Flip-flops. Slipcovers. Open windows with the scent of saltwater wafting through the air. This easy-breezy lifestyle is often the result of an intense love affair with Southern California. So when Lynn Patchett, who had lived in the Golden State from the day she was born, moved across the continent to New York City to be near her two grown children, she also packed up and transported some of the coveted California culture that had been her milieu for decades.
In a New York minute, Lynn nixed the idea of incorporating dark tones, modern lines, and open loft spaces—emblems of the Manhattan residential scene—into her new digs. Instead, she hired designers to create a warm scheme that is the epitome of casually chic West Coast interiors.
“I had lived in California my entire life and loved the lifestyle, ” says Lynn. “I knew I wanted an apartment with lots of windows and a terrace, as I couldn’t imagine not being able to open a door and step outside. Most important, because I was giving up my house in California, I wanted my children, who now live in New York, to see pieces that they had grown up with and feel comfortable when visiting my apartment.”
Furnishings from a house significantly larger than the Upper East Side apartment she was moving into provided Lynn with an ample inventory of furniture, rugs, and accessories from which she could outfit her new home. The challenge was editing, and that’s why Lynn called on professionals to help identify which items should be stored or sold, and which should be taken to New York.
Lynn’s Los Angeles interior designer made a transcontinental introduction, connecting her to the New York team of Benjamin Bradley and David Thiergartner, whose portfolio Lynn reviewed, happily discovering that their aesthetic sensibilities aligned with hers. Her former designer also supplied the East Coast design duo with a comprehensive list of Lynn’s decorative pieces that were assessed for adaptability to the proportions of her urban quarters. Existing upholstered furniture and certain rugs were oversized to fit her California-scaled house and so were a no-go. But what remained was an interesting assemblage of case goods with Asian influences, medium-scaled rugs, and a substantial collection of contemporary art that—when placed in the apartment—would give Lynn a familiar sense of home.
With the list of her treasures to aid design direction, Lynn decided the only missing pieces were her own ideas. She composed an e-mail to Bradley and Thiergartner that articulated how she wanted her home to feel, along with traits that define her personality. This upfront exercise shifted the client-designer service to a true meeting of the minds.
“There are two kinds of clients, ” explains Bradley. “There are those who come with nothing and want us to create a new life for them. In that case, we become more teachers, to help bring to fruition design they were never able to visualize on their own. But with Lynn, we were able to get a good print of who she is, and that’s when a project becomes more personal versus stylistic.”