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Just off the kitchen is the family room, which includes seating for casual dining. The space has a warmer tone than the rest of the home. “The walls are covered in hand-laid barkcloth paper. I wanted this space to evoke the Asian modernism of Nakashima,” says de la Torre.
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In Florence’s bath, a slab of marble from Vermont, found through Stone Source in New York, makes for dramatic flooring, while a sculptural Agape bathtub anchors the space. Frosted glass panels allow daylight to filter through from the windows behind them; at night, lights between the windows and the frosted panels illuminate the room.
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Rosario Candela may not be a household name, but if you’re an Upper East Side denizen or a student of New York history, you likely know him as the man who put Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue on the map in the late 1920s. The architect is responsible for designing dozens of the city’s most lavish and exclusive apartment buildings on these streets, many of which continue to be sought after by Manhattan’s well-heeled flock. Imagine if you got a hold of not one, but two side-by-side apartments in a Candela building. Chances are, you’d do everything in your power to make sure the renovation was put in the right hands.
In the dining room, plaster walls embedded with mother-of-pearl in a cloud pattern add to the bright glamour of the design. Flanking the enormous slate-top library table by Raymond Subes (circa 1925) are vintage chairs by Jean Royère, all upholstered in Ralph Lauren metallic linen and custom embroidered.
In Harry’s sumptuous office, the walls are upholstered in Edelman red leather. All the furnishings are vintage: The polished nickel desk with a burl-wood top is by Leon Rosen for Pace Collection; the credenza is by Vladmir Kagan circa 1970; and the Vincent Cafiero desk chair is vintage Knoll. A grouping of six works by L.A. artist Ed Ruscha hangs behind the desk.
De la Torre studied Florence’s wardrobe when it came to picking a palette for the home. “The strongest color in the apartment is the Chinese red on the cabinets flanking the fireplace in the living room. The lavender, eggplant, and silver tones worked well with that red,” says de la Torre. To get the perfect shade, he commissioned an artisan in Paris to lacquer the pieces seven times, a process that took six months. The designer also made sure that the room had good feng shui: The custom fireplace features bronze and selenite because crystals are thought to absorb negative energy; the Yves Klein cocktail table is filled with actual sheets of 8K-gold leaf, a metal associated with the sun bringing life and vitality; and the number eight appears on the cabinet doors—the symbol is associated with immortality and prosperity.
One of the project’s biggest challenges was an unsightly pipe in the sitting room/library that could not be removed under any circumstances. “So I custom-designed a light fixture around it by Israeli artist Ayala Serfaty,” says de la Torre. “The forest of sculptures turned out to be one of the client’s favorite additions.” The large carved temple door above the banquette, crafted by DeAngelis in silk velvet, is by celebrated Chinese artist Zhang Huan.
Of course, the renovation was not without its hiccups. “It was a tough, tough co-op board,” admits de la Torre. “But we turned lemons into lemonade.” We would expect nothing less from a New York real-estate fairy tale, especially one that stars a Candela building.
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The walls of the entryway to the serene master bedroom are made with a poured and screened resin material developed by architect Peter Marino. Above the bed, artwork by Jane Hammond extends the golden glow of those walls into the main space. All lighting in the bedroom is by Mark Brazier Jones.
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The couple’s galley kitchen features stained ebonized wood cabinets, stainless-steel counters, a Gaggenau stove, and Amish hand-scraped walnut floors.
An arresting vintage pendant by Tommasso Barbi is suspended over a custom bench in Florence’s walk-in closet. Hand-embroidered wall panels commissioned through Fromental London add a touch of luxury to the utilitarian space.
The project took 14 months, during which de la Torre and Siegel worked to deliver everything on the Sloans’ wish list: a spacious master bedroom with his and hers dressing rooms and baths (check!); his and hers home offices (check!); a state-of-the-art kitchen connected to a family room (check!); and all the public spaces—living room, library, dining room—oriented to face Central Park (check!).
For Florence and Harry Sloan, the right hands belonged to designer Ernest de la Torre and architect Edward Siegel, a former partner at Cooper Robertson. The two New York–based professionals helped the power couple—she is a lawyer and film producer; he is the former chairman of MGM and current director of ZeniMax Media—combine the two residences into one full-floor, 4,500-square-foot apartment that befits the glamour and sophistication of the building’s storied Art Deco past.
Hollywood power couple Florence and Harry Sloan commissioned designer Ernest de la Torre and architect Edward Siegel, a former partner at Cooper Robertson, to transform two side-by-side New York apartments into one spacious residence. “The building is said to be the last Rosario Candela building ever built on Fifth Avenue,” says de la Torre. “It has a sensational Art Deco lobby, which inspired the interiors throughout the home.” This is especially true in the Sloans’ foyer, which features gray-and-white checkerboard flooring in a vintage finish from Paris Ceramics. The silver tea leaf wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries plays off the sparkle from the de la Torre–designed chandelier and the glass wrecking ball by artist Aaron Young, from the Gagosian Gallery.