Whether designing the architecture, planning the interiors or finding New Yorkers the perfect abode, these titans of the NYC residential scene are some of the city’s best.
Will Meyer of architecture and design firm Meyer Davis, whose work includes the Paramount Hotel and restaurants Harlow and Vaucluse, among others
Edward Yedid (left) and Thomas Hickey, seen here in a West 57th Street penthouse they recently completed, are the brain trust that make up architecture and design firm GRADE New York.
Douglas Elliman’s Nicole Oge, seen here on the steps of her favorite building in NYC, the New York Public Library at Fifth Ave. and 42nd Street
Will Meyer: The Southern Charmer
“We try to find the DNA of what a project wants to be and really heighten that idea,” says Tennessee-born Will Meyer. The designer and his business partner, Gray Davis, make up architecture and design firm Meyer Davis, which has created some of the most uniquely elegant retail, residential and hospitality environments in NYC. Revealing the DNA of some of Meyer Davis’ most high-profile successes, Meyer dissects the firm’s work on the Paramount Hotel (“it’s theatrical, with a contemporary, clubby twist”), restaurants Harlow (“ultraglamorous”) and Vaucluse (“rustic French layered with Parisian modernism”), and residences ranging from Soho lofts to East Side town houses (“genuine, happy, real homes built for living”).
A dreamlike quality pervades these warm, modern spaces, where inspired layouts meet magically uplifting lighting, sophisticated colors and sensual textures. “Comfort and chic are two terms that are not mutually exclusive,” says Meyer of the design mandate that catapulted the Nashville natives and Auburn University architecture school classmates to their offices in Soho, where a staff of 43 currently oversees 35 projects worldwide. “Our clients enjoy working with us,” Meyer says. “We’re fun.”
When it comes to the Williamsburg town house he shares with wife Kerstin, daughter Lily, 10, and son William, 7, Meyer chose a palette that’s “clean, airy and modern,” he says with a slight Southern drawl. Is the secret of Meyer Davis’ success its Southern hospitality, combined with New York sophistication and drive? “It could be,” Meyer says, and then adds: “I think it’s about knowing what’s right and what will be appealing, what makes a space beautiful and balanced.”
Thomas Hickey & Edward Yedid: The Dream Team
“The client wanted the coolest, most exclusive apartment in the city,” says architect Thomas Hickey, 46, standing at the center of a gleaming, modern West 57th Street penthouse with 14-foot-high ceilings, a 768-square-foot terrace and urban conquistador views. London-based hedge funder Mark Hillery, the client in question, purchased the 3,000-square-foot, two-bedroom home—Oprah Winfrey’s former digs—in 2012. Hickey and interior designer Edward Yedid, 37, partners of architecture and design firm GRADE New York, transformed the white walls and walnut floors into a darker, more glittering—but still comfortable and welcoming—pied-à-terre for Hillery’s guests from around the globe.
“It’s the quintessential pad. Every detail is specific to this project,” says Yedid, noting that the custom red piping on the dining chairs, for example, matches the red leather interior of the custom-built polished nickel sideboard. The partners buffered some of the apartment’s harder edges (two glass walls in the living room/dining room area meet at a point) with gray cotton-cashmere upholstery and black silk-wool drapes lined with Ralph Lauren plaid.
The alliance between Hickey and Yedid dates back to 2002, when Hickey, an army brat and Columbia-educated architect, taught a design studio at Parsons and met his future business partner, UES native Yedid, among his students. “The solutions he was coming up with were very similar to what I’d do,” Hickey says of Yedid, who had studied business management at Boston University before pursuing interior design and ultimately joining Hickey at GRADE New York in 2003.
The firm’s current residential projects include four boutique condos at 52 Wooster St.; architecture and interior design for 117 W. 21st St. and apartments and amenity spaces in the art deco Ralph Walker building in Tribeca; plus Le Corbusier-inspired homes on Parsonage Lane in Sagaponack, three of six projects commissioned by Hamptons superluxury developer Jay Bialsky. “Their simple detailing separates them from the rest,” says Bialsky of Hickey and Yedid. “Because GRADE is both an architectural and interior design firm, working with them is seamless—a one-stop shop.”
Nicole Oge: The Trendspotter
Stock market corrections, China’s currency devaluation—they’re fleeting challenges to New York’s bulletproof luxury real estate market. That’s the takeaway from speaking with Nicole Oge, global chief marketing officer for Douglas Elliman, which, with a 44 percent market share, is the city’s largest residential brokerage company.
Over a breakfast meeting at Andaz Fifth Avenue, across the street from the New York Public Library (“My favorite NYC building,” she says), the tall, radiant Oge sips freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and texts her assistant for recent stats. They arrive near-instantly. “New York has gained over 315,000 people, in all five boroughs, since 2010,” Oge reads, noting that inventory has been declining since 2012 but has recently started to plateau—there’s now 1 percent property availability. As Elliman’s head of marketing, Oge oversees marketing, branding, communications and experience marketing for all Douglas Elliman companies, ensuring not only that executives and agents know exactly where the next big property or “it” neighborhood will be, but also that buyers know Elliman is the city’s most trusted source.
Born in Hartford, Conn., and raised in Virginia (“in a household where television was not allowed—difficult to imagine in 2015,” she says), Oge moved to Manhattan at age 17 to attend NYU, where she graduated in 2002 with a degree in marketing and communications. Upon graduation, she was selected by Mercedes-Benz for its global management training program, and after nearly five years there, she took on the advertising world as global group director at The Seventh Art branding agency. She transitioned to real estate as SVP of marketing at Town Residential in 2011, before her appointment three years later at Douglas Elliman, where she oversaw the launch of the company’s Elliman glossy lifestyle magazine and keeps a watchful eye on trends in the luxury real estate market.
“The most interesting thing that’s happening now is that it’s not necessarily about the neighborhood, but extraordinary product with extraordinary design and thoughtful amenities,” Oge says. She cites the price per square foot Elliman got at Walker Tower, a Verizon building with amazing views at 212 W. 18th St. “This is not a neighborhood where you think you’d be getting $4,500 per square foot—it’s lower Chelsea!”
In March, Oge found her own dream home in the unlikely neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen: “It’s a 100-year-old carriage house with 13-foot timbered ceilings, exposed brick walls and black casement windows,” she says. “I’ve lived in Soho, Chelsea and the West Village, but never before above 15th Street. Hell’s Kitchen is a pretty authentic neighborhood relative to the rest of Manhattan.” Of anyone, she would know.
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