Tour a West Village Apartment That’s High on Function and Style

by Ronald Johnson

Buying a first apartment in Manhattan is an exciting milestone, but taking on a renovation—even a minor one—can be quite daunting. Just ask Jon Pollock, the founder and CEO of luxury travel company Ciao Andiamo, and his husband, Chris Pierce, a biotechnology executive, who were looking to put down more permanent roots in the West Village, where they had rented for years. The couple settled on a two-bedroom, two-bath co-op in the heart of the neighborhood with sweeping downtown vistas and classic prewar charm. And although the residence had been fairly well maintained since its renovation nine years prior, Pollock and Pierce decided to call in reinforcements to give the place a light refresh.

“When we bought it, we figured we might end up doing some work, but neither of us knew exactly what it needed,” says Pollock of the apartment, which occupies a little over 1,000 square feet. Enter interior designer Alexander Reid, who has a penchant for creating clean, contemporary spaces that are perfectly balanced with vintage and antique finds. “We wanted something that felt elevated but not overly designed,” says Pollock. “Alex’s style is a nice mix of elegant, warm, and modern, which fit our desire for a more masculine aesthetic.”

A Poul Henningsen floor lamp and a vintage Milo Baughman chair upholstered in a Schumacher fabric occupy a corner of the main bedroom, while a Gio Ponti mirror hangs above an antique Italian dresser nearby. The rug is by Stark . “I prefer rugs to sit four inches away from the wall because it gives the furniture more space to breath and helps open up small rooms,” explains Reid.

Before they could get to the decor, however, Reid had to tackle what he calls a “kooky floor plan”—the result of two different units having been combined years ago. “The space wasn’t being used efficiently,” says Reid. “There was a cramped galley kitchen with a dining peninsula that jutted into the main living area, so we ripped out the peninsula and replaced it with a formal dining area.” The kitchen makeover entailed swapping out the upper cabinets in favor of open shelving, painting the lowers, and installing new appliances, lighting, and sink fittings. “There’s more room to breathe now,” explains Reid. “Jon is a great cook and they like to host dinner parties, so it was important to give them a cohesive, functional space for entertaining.” In addition to a formal sitting area adjacent to the dining area, there’s a cozy den that’s used for both movie nights and casual get-togethers. “We were having trouble conceptualizing a layout that would maximize the square footage, but Alex was able to guide us,” says Pierce. “Now, the living area feels so open. When you walk through the front door, you can see directly out the southern windows to the World Trade Center. Having lived in the city for 10 years with no view, that feeling never gets old.”

Another tricky space was the pentagon-shaped guest room that doubles as an office. Because the room is petite and features an angled wall, the bed had to be placed on a diagonal and a custom desk was built around the radiator to take advantage of every last inch. (This small-yet-mighty room has more than proven its worth during the pandemic, serving not only as a home office but a landing pad for the couple’s new Peloton bike.) “Alex designed this room to be multifunctional despite it not being huge,” says Pierce. “He really thought about how to leverage each space.” Reid was so meticulous about the floor plan that he even took into account the couple’s Welsh terrier, Scout, creating special niches for her dog beds.

“We came into this thinking that we’d do some minor upgrades, but we ended up changing a lot more than anticipated,” says Pollock. “Ultimately, Alex’s vision was exactly what we wanted, even though we didn’t know it at the time. We really benefited from someone helping to flesh out our style.” Pierce agrees, adding, “Neither of us is super knowledgeable when it comes to design and architecture, but we know when we see something we like and Alex brought our vision to life.”

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