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Social Circles: An Interior Designer Reimagines a Classic West Village Townhouse for Old Friends

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Social Circles: An Interior Designer Reimagines a Classic West Village Townhouse for Old Friends

November 4, 2022

After nearly a decade working for blue-chip interior design firms, the kind that regularly land their large-scale residential projects on the pages of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor, Matt McKay officially struck out on his own last year. He still works in the same high-end milieus—Tribeca, the West Village, Greenwich, CT, and the like—but now he has the freedom to also take on projects that are smaller.

And more personal. Recently, he was hired by two longtime friends, now married with a dog, to do the interior design for their compact West Village townhouse. What was initially conceived to be “quick and easy,” he says, turned out to be a bit longer and more complex as the scope grew. “The next thing we knew, the entire house was being renovated inside.”

“We worked with a combination of new artisan-made pieces, collectible design, and custom-fabricated pieces to suit the space, along with a considered assortment of vintage finds,” shares Matt, who brought on friend and fellow Sawyer Berson alum Allen Robinson to help with the drawing, permitting, and coordination of the project. “I really wanted to pay respect to the origin of the house, neighborhood, and my two friends who would inhabit it.”

That translates into modern interpretations of Old New York, like interior shutters reimagined with circle cutouts and herringbone brick flooring elevated with terracotta tiles from Clé. Below, Matt walks us through all of his smart design choices for this refined and chic townhouse.

Photography by Joshua McHugh, styling by Andrew Stewart/Crying Coyote, courtesy of McKay.

the kitchen is on the garden floor of the townhouse and was inspired, matt says 17
Above: The kitchen is on the garden floor of the townhouse and was inspired, Matt says, by a plywood kitchen he found on Remodelista. This one, though, features custom oak tongue-and-groove millwork, with hardware from Rocky Mountain Hardware. The countertops are oiled brushed slate from BAS Stone.
the custom millwork continues in the adjacent dining area, with a banquette fea 18
Above: The custom millwork continues in the adjacent dining area, with a banquette featuring storage drawers. The chairs, a Jean Touret design, are from Furniture Marolles. The herringbone-laid “bricks” are actually terra-cotta tiles from Clé. The pillows are from artisanal textiles studio Zak + Fox, founded by Matt’s life partner, Zak Profera.
on the parlor floor, the cozy living room. aside from the camaleonda sofa from  19
Above: On the parlor floor, the cozy living room. Aside from the Camaleonda Sofa from B&B Italia and the handmade rug from Mehraban, nearly everything else in this room is vintage—including the Maison Regain credenza.
another prized find: a tile topped vintage roger capron coffee table. 20
Above: Another prized find: a tile-topped vintage Roger Capron coffee table.
inspired by jean prouvé&#8\2\17;s porthole doors, matt designed hole p 21
Above: Inspired by Jean Prouvé’s porthole doors, Matt designed hole-punched shutters for the home’s street-facing windows. A Noguchi floor lamp anchors the corner.
the sun filled conservatory is just off the living room, floating above the kit 22
Above: The sun-filled conservatory is just off the living room, floating above the kitchen. Here, a vintage teak lounge chair is paired with a Charlotte Perriand side table. The cacti-like terra-cotta floor lamp (it’s one piece) is by Eny Lee Parker.
in an echo of the kitchen, oak millwork and slate make an appearance in the pri 23
Above: In an echo of the kitchen, oak millwork and slate make an appearance in the primary bedroom on the second floor. The chair is vintage, reupholstered with Japanese boro fabric from Paula Rubinstein.
both the upholstered headboard and the coverlet were custom fabricated with zak 24
Above: Both the upholstered headboard and the coverlet were custom fabricated with Zak & Fox textiles. The sconce is In Common With; the bedside table is by Hiroyuki Nishimura from Somewhere Tokyo.
more porthole shutters in the en suite bathroom. the floor here features &# 25
Above: More porthole shutters in the en suite bathroom. The floor here features “newly installed reclaimed wood in keeping with the style of the original wood floors, with square nailhead detail,” says Matt.
the faucet is from studio ore. note the cool earthenware sconce from workstead. 26
Above: The faucet is from Studio Ore. Note the cool earthenware sconce from Workstead.
the top level, with a table, bench, and chairs all from another country, &# 27
Above: The top level, with a table, bench, and chairs all from Another Country, “was intended as a work-from-home area [that] also needed to double as a space for guests,” says Matt. “Out of frame is an extra-large daybed that could easily sleep two to three.”
the exterior of the townhouse needed nothing more than some paint and cleanup. 28
Above: The exterior of the townhouse needed nothing more than some paint and cleanup.

For more New York City homes, see:

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