Carol Weisman, a real estate developer, and her husband, Michael, an Emmy Award–winning sports and news producer, were looking for a place in New York City to eventually make their permanent home. After discovering a midtown Manhattan high-rise apartment, they connected with ELLE Decor A-List designer David Kleinberg to design a home to befit the city views that were enlivening their windows.
Kleinberg is known for his interior design projects from Palm Beach to Park Avenue; he prizes attention to architecture and follows the tenets of classical interior design, something he attributes to his 16 years working with Albert Hadley at Parish-Hadley before starting his eponymous firm in 1997. (His recent projects include the interiors for two super-yachts built in the Netherlands.)
Kleinberg tapped David Kleinberg Design Associates partner and project designer Lance Scott to collaborate with the Weismans and create a truly original space. Their process was rooted in the modern architecture of the building and myriad personal touches, as well as a museum-worthy collection amassed by the couple, who are big supporters of the arts.
“When David and I walk into a project, we think about what this person wants to wake up to every day,” Scott says.
Kleinberg and Scott spoke to ED, from their respective homes on Long Island and in Manhattan, about this apartment and the inspiration behind their work.
ELLE Decor: The views from this apartment are incredible. How did you design with these in mind?
Lance Scott: Everything was about the views. We wanted everything to float away and be kind of neutral. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can walk right up to the edge and see forever. I didn’t want to put anything on the windows; it just didn’t make sense. We engaged with the views by the placement of art and by leaving lots of space to walk over and look out upon the city.
David Kleinberg: The Weismans felt like the arrangement of furniture as they had it didn’t take advantage of the views. While obviously Carol wanted it to be comfortable for entertaining, she also wanted to enhance what was outside the windows.
ED: Michael has won more than 20 Emmys! How did you design around those?
DK: He produced sports shows and events—yes, there are a whole bunch of them. His Emmys used to be in the living room, and we moved them all out. He was happy to put them away, but we said that would be a shame, because they are so graphic. He’s the most self-effacing guy…so we put them in his study.
ED: The Weismans are very involved in the arts. How did you incorporate their collection in your design?
LS: We were trying to complement the art. We didn’t want anything to overpower it. Carol is constantly going to new galleries looking for up-and-coming pieces as well as major art pieces. We wanted to make sure the Weismans were able to move art around as they wanted and add or take away a sculpture as they wanted—like the Tony Cragg piece in the living room, which was a perfect spot for the juxtaposition of the view behind it.
ED: There are his-and-hers studies. Was the couple worried about taking over bedroom space?
DK: They have grown children. In the plan it’s a three-bedroom apartment, but they basically turned a bedroom into Carol’s sitting room, and another bedroom into Michael’s study. While there are some guest room capabilities in these rooms, they are really given over to Carol and Michael. It’s a real adult apartment made for empty nesters.
ED: How did you pick the furniture and the fabrics to work with both the art and the views?
LS: There used to be a piano in the corner of the living room—we turned that space into a seating area. Now, Carol and I will get together for our shared birthday and sit there with Champagne, and we’re able to take in the views while catching up. We also wanted to make sure that the furniture wasn’t in the way of the wall space and that we left enough walls for large pieces, like the Yoshitomo Nara artwork in the entry hall. The space is neutral, but the fabric textures give a sense of color to it: You’ve got a woven with a silk, and they might be the same shade, but they’re different weaves and textures. That’s one of the things David has always done very well—and that he has always helped us with in our projects—getting that layering effect with all of the different fabrics.
ED: How did the owners’ personal style influence the design?
LS: Some people are formal, and some are not. Carol is formal in a way, but also very cool and laid-back. I knew the space didn’t need to feel uptight—modern but with a touch of personal pieces, like the French furniture from Carol’s parents. It’s stylish and sleek—it’s refined luxury. There are all of these different materials and finishes and a lot of layering, which is kind of exactly how Carol dresses—the bag, the shoes, the jewels. We wanted to make the space feel like the people who live there.
DK: The Weismans are bright, funny, stylish, and animated people. You can’t really ask for more. She’s elegant and generous, and he’s got a sharp wit. They’re a great combo together and a really good team. We wanted the apartment to work for them.
This interview was edited and condensed from two separate conversations.