Renovating an outdated Park Avenue apartment with custom mosaic and stone tile
Turning a house into a home
There are all different types of apartments in New York City. Whether they’re located in an older structure or newer contemporary tower, all residences require improvements at some point in time. For one couple, the possibilities were seemingly endless when it came to the remodeling of their Park Avenue apartment, which was redesigned to reflect a more modern vibe.
“The clients sought a contemporary, light-filled apartment with an easy flow throughout the space,” explained Gus Morpurgo, principal of Morpurgo Architects in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ. “They were involved in the design process, but they placed great trust in our aesthetic sensibility, since we had worked with them on another home before designing their apartment.”
The homeowners also enlisted the help of interior designers, Karen Weisberg and Janet Wexler of Planned Space, Inc. in Greenwich, CT, who helped design the couple’s others homes. “The apartment was completely redone. It was exciting to start with a new palette,” said Weisberg. “We wanted it contemporary, easy to maintain and all spaces utilized to maximum usage for the homeowners that have out-of-town children and grandchildren visiting.”
The homeowners were heavily involved in the design process, accompanying Weisberg to several showrooms to select the specific tiles that were used for the project. In all, approximately 2,300 square feet of custom tile from Artistic Tile was used for the walls and floors in the kitchen, foyer and four bathrooms.
Creating a contemporary haven
In the kitchen, iridescent 2 1/3- x 9 ½- x ½-inch ceramic tiles from the Kyoto collection were used to construct the two backsplashes in a darker navy blue. Aptly named for the former imperial capital of Japan, the Kyoto collection is organically born of unrefined clays, creating a roughly textured glazed surface. Every brick-shaped tile of the collection is unique, with some pieces incorporating flecks of blue or brown from the mineral content.
In the adjacent foyer, 16- x 16- x 3/8-inch interlocking sheets of one of Artistic Tile’s waterjet patterns, Horta, were used for the floor in the colorway “Crème.” Inspired by curvilinear botanical forms, these tiles utilize ancient, hand-placed mosaic techniques to create a delicate flowing pattern, with 3/16-inch-wide intricately curved tracery and variably sized dots. The design features a background of polished Crema Marfil limestone and waterjet-cut dots in various tones of warm beige, which are accented by gray and gold pencil veins, along with polished Thassos snow white marble lines.
The use of waterjet patterns and mosaics were carried into the bathrooms, which were each designed with a different color scheme. The main powder room embraces a brighter aesthetic, with a white polished waterjet pattern. Danse Blanc, inspired by the wafting silk drapes in a Venetian villa, offers a muddled classic and contemporary look. Ribbons of Calacatta Gold marble flow against a polished Thassos snow white marble background, accented by soft gray and gold strokes.
His and hers
For the master bathroom, the homeowners took a new approach to the prevalent his-and-hers concept. Instead of constructing one shared bathroom for the two of them, they opted for one personalized bathroom each. For the husband’s bathroom, the Vestige collection was employed on the floors in a custom 12- x 24-inch format; a smaller format was utilized on the walls and shower floor. Cloud Limestone was implemented in a vein-cut pattern, which incorporates soft shades of gray and subtle linear veining. All tiles in the collection embrace a brushed textural finish that highlights the inherent variation in hardness within the stones, resulting in a recessed background.
For the wife’s bathroom, a more neutral palette was selected to highlight the detail of the intricate mosaic on the walls. For two feature walls, Artistic Tile’s Estrella Be Bop White hand-crafted glass mosaic was used in a glossy finish, which emulates the look of Button Pom flowers. To complement the sharper points of the Estrella pattern, a smaller, square-shaped stone mosaic was utilized on the shower floors. Pacific White Broken Joint Polished Mosaic, inspired by the subtle tones of Carrara marble, was used in 12- x 12- x 3/8-inch sheets; irregular broken edges and offset joints provide an ancient look.
A fresh new space
The guest bathroom, where the ongoing stone and mosaic theme concludes, features a darker color palette, with varying shades of beige and brown. The walls are clad in a textured 12- x 24- x ½-inch inch tile from Artistic Tile’s Raked collection which evokes the rugged textures of old Jerusalem with its long, sweeping lines. The beige-colored stone, Hlila, was used.
For the floors, 18- x 36- x 3/8-inch polished tiles from the Sahara Porcelain collection were utilized in the color “Sahara Brown;” the horizontally etched lines of Raked on the walls add a nice touch of linear detail to this polished stone design.
To balance the color scheme, a multi-colored stone mosaic tile was utilized for the tub surround, shower niche and feature wall. Artistic Tile’s Latitudes collection, which incorporates ultra-thin, vertical rectangular pieces on 4- x 12- x 3/8-inch sheets, was implemented in “Southern Hemisphere,” a combination of beige stones on brown cement; a honed finish was selected for a subtle contrast. The collection has since been discontinued.
In addition to a wide range of products from Artistic Tile, the renovation also features custom details designed by Morpurgo, including curved walls and cabinetry, and subtle lighting. “The complete renovation took around eight months,” said Morpurgo, who explained the most important reaction to the project since its completion. “A very satisfied client.”
“The homeowners are gloriously happy and everybody who has seen it is in awe, especially of the wife’s bathroom because of the mosaic walls, which are amazing,” added Weisberg.