William McIntosh Designs a SoHo Home
In a Jean Nouvel building in SoHo, William McIntosh custom tailors a sophisticated modern interior for a young client most at home with shades of gray.
By Judith Nasatir
Let's talk about the bachelor pad, that signifier of the single alpha male. For a show of career status-and an investment in life, well lived-it's hard to top a made-to-measure residence in a starchitect's jazzy-but-contextually-sensitive building in one of Manhattan's uber-hip downtown neighborhoods. This one-bedroom apartment with a study in Jean Nouvel's red- and blue-glass-detailed crystalline landmark in SoHo, debonairly designed by William McIntosh, certainly meets those criteria. More important, thanks to McIntosh's very smart tailoring-explored via old-school hand renderings-it fits its client, founder of a medical hedge fund, like another symbol of arrival: a bespoke suit.
McIntosh notes that the apartment's enviable features include fine, if close-in views from both exposures, with SoHo's cast-iron structures to the south and brickwork on the west. Among its few drawbacks? "Every single space in the apartment has odd proportions," he says. Solving that problem is where he went to town oh-so-strategically. To break down the scale and correct the proportions
of each space, McIntosh used precisely crafted dark walnut millwork, asymmetrically draped curtains of gray worsted wool, custom-knotted wool-and-silk rugs, and walls painted a unifying gray (the client's favorite color) to match the window frames throughout.
McIntosh elaborates: "We wanted to go in and almost surgically insert the millwork. We have done this on a number of occasions. I like it because it introduces 'architecture' and material into the space and it's a much cleaner installation process than typical construction. The carpets mimic the taut curves of the millwork forms. The arcs move your eye through the space in a longer line, which increases the perceived size of the room."
The entry, an awkward 30 feet by 12 feet by 12 feet, seems to center on a welcoming chaise from B&B Italia; the asymmetrical curtain cascade compensates for the window's odd size and shoehorned placement. For the living room, McIntosh has selected what he terms "rather sober furnishings"-visually substantial designs primarily from Holly Hunt—and grouped them classically to "reflect the owner's composed personality and the formality of the window wall." The dining area occupies a choice corner, framed by enviable close-ups of SoHo's characteristic structures. The bedroom is a luxe, macho cocoon, with a leather-upholstered wall and wall-to-wall silk carpet. All in all, thanks to McIntosh, this is one bachelor pad that's beyond well dressed for success.