Before and After: Ronan Farrow's NYC Apartment
How do you create a sense of history in a new-construction high-rise apartment… in only four weeks? It sounds like an impossible challenge, but Manhattan-based design studio BHDM rose to it. A longtime acquaintance, partner Dan Mazzarini was hired by reporter Ronan Farrow (son of actress Mia Farrow and actor/director Woody Allen) to decorating his completely empty Upper West Side apartment in just one month. “He was going from a very nomadic lifestyle to his first grownup place,” says Mazzarini. “When I asked him what existing items he had to bring, he said ‘nothing.’”
As Mazzarini describes it, for a designer, decorating a home from scratch can be “both a dream and a fear at the same time.” “A blank canvas is great from the creativity perspective, but certainly a challenge when you’re trying to hurry a project along to life.” Practically, the only way they could pull it off was to shop off-the-shelf or found goods in order to make their deadline.
Farrow’s style is old world-meets-steampunk-meets antiques, so BHDM created a base with neutral and masculine furnishings with character—a Chesterfield sofa from Restoration Hardware, a multi-toned industrial floor lamp from West Elm—from accessible retailers. “He came to us with a few pieces of inspiration: Roman and Williams [the studio behind the Ace Hotel NY], libraries, spaces with a contrast of dark and light, and new and old,” the designer tells us. To that end, they chose a palette of white dove, black, and dusty, egg-y shades, and mixed in contrasting stripes, vintage finds from eBay and Etsy, and even an ode to Roman and Williams: a plaid wool Pendleton for Ace Hotel NY blanket.
For a young man with many interests—“art, music, travel, politics, law, and academia,” to name a few—Farrow’s space could have been taken in a number of different directions… or become dangerously eclectic. But BHDM’s clear vision, and carefully curated layers, paint a worldly, dapper, well-educated picture, without trying to be everything. As Mazzarini puts it, they were able “to simplify and help build a bit of personal style for him, creating a restful home to relax in at the end of his hectic day-to-day.” It’s marvellous what a month can bring.