Greenwich Village Apartment

Brian Sawyer’s New York City apartment is located in a historic Victorian-era edifice of red sandstone and brick from 1883. Having lost its original features over time, a new design narrative was developed inspired by the building’s history and recalling the city’s domestic interiors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The assignment provided a unique opportunity to study the architectural and design elements of the era. Windows, doors and transoms, moldings, paneling, flooring, and fireplaces were detailed to match the building’s Edwardian aesthetic. The decorating includes a mixture of custom and antique furnishings interspersed with modernist pieces complementing the historical architecture. Sawyer is an avid collector and the apartment houses many paintings, prints, drawings, fossils, sculptures, and various objets d’art that celebrate his fascination with the past.

Erik Peterson
Jose Luis Sobrino

The dining room doubles as a cabinet of curiosities including a trove of taxidermy passed down from Brian’s great uncle. The paneled walls are painted slate blue with silk paper. The black lacquered, gilt and cordovan dining bureau was inspired by a Maison Jansen piece, the side chairs are Kaare Klint, and the 1920s chandelier is from a college dining hall. The herringbone floors are hand-scraped and fumed white oak.

On the mantel is a drawing of the Hotel de Crillon by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel next to two tropical birds and a black porcelain pug.
Inspired by art galleries of the period, a multicolored laylight was added to frame the living room’s studio skylight.

Above the Portoro marble mantel is a “nebula” oil painting by Tom Borgese in a Dutch-style frame together with a collection of jade Chinese congs as well as an ancient gongshi, or scholar’s rock.