When Crown Princess Marie-Chantal decided to move into a 1913 Manhattan Town Home, she knew just the person to give the space an updated contemporary design.
To do so, she called on a legendary decorator, whom she’d known from childhood: François Catroux. The French designer to nobles and billionaires from Guy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild to David Geffen had worked with her parents over the years and had collaborated with Marie-Chantal and her husband Pavlos on their London place.
Together they decided the house’s stonework, mouldings, and panelling were all preserved, but out went the gilded leather wall coverings, heavy curtains, and red velvet sofas trimmed in passementerie, all dismantled meticulously and placed in storage for some future day. White, grey, and taupe hues now canvas nearly every wall in this contemporary design.
She and Catroux began by taking stock of the London home to determine what to bring to New York: all the art, for starters, including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, and Rob Pruitt. Her personal acquisitions began at the age of 16 when Andy Warhol asked his then intern if she’d like to sit for a portrait. When a bill arrived shortly thereafter, her parents “nearly disowned me,” she recalls. The Warhols can be found in the master bedroom, where a Juergen Teller photograph of Marie-Chantal as a young swan occupies another wall.
In the formal dining room, the only remaining vestige from the pre-contemporary design days is an outré English chandelier (its mate hangs in the library). A large round lacquered table holds the court in the centre.
The children’s quarters, located on the top two floors, were decorated in a comfortable style by AD100 designer Michael S. Smith. Graphic grey–and–white scribble paper wraps the walls, and perfectly rumpled D. Porthault pink coeurs sheets cover the bed.
The second floor serves as the main entertaining space. Curved sofas in a bouclé linen float atop a geometric grey-and-black carpet in the living room. Along with the windows in the back of the room, she’s installed cushions of an African textile.
Tea and coffee await in the library, where a Vladimir Kagan sofa, François Catroux polar bear chairs in the style of Jean Royère, and a Lucite coffee table rest on a casual striped rug. Christian Liaigre metal bookcases featuring a curated selection of art and photography tomes flank the fireplace, surmounted by a Hirst dot painting.