In 1985, Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art’s expansion included the construction of the Museum Towers condominium next door. A quarter of a century later, Massachusetts-based interior designer Kristen Rivoli renovated of one of the apartments, which had been in the same family since the building opened.
The current owner, who took the apartment over from her parents, felt the home should have a more relaxed, contemporary style. “She wanted to honor the pieces of furniture they already had, like the baby grand piano,” says Rivoli, whose job was to make the apartment work for her client’s family’s lifestyle.
Rivoli, who also wanted to honor the contemporary art institution, says the two-bedroom apartment felt old-fashioned. “I think the designer who worked for her mother completely ignored that they were next to MoMA,” she says. “We wanted to strip it down and bring it back to those roots: modernism, minimalism, functionality.”
Rivoli set about creating what she describes as “loose, livable spaces” in what had been formal areas. By adding banquette seating in the dining room, for example, the space gained a more casual, multi-functional atmosphere for reading or using a laptop.
The warm, lived-in quality was extended by mixing the family’s existing pieces of art and furniture with new, carefully chosen vintage and contemporary items.
Learning from the best
What better inspiration for a contemporary home than MoMA? Rivoli studied the museum’s archives to research many of the vintage and reproduction pieces she used in the apartment: “I wanted to reflect MoMA and how they embraced color, pop art and classic art,” says Rivoli. “It was so fun. I learned a lot.”