Stephen Sills' New York apartment launched a career and inspired that of countless others

Stephen Sills' tiny, elegant New York apartment has been the canvas on which his singular style has been allowed to flourish
The apartments palette is nearly all white surfaces have been bleached limed and whitewashed. A Richard Serra work on...
The apartment’s palette is nearly all white: surfaces have been bleached, limed and whitewashed. A Richard Serra work on paper hangs over a Jean-Michel Frank shagreen daybed from the 1930s.Simon Upton

A Ruhlmann alabaster pendant and a Marco Kench painting from 2012 over a custom daybed in Sills’ bedroom

©simon upton
©simon upton

Colour in the largest rooms is restrained to various shades of white, the only concession a purple sheer underneath the curtains at the windows. ‘The place just needed some energy, something to set the objects off. To make them sort of vibrate.’ In stark contrast the dressing room is panelled in dark, rich green satinwood. The furniture throughout is portable and rearrangeable. ‘I suppose I treat this place in the same way an artist would treat a studio. I’m asking myself what I like, what the scale is, what the story is.’

‘The story’ is a key component to Stephen’s method of decoration. All the world’s a stage after all. ‘All decorating really is is figuring out the plot of the play. Who do the people performing in it want to be. All you have to do is listen.’