Every eight-to-ten years, FOF design expert Karen Fisher revamps her Gramercy Park penthouse. Each design reflects a different stage in her life.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Karen was an editor of top style and design magazines, American Home and Women’s Wear Daily. Her apartment was decorated in a “European Country” style: Provencal gold walls, rich eggplant furniture and oriental rugs. “I wanted something showy,” says Karen. “I was dressing showier; I needed it more than I do now.”
In 1985, Karen started Designer Previews, a design matchmaking service that pairs residential and commercial clients with world famous designers. Shortly after, she decided her apartment needed a do-over to coincide with her new career. With a Rolodex of top decorators at her fingertips, Karen selected Clodagh to create an Armani-inspired haven. They chose taupe- and beige-colored Stucco Veneziano for her walls with furniture and accent pieces in grays, silvers and dark wood tones. “It’s contemporary and chic as hell,” she says. “I’m working with over 400 designers and overseeing 200 jobs–I don’t need any more pillows in my life.”
This year, Karen prepares to overhaul the 500 square-foot space yet again. What will it look like next? “I know it will have more contrast, dark floors, light walls, crisper color,” she says. “But sometimes it’s a surprise to me and that is the fun of decorating.”
Karen’s Take-Away Tips for Designing Small Spaces:
- -Work with a designer who shares your aesthetic, has a personality that you enjoy, and will spend your money in a way that meets your approval. Read Karen’s guide to hiring an interior designer here.
- -Think big, even with small space. In Karen’s own apartment, a low bookshelf in her living room allows for a large mirror, one she says normally would be used in a hotel lobby–not a NYC apartment.
- -For workspaces, try vertical slats instead of filing cabinets. You will find they keep loose papers more organized and provide easier access to books and files.
- -For small spaces, barn sliding doors take up less space than traditional doors.
- -It’s a misconception that a ceiling should always be painted white. The ceiling should be painted the same color as the wall to create the illusion of boundless space.
Photos by Katherine McPherson for faboverfifty.com