When Amir Khamneipur set out to transform his cramped apartment in Manhattan's Flatiron district, he looked to his favorite hotel suites for inspiration. "I wanted to re-create that feeling and aimed for the ultimate luxury version of it," says the Iranian-born decorator, who is fluent in four languages and lived in Paris and London before moving to New York City.
Khamneipur is known for his exacting attention to detail. Here, to maintain symmetry and sight lines as well as maximize the square footage, he custom designed almost every inch of his home. "In a space this small, bespoke was a necessity," he says. "Everything is interdependent, so if a chair is an inch too wide, it throws off the whole apartment."
With its serene palette of powdery tonal grays, the renovated apartment feels spacious despite its size. The built-in mahogany cabinetry wouldn't look out of place in an English gentlemen's club, while the addition of a few well-chosen 19th-century French antiques introduces a hint of old-world opulence. The result is a place that's as cosmopolitan and dashing as its owner. "I would rather live in a custom jewel box than a badly designed mansion," he says. "This apartment brings me such joy."
Mirror a Wall
"It will instantly make a space seem twice as big," says Khamneipur, who did just that in his Manhattan apartment. On top, he layered Murano glass sconces and a bronze mirror to boost the reflective factor. To create a focal point, he also installed a Chesney's Louis XVI marble mantel with a HearthCabinet ventless fireplace. The 1840s brass-and-wrought iron chandelier once hung in a German train station.
Embrace Long Lines
The original floorboards were dark, wide and horizontal, making the space feel smaller. Now they are four-inch-wide oak planks laid vertically to visually lengthen the room. The bistro table's base is powder-coated a Gustavian gray to match the floor.
Create a Showpiece Kitchen
Khamneipur likes to throw cocktail parties — he once fit 60 guests into the apartment — so he incorporated his kitchen into the design of the living room. Minimalist cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore's Harbor Gray match the color of the walls and hide appliances. The Fisher & Paykel pop-up gas cooktop is equally sleek: Its burners retract when not in use, leaving behind a solid glossy black surface.
Turn Function Into Fancy
"I didn't want the typical kitchen island," says the designer, who gave his the appearance of furniture by adding solid mahogany legs to its mirrored base. The counter stools' boomerang-shaped leather seat backs "are curved to cradle your body."
Make Seating Flexible
Khamneipur designed the rolling swivel chairs, upholstered in a Great Plains wool and leather, to be 24 inches wide. "That's narrow," he says, "but you don't notice because of the pitch of the back."
Find Your Center
The design is rigorous in its symmetry. Khamneipur moved the bedroom doorway so it perfectly frames both his bed and the view of the mantelpiece at the opposite end of the apartment. Walls in a Holly Hunt wool and desks built into niches turn a pass-through hallway into a compact study. The mid century Danish desk chair is from Lorin Marsh.
Don't Ignore Doors
Lacquered pocket doors, top, help hide the bedroom during parties, and brass-trimmed shelves corral stationery in fabric-covered boxes. "Call me old-fashioned, but I handwrite thank-you notes and letters," Khamneipur says.
Turn a Con Into a Pro
With no room for nightstands, the designer framed his bed with mahogany clothing towers and fitted them with reading lamps from Visual Comfort and pullout shelves to hold books and water carafes. "They're my favorite pieces in the apartment." For added storage, the bed conceals drawers in its base.
Luggage, extra sconces and spare chairs are stowed in cabinets mounted just below the 14-foot-high ceiling. The Putnam rolling ladder can also be used on the matching polished-brass rail tracks in the study and kitchen.
Do Double Duty
Needing a guest bedroom for when his nephews visit, Khamneipur created a pair of six-foot-long banquettes that pivot to become twin beds. Upholstered in a Perennials outdoor fabric, they have built-in drawers for stashing backpacks.
Carve Out Space
Since the apartment lacked a linen closet, a mirrored medicine cabinet in the bath room was designed to be two feet deep to fit towels. The shelves inside are staggered around the pipes.
Hide the Clutter
The custom vanity conceals pullout bins for dry cleaning and laundry, and the marble countertop has a beveled edge to prevent splashes on the room's Holly Hunt silk wall covering.
Khamneipur installed a single slab of Olympic Grey marble on the floor to avoid grout lines; the vanity's stain less steel straps echo the marble's striations.
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This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Miescisko.