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Reno-Visions: Three Design Studios Reimagine a Renovation-Ready Pre-War Co-op


Certain estate-condition properties can be akin to a blank canvas—a perfect opportunity for the right buyer to wholly reimagine and personalize the space. For one such property on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Douglas Elliman agent Emily Margolin is providing some inspiration for prospective buyers to envision their very own masterpiece.

Occupying the entire frontage of a grand, pre-war building on 910 Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, the nearly 3,400-square-foot three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom co-op is a rare find.

“This is one of the best deals in the city, incomparable in square footage and located on one of the best corners of Manhattan at Central Park,” said Margolin. “But it needs a renovation.”

To help potential buyers “imagine how contemporary and magnificent this space can become,” she invited three “young, up-and-coming” interior design studios to offer three possible approaches.

“The idea of renovating can be daunting for buyers,” Margolin said. “I felt it would be fun to emphasize how in-step this space can be with modern lifestyles.”

The studios—Claire Margot Interiors, Lighthouse Curate Co. and Design Done Well—each provided a “mood board” presentation illustrating their unique visions for the space. The presentations, including statements from the designers, are below.

“Younger buyers don’t just want space,” Margolin said. “They want an asset, and they want to customize it.”

Now, thanks to these three design studios, they have some exceptional ideas for getting started.

Claire Margot Interiors

Claire Margot Interiors seeks to create functional spaces that are soulful and bring magic to your everyday.

The living room leans towards a modern style with its cleaner lines and shapes. The visually heavier furniture was selected intentionally to create a very grounded and comfy space. This is balanced out with lighter textures and organic lines. Pops of mid-century modern design choices such as the ceiling light adds dimension. Although connected, the dining room varies from the living room as it brings in a slight transitional feel with the table and chairs. It still feels connected with the living room through the gold light and abstract art.”

Claire Margot
Click to view mood board.

Lighthouse Curate Co.

Lighthouse Curate Co.
Click to view mood board.

I’m Courtney Light with Lighthouse Curate Co., and my style is all about being a little modern, a little vintage and a little moody, and that’s certainly what I did with this apartment as well! A NYC home like this lends itself well to an eclectic look, so I really leaned into that vibe. I love playing with light and dark moments along with new vs. old pieces to create texture, layers and interest. I think using a very saturated rug and a dark-green velvet chair really add the drama to the living space to create this beautiful, cozy moment. Then for the kitchen, I kept things feeling lighter and brighter with the white oak cabinetry and marble countertops. I love the idea of creating spaces that feel both independent of each other, with their own distinct “personalitie,s” while still working well together within the larger space of the home. I think marrying both old and new in this space will really help bring the apartment to life.

Design Done Well

Design Done Well is a New York City-based design studio specializing in interior design, staging and consulting. Our work ranges from small scale residential to large hospitality projects. While we strive for each of our projects to be a unique representation of both our design style and our client’s taste, we believe the best design is timeless.

We love the open plan of option B in the way that it allows the kitchen, dining and living room to become one. We can see floor-to-ceiling drapery, like image A, spanning the length of the space creating a softness that makes you feel instantly at home. Imagining that this could be the perfect apartment for a family, we love the idea of more casual dining and included image B as a way of thinking about a built-in window banquette adjacent to the kitchen, as opposed to a formal dining table. The remaining images highlight our love of mixing contemporary and vintage pieces, while celebrating artwork within a space to create an eclectic, lived-in feeling. Even if we’re starting from scratch with a client, we love for a space to feel like it was built over time, and we can see this unit taking on that very same feeling.

Click to view the mood board.
Its Time For Elliman


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