellett. He found the chandelier in Italy; the wax busts of Marie Antoinette and a grumpy Napoleon lend a playful sense of humor to the kitchen countertop; dishes from Mellett&squot;s shop are mixed with Australian kitchenware. 
From left to right: The vintage table is surrounded by stools from Calypso Home. "The client often gathers here with friends to play cards," says Mellett. He found the chandelier in Italy; the wax busts of Marie Antoinette and a grumpy Napoleon lend a playful sense of humor to the kitchen countertop; dishes from Mellett's shop are mixed with Australian kitchenware. 

Mellett cultivated his talent in his quiet hometown of Tipperary, Ireland. “Things weren’t easily available [in rural Ireland], so you had to invent them,” he says. “Imagination was all you had to work with.” Eventually, Mellett found his way to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. His interest in interiors surfaced while decorating his home in South Hampton. “I realized it was another way of expressing myself,” he says.

The wood table from ABC Carpet & Home brings a natural element to the dining space. The chairs are by Baxter. "Using all the same chairs felt predictable," says Mellett, "so instead we boke it up with several styles."
The wood table from ABC Carpet & Home brings a natural element to the dining space. The chairs are by Baxter. "Using all the same chairs felt predictable," says Mellett, "so instead we boke it up with several styles."
Customize Your Interiors with Tips from Jarlath

    

  • Create a montage

    with old family photos or letters, and use it to wallpaper your powder room or an accent wall. 

  • Patch together fashion

    fabrics from your grandmother's old coats to cover a chair or create a pillow or throw. 

  • Write family recipes

    or sayings on cabinets or chests. 

  • Cover a hallway

    or accent wall with your children's framed artwork. 

  • Embroider your bedding

    and pillows with meaningful words, such as the names of family members and friends or with special dates. 

Clockwise from top left: Mellett describes the master bedroom as "romantic and soft." Instead of an area rug, he layered several rugs throughout the space to add texture; the wallpaper, designed by Mellett, is reminiscent of French paneling. The chaires are covered in "fashion" leather; decorating the apartment was a collaborative effort between Mellett and his client, who chose the furnishings for the guest room; the client stores a collection of dishware, including Reichenbach silver-dipped teacups and Serax vases, in the glass-front hutch. 
Clockwise from top left: Mellett describes the master bedroom as "romantic and soft." Instead of an area rug, he layered several rugs throughout the space to add texture; the wallpaper, designed by Mellett, is reminiscent of French paneling. The chaires are covered in "fashion" leather; decorating the apartment was a collaborative effort between Mellett and his client, who chose the furnishings for the guest room; the client stores a collection of dishware, including Reichenbach silver-dipped teacups and Serax vases, in the glass-front hutch. 

Recently, the owners of a downtown loft in the heart of SoHo hired Mellett after visiting his design shop in the Hamptons. “The client works in fashion, so we had a common language,” he says. Outfitted in neutral tones, the space is both romantic and earthy, creating a balance between the feminine and masculine. Mellett calls the loft “a little dream.” “It’s something you would never expect walking into this apartment from the streets of SoHo,” he says. “It’s a feast for your eyes.”

Mellett created simple, modern lighting by encasing bare bulbs in glass fixtures. "We hung them in clusters to add a little swag," he says. A cowhide with silver detailing from France rounds out the room&squot;s decor. 
Mellett created simple, modern lighting by encasing bare bulbs in glass fixtures. "We hung them in clusters to add a little swag," he says. A cowhide with silver detailing from France rounds out the room's decor. 
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