An interior designer and fabricator collaborated on the renovation of a penthouse apartment in New York City
After purchasing a Manhattan penthouse apartment that was originally built in the 1980s, the new owner decided she wanted the entire place gutted. To undertake the demanding process, the homeowner hired Jonathan Mitnick, vice president of CCS Stone in Moonachie, NJ, and Ben Chasin, founder and president of Couture Interior Design International, Inc., located in New York City. “I am an interior designer and my crew builds the custom project,” said Chasin. “For this particular apartment, we gut renovated the entire space, we increased the ceiling height where possible, installed smart home technology for lighting and atmosphere control, and did cool features like instead of the conventional, we installed ‘invisible’ Sonos surround sound speakers in the ceiling, so you can hear them, but you can’t see them, and designed three luxurious bathrooms and a fabulous kitchen in full slabs of stone and porcelain.”
For the renovation, slabs of Calacatta Borghini marble, Dark Emperador marble and Stonepeak Calacatta Vena porcelain were selected. “Calacatta Borghini was used for most of horizontal surfaces and trim in the master bath and guest bathroom, and Dark Emperador was used in the powder room,” said Mitnick. “The Calacatta porcelain was used on horizontal and vertical surfaces in the master bathroom and the kitchen.”
Chasin, along with his creative colleague on the project, Sophie Moos, of Moos and Company, an international interior design firm, located in New York City, chose the Calacatta Borghini slabs, along with the other marble and porcelain selected in the project, after seeing them in CCS Stone’s facility. With that material in mind, Chasin developed an original design for the penthouse. “The only thing that remains in the place is the absolute infrastructure of the penthouse apartment,” said the designer. “We were able to increase the ceiling height by three feet of the apartment — giving it a great contemporary status. By doing so, and using those beautiful slabs of Calacatta Borghini, we were able to make it look amazing. We made it look one of a kind.”
When it came to fabricating the stone for the apartment, everything was mostly standard with a few exceptions. “In some areas, we used mitering techniques to make the ¼-inch porcelain and ¾-inch-thick Calacatta appear more dimensional,” said Mitnick. “Vein matching is always important on Calacatta, so we did that wherever possible, on both the porcelain and the marble.
“The powder room wall was waterjet cut to follow the designer’s sketch of a fragmented wall made from one slab,” Mitnick went on to say. “The result was very unique and creative.” All finishes for stone used in the project were polished, and CCS Stone employed many mitered porcelain edges and straight flat polish on the exposed marble edges.
“It was a new concept to the client to integrate porcelain and marble,” said Mitnick. “Frankly, it was a little new to me also. However I knew how to meet the client’s design expectations without blowing their budget, and this was the most notable part of this project.” The project required four men working at different times on the jobsite.
In the powder room of the penthouse project, the vessel sink was a special design created by Chasin. “Ben came into my office and made a sketch of what he wanted,” said Mitnick. “I prepared a shop ticket based on his concept, and we fabricated the sink from the same slab we used on the wall.”
It is a square sink with no visible drain,” said Chasin. “It is a sloped, inset basin angled just right that you cannot see the drain. It is very unique, something I took a lot of pride and care in designing.”
According to Mitnick, the project details were not completely drawn up architecturally, he had to coordinate certain details while the project was underway. “Jon interpreted my vision and solved the glitches,” said Chasin. “He can really help materialize it. He and I have a relationship that goes back many years, maybe that’s why he can bring my vision, sometimes a complicated one, to fruition.”
When each area of the project was ready, CCS Stone measured or templated the area and pieces were installed step by step. “There was great access to the building the client was very helpful in keeping the project moving and scheduling the work on a timely basis,” said Mitnick. “I enjoyed working with Ben; he has great creativity and understanding of construction.” Mitnick also said the advancements in alternative materials, such as porcelain and crystallized glass, have definitely impacted his business. “We’ve learned to adapt and teach ourselves how to work with these materials on our machines and hand stations, as well as educate our clients on these new options,” he said. “It’s important to find uses for these new products in order to complement natural stone and continue promoting the benefits of natural stone in every project.”
Interior Designer: Couture Interior Design International, Inc., New York City, NY; Moos & Company, New York City, NY
Installer/Fabricator: CCS Stone, Moonachie, NJ