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APRIL / MAY 2010
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N OLITA PROJECT Craving a new challenge, interior designer Nick Olsen revives a dark, cramped apartment to create a bold, Chinese-influenced escape T Written by Shawn Gauthier Photography by Patrick Cline Art Direction by Michelle Adams Olsen doesn’t shy away from detail. After lacquering his entire living room, kitchen, and entryway in high-gloss red, he applied red piping to his reupholstered couch to tie in the element. Instead of simply painting his floor black, he added the geometric design, hand-painting the pattern himself. 175 Lonny wo years ago, interior designer Nick Olsen got the itch for a new venture. Without further ado, he sold all his belongings (save a few select pieces) and relocated from his Flatiron District studio to a Nolita one bedroom, swapping high ceilings and elegant architectural details for a dingy, dark apartment with a choppy layout and uneven flooring. Olsen was thrilled. “The apartment was the complete opposite from what I’d had before. I took it as an opportunity to do something quirky and intense, like an over-the-top jewel box on a smaller scale.” Not an unusual stance for Olsen; close friends have referred to his aesthetic as “maximalist,” to which Olsen agrees: “I’m not completely extremist,” he says, “but I don’t do things halfway, and I’m never restrained in my decorating.” With a keen interest in history, he creates spaces that are a modern marriage of yesterday and today; his general style is largely contemporary, while always maintaining a strong foothold in the past. “Ancient pieces have a grounding effect for me; if a space is without anything historical, it just feels too new,” says Olsen, who works to incorporate Greek sculptures and motifs or Roman busts. april • may 2010 april • may 2010 Lonny 176