For homeowners Chris Aswad and his husband, Chris Pridemore, their one-bedroom Morningside Heights apartment is their little piece of Paris. The couple, who married in Kauai, Hawaii, in 2018, are avid travelers and self-described Francophiles, and while their careers have kept them in the city, they found a historic property that they could easily transform as an homage to the City of Love.
The home, located in a charming prewar building, already had beautiful herringbone oak flooring, high ceilings, and Central Park views, but it was still somewhat lackluster. Renovations from the mid-1990s made it feel dated and had removed some of the original architectural features. “They were eager to preserve the details of the apartment reminiscent of their time in Paris, while renovating to instill modern, masculine, and functional New York touches,” says interior designer Crystal Sinclair.
Chris Aswad and Crystal quickly got to work. The homeowner, whom the designer calls highly detail-oriented, even came to their first meeting at a local coffee shop with a binder of inspiration. He called for brass details, a black-and-white palette, curated vintage decor, and art from Parisian flea markets. “He wanted a home that felt like old Paris but still felt like it belonged in the city,” she says.
Classic and chic are two words that can now sum up the 800-square-foot home, which the couple moved into pre-pandemic in February. But the biggest transformation may just be in the smallest part of the home, the bathroom.
It was nothing special at first. The toilet was under the window, and the first thing guests saw when entering the room; plus there was a dingy bathtub and boring white tile. The owners wanted a dark bathroom with varying tiles as well as brass accents to match the rest of the renovation. After they swapped the layout to conceal the toilet and added a walk-in shower in lieu of a tub, the room now feels that much larger.
The vanity, which was custom-designed by Crystal, has fluted detailing, something she feels is on-trend and is a timeless Old World pattern, and is topped with black porcelain while the ledge carries into the shower. The flooring consists of 12-by-12 marble tiles, which were cut into triangles for an expensive look on a budget.
To complete the bathroom, Crystal went with an Apparatus sconce, black glazed terra-cotta tiles, “which adds an organic, handmade charm to the space,” and a black toilet seat as the final details. In the end, the home’s luxurious furnishings, dramatic juxtapositions, and clever space planning make it truly seem like you’re walking into a European home.