In Use - Project

A stunningly photogenic New York Apartment


Catherine Martin by Mokum

New York and Los Angeles based interior designer Alex P White transformed a dimly lit Manhattan apartment, turning its weaknesses into strength by adding texture and pattern to create an architectural design statement.

Alex, a self-taught designer with a background in fine art and performance brings a new perspective to a space by combining the best of art and design. Tasked with the redesign of this compact two-room apartment on the Lower East Side of New York City, Alex – known for his unconventional style, embraced the moody lighting to create a theatrical and glamourous retreat for its owner.

“It's one of my favorite animal print inspired fabrics… it doesn’t scream at you”

The brief was for a highly functional, cozy, and chic ‘pied a Terre’ that reflected a stylish edge for entertaining and wild nights with friends. The client, who spends much of the year traveling, requested an ‘unfurnished’ minimalist concept with lots of hidden storage. 

The apartment consisted of two main rooms:  a bedroom and a living room. The low light presented an initial challenge as the concrete ceiling reflected very little light.  

One window let a little sunlight into the living area; Alex reflected light by painting the opposing wall in a high-gloss black lacquer.  He covered the other walls in texture and pattern to create contrast and mood. “Some design solutions will always ring true for me, and low light skimming over textural and seductive materials will always elevate a space,” states Alex. Recessed LED lighting was also installed around lime-washed built-in shelving to create a dazzling, retro-futuristic light fixture.

Alex’s design creates a compact open plan living area that includes a kitchen, office, and lounge. Storage was a high priority for the client, and Alex fulfilled this requirement by crafting a design concept with built-ins similar to a cruise ship.

“The built-ins extend the architecture and provide functionality without the visual clutter of excess furniture,” says Alex.

A bespoke built-in platform sofa favored simplicity and functionality in the living space. “The client, with two dogs, leads a very active lifestyle, so I sought after a high-performance material that could handle lots of traction without sacrificing style. Mokum Zebre was the perfect fabric for the sofa; it had the texture and graphic pattern I was looking for and was stain-resistant,” says Alex.

Across the living space, a large cane paneled pocket door shields the show stopping Boudoir. The breathtaking, luxurious appearance of the bedroom took its cues from the glamour of the 70s. Alex successfully achieved this effect using Mokum’s banana leaf wallpaper La Palma as the statement wall covering complemented the custom-made faux fur bed anchored to the animal print carpet. 

“I love the moody palette and the hand-painted look of linen. The effect of the textured paper is soft and shadowy yet is surprisingly durable. One would never guess its paper-based vinyl. The quality is just so good,” compliments Alex.   

“Mokum has an expansive palette and a fresh take on patterns that translate to so many different spaces, styles, and moods. I always look at Mokum to see what’s happening,”

Mokum - La Palma Wallpaper
Mokum - Zebre 

Designer -  Alex P White
Photography - Chris Mottalini
General Contractors - City & Stone | all renovations
All Finishes - NYC Decorative Arts for Superstrata (which is an agency for artisans)