IWI specializes in tailored residential interiors that reflect a client's unique personality.
This spacious apartment in Manhattan's CPW district overlooks the Park and reflects a bespoke environment.
Select pieces from the clients' old apartment were still looking fresh and timeless; they quickly found new places of importance in a refreshed design scheme. Art deco details and a new fireplace design unified the bones of the large living room - dining room and set a theme for artistic, colorful self-expression throughout the apartment. The clients' sculptural creations blend harmoniously with the sculptural statements made by the furnishings.
This project represents a collaboration with a colleague and friend, AD100 interior designer Penny Drue Baird. Over the years Irwin and IWI have worked on many projects together. When working together, IWI focuses on the structural and space aspects and Penny focuses on the decorative elements: furniture, accessories, and lighting.
This Buck County, PA barn was conceived by the home owners to be used as an additional space for entertaining and occasional guests. The small rooms of the main house didn't lend themselves to large family gatherings. IWI created the architectural layout and design (from the space planning and window layout to the balcony design), the lighting plan, and the furniture layout.
This original and untouched old Pennsylvania bank barn (it's built on an embankment) is part of an original estate with a classic Bucks County stone house that Penny designed a few years before. The property is on the shore of small lake. One side of the barn is not visible from the road and has a view of the lake. That side has been designed with large windows and a deck to maximize the view. The opposing side of the barn was restored close to how it originally appeared, with minimal openings as it faces the road and is less private.
Typically, a bank barn had three floors and a basement. The animals were herded into the basement and the floor above was where most of the indoor work was performed. The first floor was the main floor and the center of that floor was known as the the threshing floor. The second and third floors were for storage.
A challenge of the project was not to have the focus on a fireplace, staircase, or TV, but rather to focus on the outdoor view while still being able to have the interior work well.
By eliminating the second floor, the main floor was doubled in height, to approximately 14 feet. And by eliminating the center portion of the third floor, the area above the threshing floor is open to the roof.
There are two upper/attic loft areas; one with a bathroom and two sleeping areas and one with a den/TV/meditation space. The den/TV/meditation space is accessed via a secret staircase that's concealed behind a French Limestone mantel bought in Paris by Penny. The bedroom area is accessed by a stairway parallel to the kitchen.
IWI designed the kitchen; the cabinets and the Sub-Zero refrigerator are faced with reclaimed barn boards. Stained glass windows were recycled and used in some of the decorative display cabinets. We also took end-grain wood "cobblestones" and used them for the basement flooring, at the base of the staircase featuring a stand-out custom railing made from old farm implements.
Click here to read the Architectural Digest feature on the space, New Rustic.
IWI's second condominium project for Kane Ventures and Halstead Property Development is a 7-floor gem. We specified all the interior finishes, materials, furniture layouts, and model unit furnishings. The goal was to offer modern, streamlined living spaces for young professionals flocking to Harlem's hot, rejuvenated 125th Street neighborhood.
The living room features an open plan layout, perfect for entertaining or hanging out. Comfortable seating takes advantage of the windows and natural light, which are even accented further in the kitchen by the ceiling-mounted cabinets that feature see-through-glass storage. 4.25-inch oak floors with velvety satin finishes create a sophisticated lightness to the open plan, reflect the light, absorb the noise, and add a luxurious touch ... which is also mirrored by the marble island and countertops. Textured laminate cabinets resist fingerprints, dirt, and scratches and stand up to everyday use.
The IWI bathroom feature floor-to-ceiling Ozer and Nemo tiles in a sophisticated gray palette and Grohe rain shower heads.
Visit the Uptown58 website for more information.
IWI had the pleasure of designing interiors for an effervescent young couple in Long Island with a passion for corporate real estate, modern art, and photography.
With young children and countless friends and relatives in the mix, we worked with our clients to create a relaxed, comfortable, almost-California home that showcases important video installations and contemporary photography while maintaining the primary purposes of easy-breezy everyday living and lots of entertaining.
