Study In Contrast

Given free rein by a longtime client, Robert Brown fashions a sophisticated in-town high-rise filled with fine art

Eager to move into his new three-bedroom unit in the posh Waldorf Astoria Residences—and on an extremely tight timeline—an international businessman turned to a trusted commodity in designer Robert Brown, who had designed his previous homes over the years. “We know him and his taste, and that’s always nice,” says Brown. “We kind of had carte blanche.”

Not to mention a head start. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Brown retained many of the unit’s original finishes, which included oak flooring, luxurious bathrooms and a well-appointed kitchen with Calacatta Verde countertops and a polished marble backsplash. In fact, the designer had actually worked closely with the hotel’s original developer, as well as architecture firm Harrison Design, to select those finishes. Revisiting the building gave him an opportunity to play off these materials.   

In the front foyer, for example, an abstract painting hangs over an ebonized oak console table with an X base, coordinating perfectly with the existing black-and-white marble inlay in the hardwood flooring. “It was a study in contrast,” explains Brown. Taking advantage of the barrel vault ceiling, a quartzite crystal chandelier adds another dimension.

The palette flows into the main living area, a long pill-shaped space with curved walls on either end. In the center, a tailored linen sofa and leather chairs surround an iron and cement cocktail table straddling a braided linen ottoman alongside a perforated brass side table. “It has an industrial edge that makes it a little more unique and not so uptight,” says Brown.

It also plays off the brass accents throughout, which include sculptural table lamps, a candelabra chandelier over the living area and a dramatic brass and glass fixture over the ebonized wood dining table at the far end of the room.

Like all the art throughout, Brown hand-selected the bronze sculpture along the curved wall not far from the table. “I usually go shopping in Paris three or four times per year,” he says. Indeed, he scored the watercolor by Jacques Nestlé near the tub in the master bathroom at a French flea market too.

Effortlessly accommodating the client’s aggressive timeline, Brown and his team invited their client for the big unveiling, perfectly staging the space and playing music and lighting candles for the occasion. Brown was confident the space would appeal, and he was right. “He was amazed,” says Brown. “That’s always a nice high for us after a lot of hard work.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Robert Brown, Robert Brown Interior Design, (404) 917-1333;