A breakfast nook with a small kitchenette and wooden bar counter

Playful Wallcoverings Enliven This Tranquil Manhattan Apartment

What makes a Manhattan apartment feel like a sanctuary? That’s the question that Milena Bica-Shibata, founder and principal designer of The Whistling Well, was tasked with answering, transforming an expansive yet outdated apartment into a modern home for a family of three. Taking into account the family’s lifestyle, which centers around hosting and connecting over homemade meals, the design team created a multifunctional tranquil kitchen, complete with a breakfast nook and bar.

At 1,800 square feet, the apartment also features three bedrooms and baths, as well as plenty of communal areas, including a lounge and living room. “Understanding different energies of various natural materials, we were able to carefully select [those] that offered harmony and variety of textures and temperatures,” says Bica-Shibata. These include stained oak, ash, leathered quartzite, linen, leather, wool, brass, artisan ceramic tile, marbles, and warm tinted glass. “The palette is a beautiful balance of cool and warm colors that dance together,” she adds.

Clean lines and round edges soften the space, as does the custom wood ceiling trim that balances the living room while drawing the eyes upward. Wood elements continue into the kitchen and bar, which is also custom. “We very much wanted to have the bar be a continuation of the perimeter millwork that transitions into the eat-in area with its operable partition,” says Bica-Shibata. “We studied proportions and materials closely so we could achieve a harmonious and beautiful composition.” With layers of natural materials and earthy hues throughout, the home exudes a sense a calm, serving as a true oasis in the middle of Manhattan for a family and their friends.

Explore This Expansive and Tranquil Manhattan Apartment Design

The home's living room with a white couch and navy armchairs
The living room features a custom curved wood trim along the ceiling.
Vibrant gold and blue pillows on a white couch
Accent pillows add pops of color.
A breakfast nook with a small kitchenette and wooden bar counter
The bar acts as an extension of the kitchen.
The kitchen cabinets in cream with bronze sink
The kitchen includes luxurious finishes and clean lines.
The dining room with a minimalist wood table and velvet green chairs
The dining room features a minimalist wood table surrounded by plush chairs.
A children's room with bold pink and orange wallpaper
The vibrant wallcovering serves as a visual focus behind a daybed. Photography by Yiwa Photography.
A bathroom sink with terrazzo counter and pastel patterned wallpaper
The bathrooms also include playful wallcoverings. Photography by Yiwa Photography.
The main bedroom with earthy pillows
Subtle neutrals ground the main bedroom. Photography by Yiwa Photography.

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