The furnishings throughout the house are sleek French deco finds from our trips to Paris antique stores and flea markets. The clean lines avoid competition with the works of art, and the overall effect is harmonious and relaxed, with a frisson of elegance.
The Country French kitchen and breakfast room invite everyone into the heart of the home for noshing, homework, and catching up on everyone's busy day.
IWI recently designed a modern traditional project in a Virginia beachfront apartment for a music industry executive. Her request was that we create interiors with a sense of humor and low-key glamour. Working closely with the client, we purchased most of the furnishings and custom fabrics in Paris, New York, and Venice.
The client's love of fashion informs all aspects of the design. Her collection of tiaras shows off her sensibilities, nicely undercut, however, by the quirky edge of the skulls. Like custom jewelry, we used the collection as a central part of the decorating. The cushion in the first detail photo is actually a collectible, and a visual reference to the "lady of the house." Such cushions were often found in the entry foyer. When a woman came into the house with a hat that had hatpins in it, she would remove the hat and place the sometimes large and lethal hatpins in these cushions, retrieving them after her visit.
In the living room, we used fabrics and colors that relate to the color palette the client likes to wear: cool, grayed jewel tones. Placing the furniture on relatively inexpensive commercial-grade velvet cut carpeting gives a sense of spontaneity and freshness to the room. The cabinet to the left of the sofa is Maison Jansen. The three pieces in the foreground are late 18th century French campaign stools. The art deco club chair is covered in blue silk satin; we added a custom crown embroidered on the back, reflecting the client's collection. The 1970s side table is brass with a petrified wood top.
The living room fireplace grouping features custom satin draperies, trimmed with grosgrain ribbon in a neoclassical pattern with detailed corners. The pair of chairs are 18th century gilded scroll-shaped antiques we found in Paris at the Marche Puce flea market. When we first saw them, they were in bad shape: the maroon velvet upholstery was threadbare and the springs were shot. IWI refashioned them with a cut velvet center panel fabric we found at Luigi Bevilacqua, an old family-owned Venetian fabric house. We also added tufting to the pieces for more tailoring interest.
In the front hallway, we placed a pair of brass-inlaid side cabinets in Napoleon III style underneath an antique mirror with crown-like details. The shallow bowl/vase on the right is contemporary Venetian glass.
The dining room light fixture is contemporary Venetian glass and the painting is from Birmingham Galleries. The table, sourced in New York, is a clever 1940s style reproduction. The chairs are in the style of Maison Jansen, purchased in a Paris flea market. The large Victorian mirror conceals the generic pass-through between the kitchen and the dining room.
The focal point of the master bedroom is a blue lacquered cabinet from Maison Jansen, purchased in a Paris flea market. At the window is a cast iron Italian ballroom chair from the 1940s. The lamp is an important French design from the 1940s; its base is pink resin.
Details: The client's skull collection on the living room coffee table relates to her love of high-end, high-style fashion. A close-up of the crown embroidery in the living room club chair; the throw pillow fabric is from Luigi Bevilacqua. Inside the Maison Jansen cabinet in the master bedroom are skulls, crowns, and coronets - a private collection "for the lady of the house."
When a portion of the grounds of the former Harry Winston estate in Scarsdale, NY subdivided into luxury new construction homes, IWI was tapped to turn the largest residence into a glittering jewel. The homeowners have an important glass collection, and that provided the home's main theme, starting with the first impression: a double-volume entry foyer with a Dale Chihuly chandelier, mirrored in a bespoke IWI mosaic tile floor.
"Updated deco" set the theme for the sculptural furnishings, cabinetry, lighting, built-ins, and woodwork. Highlights: the double-volume library with its bespoke limestone fireplace surround and deco chandelier, the den with its deep coffered ceiling, and the dining room with its walls of unexpected horizontal stripes.
