Renovation of a 3,500-square-foot duplex apartment on Park Avenue in the Upper East Side.




Surgery Series

In residential projects, de-spec believes that architecture, interior design and decoration must reflect the client’s lifestyle. Following a radical functionalist approach, the Surgery series utilizes a strategy of personalization according to specific programs designated by the client, rather than stylistic biases on the part of the designer.

The name of the series refers to a practice employed by de-spec, in which incisions are made into the floor plan of a home to reconstruct the circulation and flow of space in a way most suited to the lifestyle of a particular user. The process entails a series of interviews and observations which provide a reading of the client’s values and needs. This reading translates into a design strategy which fundamentally sculpts the experience of lived space.

Surgery #9 (Park Avenue Duplex):

The renovation of this Park Avenue duplex sought to adapt a large, pre-war apartment to comfortably suit the needs of a modern family with three children. On the 11th and 12th floors of the building, this four bedroom, three bathroom apartment includes a living room, dining room, kitchen and maid’s quarters. Central to this family’s needs, however, was the addition of two new home offices, as both the husband and wife work from home. The family also wanted to expand the kitchen to function as the core of the home. Our surgical solution was to remove a wall in the kitchen to connect to the dining room, creating an expanded living space with banquet seating and a large island in the center.

The living room was divided to make room for an office and library. It featured a fireplace and bookshelves, and provided a quiet room for the family, away from the television in the den. The second-floor entry became the mud room for the children to leave their coats, boots and backpacks. Also upstairs, the maid’s room was converted into an open office, and the bathroom was converted into a laundry room. This upstairs office functioned like a den, with barn doors separating it from the landing and foyer, but allowing the mother to remain connected to the children and their activities throughout the home.