How to Transform a Bachelor Pad into a Bright Family Home
Designer Ashley Darryl shows us how she designed one living room three ways
It's a New York City tale as old as time: boy finds apartment, after a while, boy moves into more reasonably sized space, boy meets girl, boy and girl find new apartment. Such was the case for one local bachelor, who enlisted a friend, the New York–based interior designer Ashley Darryl, to help him along each step of the way. "Being an interior designer is like being an artist," says Darryl. "You have a vision and you start painting the canvas for your client. It's so rewarding creating something special for someone that is one-of-a-kind and they can enjoy every day."
The journey began on Wooster Street, in a one-bedroom apartment where Darryl created a refined bachelor pad with all the trappings of a modern-day Mad Men set. A streamlined B&B Italia sofa outfitted in charcoal linen and velvet piping became the centerpiece of an eclectic yet classic living room, complete with a pair of vintage Milo Braughman chairs and a petrified-wood end table by the organic furniture-maker Andrianna Shamaris. It's a fitting example of Darryl's "disciplined eclectic" approach to design, which mixes vintage classical items with contemporary art and furnishings. An adjacent study area takes a more minimalist approach thanks to a lucite-and-steel desk found through an antiques dealer and industrial-style metal shelving. It was just as Darryl was finalizing the details in the space that her client broke the news to her: he had found another, larger place to live, as New Yorkers so frequently do, and the process would start anew. While most would balk at such a quick turnover, Darryl felt energized. "I was excited and very much looking forward to the challenge," she says.
That the new apartment, this time on West Broadway, was nearly twice the size of the first didn't faze her. "All of the furniture transitioned really nicely," Darryl says. "All we needed to do was add a few more pieces and build on the existing furniture." So she moved the chairs that were in the Wooster Street study to the dining area, where they sat around a large metal table that came with the space. She added a custom two-toned club chair from the New Traditionalists into the mix and finished the room with a vintage Paul Evans coffee table. "That was the most challenging thing in all three apartments," says Darryl. "Nothing felt special enough to my client until I showed him that table."
The table—and the itinerant sofa and armchairs—became key components in Darryl's next assignment: a new apartment on Lafayette Street for her client's expanding family. To brighten the space, making it more kid-friendly, Darryl replaced the antique rug in the living room with a graphic gray floor covering from Carini Lang; a plaid-patterned love seat in a coordinating color scheme helped tie the palette together while maintaining a masculine, menswear-influenced element in the room. With the finishing details in place, one thing is clear: Darryl's clients won't be moving again anytime soon.