Washington Square, 1984–1994
Colorful painted stripes counteract a lack of direct light in the old living room. Instead of a sofa, Jayne opted for a quartet of club chairs—a gift from his former boss, Kevin McNamara.Andrew Gan
My very first place in New York City was a tiny studio in a tenement building on East 87th Street, but my first “proper” apartment was a one-bedroom in a prewar building at the corner of Washington Square Park that I shared with my now-husband Rick Ellis—it was actually one of my first projects to be published by [FREDERIC editor-in-chief ] Dara Caponigro when she was at House Beautiful! I had my longtime decorative collaborator Chuck Hettinger paint the foyer in a deep green using our version of ragging—a process where cloth is balled up and impressed on the wall to make a random texture, which was very popular in the 1980s. Chuck used giant drop cloths to make, quite literally, a big impression.
A bust of Benjamin Franklin holds court from an Eastlake desk in the entryway. The black- and-white cork floors were original to the 1929 apartment.Andrew Gan
The stripes in the living room were a bit startling, but they served well as a novel graphic device and helped brighten the space, which didn’t get a lot of direct light—we were located at the bottom of an air shaft. All of the furniture and bibelots were bought or passed on from family and friends, and they all happened to be from different eras. At the time, it was definitely quasi-radical to have an Eames chair (which I got for $10 at a flea market) sitting next to a Victorian-era Eastlake desk! The bust of Ben Franklin is now an integral part of my collection of American Worthies, along with George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, which were originally sculpted by Jean-Antoine Houdon in the 18th century.