Apartment in New York by Betty Wasserman
When Neeraj Bewtra left his job as a New York bond trader in 2008, he was burned out and looking to take some time off, a six-month sabbatical perhaps. Years later, he still hasn’t made it back to Wall Street-and happily so, thanks to 4-year-old twin boys, a variety of philanthropic activities, and a renovation. He and his ob-gyn wife, Barbara, found their dream apartment a block north of Washington Square Park, overlooking a row of Victorian carriage houses. The 1891 industrial building is known to Christian Scientists for a chapel on the ground level and to modernism buffs for a 1967 redesign by Victor Christ-Janer and Associates, which replaced the Romanesque revival facade with austere, nearly windowless red brick. A 2008 residential conversion of the upper five levels removed the brick and created the Bewtras’ floor-through loft.
The couple had already worked with James Bartholomew Architect to build a weekend house, and the firm returned to make small adjustments to the 4,600-square-foot apartment’s four-bedroom, five-bath layout. Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors provided furnishings “on the modern side but not ultramodern,” Barbara says. The results are both sophisticated and subtle- this is an apartment that does double duty. On the one hand, the loft is a showcase: 11-foot ceiling, vast windows, sprawling entertaining space outfitted with prize furniture and art. But this is also very conspicuously a comfortable family home, kid-friendly and pet-friendly.
Betty Wasserman set the tone in the entry, where a roguish, splattery abstract painting accompanies a console and bench by one of her favorite collaborators, a will-make-anything artisan whose handiwork can be found all over the loft. On the floor, a plum-accented round shag rug beckons the Bewtras’ gregarious wheaten terrier. Walls are surfaced in Venetian plaster, a durable material that makes it easy to remove, say, the marks of grubby hands or skittering balls-a when the long hallway connecting the entry to the bedrooms is the twins’ indoor soccer field.
As a mother herself, Wasserman is attuned to the practical considerations of living with children. “Betty could really think about what the kids will need, and she genuinely knows that this fabric is much more durable than that fabric, because she’s had chocolate milk spilled on it before,” Barbara says. For the twins’ room, Wasserman chose a boldly colored striped rug and bedding and commissioned a mural showing cartoonlike planes and helicopters. However, the twins’ favorite spot turns out to be their parents’ enormous glassed-in shower. “They think it’s a water park,” Bewtra says. The runner-up is probably the stylish playroom. When no guests are sleeping on the crimson sectional, which transforms into a queen-size bed, it’s a cozy TV-watching spot or, he adds, “an excellent trampoline.” In addition, the round upholstered ottoman comes apart into pieces that the twins use as rocking horses on the cushy tufted wool rug.
The entry’s ceramic vessels by Rina Menardi and porcelain sculpture by Soraida Bedoya sit on a custom console, beneath Margaret Evangeline’s canvas in oil with crystalline powder. Photo by Eric Laignel
At the foot of the custom bed in the master bedroom sits a Chris Lehrecke daybed. Lisa Spindler and Stevi Michner created the “shadow study” by layering pigmented concrete over a photograph. Photo by Eric Laignel