This modern four-story townhouse in the West Village was reimagined by Noa Santos, founder and owner of New York-based studio NAINOA, who designed this home for James and Leona Leong and their two children.
The ground floor has been designed for private family time and includes a media room and an office. The first floor – or living room – has been designed as a series of family and entertainment spaces and includes the kitchen and living room. The second floor houses the family rooms, while the third floor houses the guest rooms.
Noa took two years to transform this traditional townhouse into this rather radical sculptural space. But when you hear that his professional roots lie in an architecture degree at Stanford, you understand how he not only feels brave enough, but also has the means to know how to transform a space.
The result is a striking, yet cocooning environment, it’s all about texture, whether it’s the marble clad master bathroom or the loop pile sofa in the living room.
Everything, but everything, in this home is about the quality of the finish: from the custom murals and bespoke kitchen cabinets to the stage theft statement lighting. The result is the pinnacle of luxury living – a home where the family can relax, away from the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps, 24/7.
This matches the brief that Noa was given to a T. “They asked for a contemporary home that feels sophisticated but warm,” he explains. “They wanted a sculptural and artistic space, but one that still felt like a place to collapse and relax.”
Noa first met the couple at a dinner party, but was named to the project when “they contacted after seeing our work on Instagram.” The first challenges of tackling the layout turned out to be a pleasant eye-opener. “Townhouses can seem segmented and hectic, but once we opened up a few walls and ceilings, the spaces fit together perfectly,” says Noa. “We were surprised by the natural way the house opened up. “
This “opening” is seen at its best in the double-height living room, which Noa calls “the great room”. It’s Leong’s favorite space in the house and it’s not hard to see why. With its expansive sculptural staircase, curvaceous fireplace, and soft stone palette, it’s no surprise that the influences behind it span from Gio Ponti to Gaudí.
“There is an Italian quality to the space, I think, due in part to the use of plaster and stone,” explains Noa. “We wanted the gentle curves to be reminiscent of a hilly landscape – almost Gaudí in nature. Noa believes this solution came from “customers’ desire to have something that resembles both New York and European nature.”
Function and form collide with contemporary hardwood cabinetry and impressive marble countertops here. “We wanted the kitchen to be stately and stately enough to be a public entertainment space, but laid out in such a way as to enjoy the view of the street as a chef,” Noa explains.
“We work very hard to make our spaces feel integrated,” explains Noa. “The result is to roll over in bed and find the outlet exactly where it should be – like in your favorite hotel room. ”
“Stone is the beginning, middle and end of the master bathroom,” Noa explains of the marble-clad master bathroom.
Noa thinks the completed house reflects the Leong a lot, thanks to NAINOA’s USP, which is that it doesn’t have so much a signature look, but a signature design approach.
“We don’t want our work to fit perfectly in a box, instead we draw on a myriad of sources – eras, geographies, cultures – to create unique spaces which we hope are almost like fingerprints for our customers, ”he says.“ Unique to them and timeless. ”This is the kind of philosophy we can certainly embark with.
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