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New York City apartments lack many things: square footage, storage, backyards (to name a few!). If you’re lucky, though, the view makes up for the challenges. That is certainly the case for this Upper East Side two-bedroom. If the new owners, a young couple with two children, look beyond the old-fashioned details (it hadn’t been touched in 30 years!) and out the windows, they are rewarded with the city’s impressive skyline.

However, sweeping vistas directly in line with the sun’s path come at a price: “The space gets a lot of light, so it needed to be covered with curtains most of the day,” explains interior designer Merve Kahraman, who worked on the project. “I thought if they had to stare at drapes that much, they should be very soothing to look at and filter the daylight with some color.”

That’s when the entire color palette came together. Dark hardwood floors were swiftly replaced by oak parquet; pastels covered every wall; and heavy antique furniture was swapped for colorful headboards and ombré sheers that bathed the space in dreamy sunset hues. The whole place was turned into a kaleidoscope—here our three of our favorite design moments.

An Inspired Starting Point

Photography by Allyson Lubow; Design by Merve Kahraman

Kahraman found inspiration for the paint in retro interior photos: “I was lucky to find the exact colors at Farrow & Ball,” remembers the designer. Everything from the playful rugs to the color-blocked furniture and textured wallpapers was selected to live in harmony with that initial palette. 

A Reflection of Space

Photography by Allyson Lubow; Design by Merve Kahraman

The low ceiling height, typical of mid-century architecture, was a bummer for the designer at first, but she was determined to add a few additional inches—at least in people’s minds. “We managed to create an illusion of space with lots of mirrors,” she explains. An upholstered one floats over the living room bar cart, a half-moon graces the vanity in the master, and a two-tone arch faces the twin beds. The light Scandinavian-inspired floors help, too, brightening the space rather than weighing it down. “Overall, the apartment looks much bigger and brighter now,” notes Kahraman.

A Window of Opportunity

Photography by Allyson Lubow; Design by Merve Kahraman

The curtains don’t stop at the windows. The designer saw the ’50s pass-through between the dining and living areas as a chance to continue the ombré scheme. She framed it with short panels and infused the rest of the room with peach, mint, and burnt orange accents. “It makes the space feel very dreamy,” says Kahraman. Even though the apartment’s city views are now partially hidden, there’s plenty to look at inside. 

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