Manhattan has plenty of residential buildings where a well-known minimalist designer like S. Russell Groves might feel at home. After all, he cut his teeth in the offices of Richard Meier, whose name is synonymous with stark architectural simplicity, and then with Peter Marino, creator of stores for Louis Vuitton and Chanel. So why not mosey over to one of Meier’s glass towers on Perry Street and create a pad for himself so coolly Zen it hurts? But Groves’s taste, it turns out, is more complex and diverse than can be summed up in a shiny new white-on-white aerie. Instead, he decided to bring his unique take on pared-down design to one of the city’s most vaunted addresses, a 1931 Bing & Bing edifice in the West Village by the architect Emery Roth, who also designed the Central Park landmarks the Eldorado and the Beresford.
In the living room of S. Russell Groves’s Manhattan apartment, the sofa, covered in a Rogers & Goffigon fabric, armchairs, in a Holland & Sherry fabric, and walnut side table are all his designs; the fireplace surround is travertine, the parchment-covered cocktail table is 1970s Italian, and the vintage wood-and-metal side table is by Milo Baughman. The photograph is by Bill Jacobson.
The building’s kitchens are petite-the structure was originally an “apartment hotel” with lavish food services on the ground floor-and Groves’s minimalism serves him well in such situations. The flat-front, matte cabinets in off-white lacquer (no hardware, of course) hang above an unusually narrow countertop with a custom-fabricated rectangular stainless sink, both striking in its angularity and practical. “Totally worth it,” he says.
Another ingenious touch: In the bathroom, he designed an almost-invisible inset medicine cabinet hidden behind a Jill Moser painting. Although only a small, thick-framed antique mirror hangs above the sink (“to satisfy guests’ needs to see a mirror where they expect one”), the cabinet door is fully mirrored on the inside and swings out over the sink when Groves needs it for his morning ablutions.
Groves designed the leather headboard and armchair in the master bedroom; the bedside tables are by Ecart, and the photographs are by Chip Hooper, left, and Christopher Makos.