Inside a Designer’s Collected, Character-Filled Manhattan Home
If the objects inside a home tell a story and lend character, then interior designer Philip Mitchell’s Manhattan apartment is a character-filled storyteller with few equals.
While most New Yorkers consider streamlining an essential part of living in the city, Philip and his husband, Mark, took the opposite approach, filling the one-bedroom home with their numerous collections of art, antique and inherited furnishings, and trinkets that span styles and eras.
The couple has a contemporary apartment in Toronto and a historic lieutenant’s house on the coast of Nova Scotia, and they split their time evenly among the three homes.
For their New York home they had specific requirements. It needed to have easy access to the D&D Building and LaGuardia Airport and to be close to a park for their two dogs.
“We tried to make it a moment,” Philip says of the apartment’s petite entry. “The acid-green painting is shocking when you open the door, but it’s only for a second, and then you move into the rest of the space.” The art contrasts with the marble-top French console below, on which a faux-shagreen box holds keys and dog leashes to be quickly grabbed before walking out the door.
They landed on a charming prewar corner unit in the Upper East Side—the smallest of all the spaces they saw—with sweeping views of Central Park and Madison Avenue and plenty of architectural charm.
Ganaraskan pups Jacob and Wylo travel everywhere with Philip and Mark and are allowed free rein in all their homes—including on bespoke furnishings and family antiques. “The animals are animals. They’re there. We love them. If you want to use a beautiful silk fabric and you have a pet, it doesn’t mean you can’t have it,” Philip says. “Just know it’s not indestructible and that means you’re going to have to replace it sooner rather than later.”
It was important to Philip that the apartment have a sense of history. His decorating ethos leans heavily on vintage designs and a classically eclectic aesthetic, so a space with well-appointed details was a must. “I like our rooms to feel collected and like you’ve always been there,” Philip says. “I love walking into a house and seeing a beautiful piece of fabric or carpet that’s worn. Maybe it’s tired, but it still has some life in it. There’s a story and layer of beauty attached to it.”
Opposite the printed sofa in the living room is a small sitting area, where an English chest serves as a side table and provides extra storage for linens. The printed grass-cloth wallpaper is from Thibaut and serves as a neutral, textured backdrop for the eclectic mix of art and accents in the space.
An assortment of Murano glass paperweights, which Philip has been accumulating since he was a child, is one of the many colorful collections that live within the apartment.
The custom sofa and sectional in the living room are dressed in neutral fabrics to accommodate a host of mix-and-match pillows, which include embroidered vintage finds along with designs from Bunny Williams Home and Brunschwig & Fils.
The dining alcove, which has been turned into a home office, features a well-stocked bar cart—an important addition given how much they entertain at home.
English marquetry and trinket boxes, along with a pair of Yayoi Kusama lacquered pumpkins, fill the coffee table in the living room. Occasionally Philip will clear everything off and use the table as a drawing board, since the room receives plenty of light.
Philip and Mark maximized space in the bedroom by implementing storage under the bed and using bedside tables with drawers. Instead of having lamps take up room on the nightstands, the bed is framed by twin sconces from Urban Electric.
Like the rest of the apartment, the bedroom is filled with pieces from Philip and Mark’s vast art collection. The porcelain Nymphenburg rhinoceros housed in an acrylic case is a particular favorite. “It’s a traditional old thing treated like a modern sculpture,” Philip says.
An antique chest with an onyx top that is more than 200 years old holds bedroom essentials. A Czechoslovakian crystal lamp topped with a hand-painted shade sits among more artwork and collected trinkets.
via: One Kings Lane