The traditional-with-a-twist interior is timeless, and boasts as many reflective surfaces as possible to give a nod to the home's passionate glass collectors, e.g., a shiny rare marble surface in the master bath or a custom suspended glass shelving system in the massive kitchen/ The house, however, is further layered with unexpected bursts of color and pattern. Everything is calm and comfortable and shiny on the surface, yet each space presents details that surprise and engage, like the facets of a Winston diamond.
This Westchester townhome showcases the homeowners' contemporary tastes in furniture and art. The interior scheme was designed to show off their collection. Case in point: the clean geometric lines of the furnishings and rug in the dining room are perfect counterpoints for important works by Victor Vasarely.
IWI changed the layout so that the front door didn't open right into the living room. We added a partition-wall with a custom glass installation designed with Mondrian-inspired lines by Irwin and imagined by noted stained glass artist Val Sigstedt. Natural light streams through the foyer, warming the creams and blues that dominate the living area.
Visual surprises punctuate the clean interior, such as the deep inset wood framings and mirror reinforced with rebar in the master bedroom sitting area.
WI was asked to create an interior filled with relaxed luxury in Scarsdale, NY, and it became one of Irwin's signature interiors.
Art and scupture - check.
Beautiful flooring and carpets - check.
Soaring room heights and unusual tray ceilings, arches, and other architectural details - check.
Fabulous moldings and custom-designed fireplace surrounds - check.
Mix of timeless modern and deco furnishings upholstered in warm dreamscape color palettes - and check.
Walking into the foyer is like stepping into an art gallery, with the overscaled parquet floor mirrored in the white-on-white art installation of Xawery Wolski's terracotta cross sculptures. WI's architectural details work in overdrive, paring down the enfilade layout of the hallway into the living room by bringing the eye into focus through shimmering glass transom/surrounds, a dramatic telescoping from extreme height in the entry hall to the intimacy of the rest of the home.
IWI created an updated country home in Bucks County, PA from a 1900 farmhouse. The historic structure - the inner construction of the original home is made of decommissioned barge boards from Delaware Canal boats - saw a complete one-year makeover that involved removing and reworking all surfaces of the house, from each fireplace and wall to the floors and ceilings. We also took off an enclosed front porch and created a late-Victorian mahogany porch, designing it as an outdoor room.
The kitchen is a show-stopper with a verde laguna marble focus wall behind the gourmet range and contrasting granite backsplashes and countertops. Travertine marble floors in both the kitchen and step-down dining room provide contrast and texture to the wide-plank, beveled, wire-brushed antique white oak living room floor.
The living room features a Venetian plaster treatment on both walls and ceilings. Antiques and mid-century furniture form an eclectic mix that underscores the comfort and sophistication of this rural retreat.
Two small front bedrooms were turned into a master bedroom suite with walk-in closet and en-suite bath. Irwin created a tray ceiling in the bedroom by carving out unused attic space, and the ceiling in the master bath dramatically follows the roofline, soaring to an impossible height.
Since this home is in the NY watershed region (very protected), new building was permitted only on the footprint of the existing original house from the 19th century. Canadian cedar was logged and fabricated according to the specifications of noted luxury log home architect Murray Arnott. Each log was numbered and trial-assembled in a large airplane-hanger type structure near Vancouver before being shipped to the NY job site for assembly. Logs came pre-drilled for electrical outlets, plumbing, and other infrastructure.
Construction began on the first-floor great room/living room, a huge semi-circular, double-volume space with a massive stone fireplace. In the photo you can see how the log beams are going up to form the unique roofline slope around the shell of the fireplace.Fun Facts: Support logs for this home were sometimes 3 stories or 30 feet tall and 24 inches in diameter. Each log was also kiln dried in huge cylinders that could accommodate these enormous pieces of timber.
Our clients' luxe cabin sits beautifully between two creeks, just at the fork where they join into a single stream. The original stone bridge to the property is shown here, a true antique. During construction, the cabin experienced serious flooding during the spring thaw and major engineering intervention was needed. Two massive French drains now help to channel water runoff and stream overflow. Because there is so much snow in the winter, no gutters were put on the roofs and heated stone patios were built surrounding the cabin to melt off the snowfall.
