“I wanted ‘dramatic,’” says Atoosa Rubenstein of her first “grown-up” apartment with her husband, Ari. The editor in chief of Seventeen until 2005 and the founding editor of the now-defunct CosmoGirl, Rubenstein knows a little something about visual drama. As the youngest editor in Hearst’s history, she revolutionized the teen publishing market-leaving little time for décor. The Rubensteins lived in the same Upper West Side rental-”the digs of two 25-year-old kids”-for almost 10 years as they both pursued frenetic careers. When they purchased their 3,000-square-foot Flatiron district loft in 2007, its design needed to be “reflective of our tastes and sensibilities, whereas where we lived before … was literally like a dormitory.”
Enter West Chin Architect pllc., an architecture and interior design firm known for its clean, sexy and modern portfolio. Amber Valetta, Shalom Harlow and Christy Turlington and Ed Burns have all turned to WCA’s West Chin and Roseann Repetti, partners at WCA-and in life: The two are married with a 10-year old son. That parental perspective took on new importance when, well into the project, Atoosa called the firm,”in a panic,” she recalls, “saying, ‘That room is no longer an office! We’re having a baby.’” She was talking to the right team; family living with style is WCA’s niche. With baby en route, and the Rubensteins’ two beloved cats to consider, functionality took priority alongside form. The resulting flawless loft is a riddle (a child lives here?): The answer is that anything not stain-proofed can be wiped down, particularly the spectacular-and indestructible-Corian pieces from WCA’s design arm, FTF Design Studio, atop which the Rubensteins’ daughter, now two, can often be found dancing with friends. “It’s the most decorative apartment in the building,” says Roseann Repetti, “but it’s also where all the kids and families in the building go to play.” For now, at least. “We laugh because we are surrounded by breasts,” laughs Atoosa about Bert Stern’s print of a topless Marilyn Monroe and a similarly sexy piece by Ghada Amer and Rez Farkhondeh in the media room. “I’m terrified that once my daughter continues on at school, this is going to be the place where kids are not allowed to come.” But it’s that avant garde style that most embodies the young family, who requested of WCA a certain quirkiness for their home-though not enough to compromise resale value. “They wanted to keep the space loftlike,” says Chin, who incorporated his signature core box concept by wrapping the powder room, pantry and home office in rosewood enclosures extending from the kitchen.
Attention to lighting is another WCA signature; in the Rubensteins’ loft, huge windows flood the space with natural light. “The window treatments are just dreamy,” says Repetti, “elegant, linen-y and soft.” “Dreamy” might just be the world to describe the entire space, where contemporary, cool minimalism nonetheless evokes a livable warmth. Driving the success of the project was the ease of communication between Atoosa and Repetti, who also has roots in the publishing industry. That shared shorthand made the process smooth, even for first-time renovators like the Rubensteins. “Your home is something you don’t want to rush,” says Atoosa, whose quest for the building’s permission to install the custom Bocce chandelier delayed the project for six months, “but we didn’t freak out about it. We wanted our home to be exactly what we wanted it to be.” Sometimes that meant negotiating with husband Ari. “I remember when Roseann and I were picking out furniture, accessories and even some architectural details, I really had to drag him to the point of ‘yes’ at moments,” in one instance to install remote controls for the lighting. Now, however, each detail is beloved-and the few suggestions not taken regretted. “You have the right partner in a project like this,” notes Atoosa of WCA. “You really do have to take a leap of faith and realize that they know what they’re talking about. [S]ome things that may just seem extravagant … make a huge difference in your quality of life. This said by the girl that kisses ther chandelier’s remote control every night!”