For Australian-born Marcus Hay, storage is always a problem.
As a sought after stylist and creative director, Marcus is constantly amassing objects for his job, which eventually took over his small apartment. “My cupboards were brimming with props and my work life was overshadowing my home life,” he recalls. He decided it was time for a change. So, when a 750-sq-ft unit became available in the same apartment block, he jumped at the chance. Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Jonny Valiant | Tripod Agency) to find out more:
The X-Leg Table by George Nelson with dining chairs by Charles and Ray Eames.
The building in question is London Terrace, one of the most iconic residential high-rises in New York. It takes up a whole block in Chelsea and is comprised of roughly 1,700 flats, and counts Chelsea Clinton and photographer Annie Leibovitz as previous occupants.
Eero Saarinen's Womb armchair in bright turquoise.
When Marcus first saw the one-bedroom apartment in 2010, it was “like an empty shell.” The period features were still in place, but the walls were completely white, which he thought of as a blank canvas. The first thing he did was to paint it. “I like to live with my palette of colours around me,” he says. “I kind of like a grey that has an undertone hue. So, the apartment is a series of green-y and blue-y greys.” He also bought a striking Eero Saarinen Womb chair in turquoise, which became something of a signature tone.
The office has more designs from Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames.
A vintage writing desk and Arne Jacobsen's Series 7 chair.
The bathroom was the first room he got in shape. “This being in a historical building, we were very lucky to have the original tiles and tub,” he enthuses. It also had the added advantage of having a window – a rarity in Manhattan. Style-wise, he wanted it to feel more like a salon, so he dressed it up by covering the walls with an accumulation of vintage mirrors, picture frames and the odd sculpture. Living in a larger space gave him more freedom to choose furnishings such as a dining table that could sit up to ten people. “I like to cook and to entertain, and I was sick of having to squash people around a four-seater,” says Marcus. He also bought his very first coffee table – Eero Saarinen’s legendary Tulip – and was delighted to finally have enough wall space to hang a number of vintage posters he had been collecting over the years. Marcus' inspiration wall and workspace. Though the space is almost triple the size of his previous apartment, Marcus let go of his smaller pieces and a collection of mismatched chairs, which he felt were a touch too bohemian. “I wanted this space to feel a little bit more adult and more so phisticated,” he says. The current space features an elegant mix: pieces that adhere to the mid 20th-century aesthetic juxtaposed with something unexpected, like the Louis XV armchair in the bedroom. “I like that kind of clash – the play of the new and old.”
He also loves picking up quirky objects on his travels, such as Moomin – a hippopotamus-like figure from a Scandinavian comic strip he used to read as a child – a multi-coloured atom-like sculpture he found in San Francisco, a Curtis Jeré wall sculpture bought in Arizona and a pendant light uncovered in New Hampshire. Apart from having enough space for his things, Marcus considers the home as a testimony to his success. It represents a real stepping stone after years of living in tiny studios. “It’s kind of ironic because you live in a city of dreams like New York and you can’t live the dream because you can’t even have a coffee table,” he quips. “Now, at last, I can live a much fuller life and surround myself with the things I love.”