Building a log cabin was a no-brainer for this particular site. Surrounded by state forest land, in the heart of a protected watershed area, and at the confluence of two beautiful streams (one pictured here in the foreground), this weekend home is a natural wonder.
The large, but welcoming entry foyer has a 2.5 volume ceiling. On the first floor is the entryway, the great room/living room, kitchen, den, library, mudroom, and attached four-car garage. The second floor has a master bedroom suite and three guest bedrooms. The third floor boasts two tree-top bedrooms.
The great room is horseshoe shaped, wrapping around a large central fireplace. Furniture groupings encourage conversation, sharing, and entertaining. Comfort was the primary consideration for the family in their special woodland retreat.
The native stone fireplace provides the warm heart of the living room, and it's a beauty! Comfortable seating emphasizes the tailored, yet rustic tone of this log home's decor. The sofas are from Profiles.
The dining room area is adjacent to the central stone fireplace in the cabin's great room/living room. In our photo, we emphasize the sweeping circular form of the space and the elegant simplicity of the furnishings and window treatments. The "bones" of the structure - the massive logs, stone details, and warm wood floors - already speak volumes.Project Update: Throughout the cabin there have been installations of accessories, custom rugs, and additional artwork since these photographs were taken.
Note how the logs in the kitchen area boast a lighter, almost pickled stain when compared to the other parts of the cabin. Isn't this a great entertaining and cooking space? The large butcher block counter on the island is a great prep area, and the latest industrial appliances make this a dream kitchen.
A fisheye-lens view of the kitchen and eat-in breakfast and luncheon area shows off the beautiful light-stained logs that separate this room from the rest of the cabin. The flow is perfect for entertaining and cooking, with all appliances, including the beautifully integrated Sub-Zeros, contributing to a happy family gathering spot.
Our second-floor landing photo shows off the beautiful cedar logs and warm stain that runs throughout most of the cabin. Note the beautiful cast iron railings that were customized for this project. Also notice that each stair is an individually carved log! IWI fabricated individual oval carpets and affixed one to each stair with oversized brass nailheads. The stair's focus on the log construction made it impractical to use a continuous stair tread, and this was a great solution.
The view of the master bedroom suite reflects the homeowners' taste for comfort and simplicity. Few furnishings detract from the beauty of the views (when the drapes are opened, of course) and the elegance of the suite's stone fireplace. This room is the perfect romantic getaway from family and guests.
Who knew that Irwin didn't like his 2010 Hamptons Designer Showhouse upstairs bedroom assignment? Well, at first he thought it would be no fun. After all, a bed takes up all the attention and space, and he wanted to show something more original. The result: IWI's upstairs sitting room, a redesigned bedroom/bathroom space that featured a faux fireplace (surround from Chesney's UK) topped off with a wire sculpture by Rodger Stevens and an eclectic mix of furniture ranging from a mid-century modern orange sofa by Dunbar to folk art antiques.
And lots of art and sculpture, a layered trademark of IWI. Other layering came from the F. Schumacher cream mohair blend sheer drapes and the printed white-on-tan patterned linen wainscoting held up with overscaled hammered nailheads from Houles.
And even the color scheme approached the traditional new construction space in a fresh way. The sitting room's walls were two-tone: ligher and darker lilac-grays (from Ralph Lauren paints). Gray-mauve mohair South African rug from Sacco Carpet.
The creative touch, however, was the origami paper chandelier that Irwin created from $15 in craft materials, lots of staples, and an $80 pendant fixture from Home Depot.
One of the latest IWI projects is Irwin's own home in Solebury Township, Bucks County, PA. This 12.5-acre farm features a 1953 stone-and-stucco colonial revival house overlooking an expansive hay field. Designs have been drawn up for a renovation of the main house and the building of a new three-car garage and guest cottage. Here are "before" pictures showing the house (as shot from the hay field) and the tree-lined main drive up to the house. We'll keep you posted on the progress as the remodeling unfolds.