The Chelsea Pied-à-Terre Apartment is an East Coast home for a professional couple who permanently reside in Vancouver, British Columbia. Prior to the renovation, the post-war layout had a cramped enclosed kitchen isolated from the windowed living area. To address our client’s desire to have a robust working kitchen, we enlarged, opened, and reoriented the kitchen’s footprint to take advantage of the living room’s daylight. New pale oak herringbone and terrazzo large format tile floors define the living and kitchen/bathroom areas respectively.
Our clients also expressed a desire to bring some of the lush natural landscape from southwestern Canada to mitigate downtown Manhattan’s concrete landscape. Unfortunately, we couldn’t literally accommodate a green living wall into the living areas. However, we reconsidered ‘landscape’ as a custom hand painted wall covering. By using a photo of Vancouver’s Stanley Park showing a golden sun streaming through a lush evergreen landscape, we developed our wall covering, which is a translation of this image–a gold leafed field that melds into a series of rich, saturated green tones.
Canopy beds like the Great Bed of Ware by Hans Vredeman de Vries traditionally had landscape references incorporated into their design. Using this example as a precedent, our custom wall covering is analogous to the canopy bed’s use of upholstery and hand carved embellishments which line the canopy and headboard wall. For our design, the gold-leafed ceiling creates a luminous canopy over the bed while the green field anchors the headboard wall. When privacy is not a concern, this room-sized architectural canopy bed becomes a visual focal point from the open living room. As needed, two large acid-etched glass doors close obscuring visual details while still allowing natural light to filter through the apartment’s different spaces.
Photography by David Mitchell.