A Snug New York Bachelor Pad Is Morphed Into a Swank and Spacious Home

Fashionable globe-trotters Malcolm Carfrae and John Wattiker enlist designer Alex Caratachea to reimagine their petite home in big ways.

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
Simon Upton

By New York real estate standards, Malcolm Carfrae­–an Australian transplant and the founder of PR and marketing firms with a fashionable roster of clients, including DVF and Zimmermann—was fortunate. His Greenwich Village apartment wasn’t huge, but it had charm to spare, and a corner view of Washington Square Park. Then he met John Wattiker, an advertising executive for Esquire and other Hearst brands. By 2014, they were married and sharing the space with their Hungarian vizsla, Grace. “For two grown men and a dog, it was a little squishy,” Carfrae admits. “It had just one small bathroom. We also wanted a place that was ours together.”

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
Simon Upton

The living room’s vintage armchairs and ABC Carpet & Home ottoman are in Ralph Lauren Home fabrics. A Calvin Klein Home vase and a brass balloon dog by Mr. Pinchy & Co rest on a French mantel. The side table is by Jonathan Adler, and the artworks are by H. Craig Hanna (left) and Julian Schnabel.


They hunted for a new apartment but quickly realized there was nothing nearby that was remotely as quaint. Rather than moving, they invited designer Alex Caratachea to take a look at their current space. “After walking around the place, the first thing he asked was, ‘Which room do you use the least?’ ” Carfrae says. “The answer was easy: the dining room.” It was also the largest room in the apartment. “And we’re not formal people at all,” Wattiker notes.

With the square footage now in play, the designer drew up plans to open up the enclosed kitchen to the main living area. By moving walls, he was able to enlarge the bathroom and create a dressing room, while also adding a new half bath.

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
Simon Upton

The dining nook’s midcentury table is Italian, the 18th-century armchair is French, the stools are by Gabriel Scott, and the pendant is by Marcel Wanders for Flos. The walls are in Super White and the trim is Jet Black, both by Benjamin Moore. Artwork, Chuck Close.

In parallel, the couple set out to redecorate the entire apartment, trading its earlier scheme of white-and-gray minimalism for a more textured palette of black, grays, and neutrals. The exception is the study, where an oxblood velvet sofa pairs with a Kelly Wearstler wall-covering in a pattern of jagged burgundy lines. “It’s really out there,” Carfrae admits. “But I always think you should have one room that’s like a moment of excitement.”

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
Simon Upton

In the master bath, the sinks are by Kohler, the fittings and mirrored cabinets are by RH, Restoration Hardware, the sconce is by Ralph Lauren Home, and the counter is polished Statuario Venato marble. The mosaic floor tile is by Kelly Wearstler.

Gradually the furniture shifted gears as well. Vintage Italian finds were purchased on trips to Europe, and key pieces were unearthed in antiques stores in East Hampton, where the couple have a weekend home. It was there that they found a pair of 1950s Gio Ponti–esque wingbacks, now re-covered in gray flannel. After exhaustively scouring 1stdibs, they found a French marble mantel for the living room.

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
A view of the study from the living room. The bookcase is by CB2.
Simon Upton


In the kitchen, white cabinetry and window casings were rebuilt and hand-painted in black gloss, with fittings in highly polished brass. The black-and-gold scheme—echoed throughout the apartment—feels welcoming at night, yet breezy and light in daytime.

The need for a larger bathroom may have sparked this ambitious remodel, but the kitchen also played a defining role. Wattiker, who loves to cook, had the luxury of redesigning it exactly to his liking. The Carrara marble counter extends into a breakfast bar, which occupies the space where a wall was removed; and just beyond, in the dining nook, sits a black-lacquered mid- century dining table from an Italian racetrack—another prized European find. “We are in here almost all the time, even more than the living room,” Wattiker says. “We eat, we talk, we listen to music. It’s a great place to hang out.”

Greenwich Village Spacious Remodel
Simon Upton

LEFT: In the kitchen, the counter-bar is of Carrara marble, the barstools are by CB2, and the pendants are by Tom Dixon. The custom cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Jet Black. The black-glass vases are vintage, and the artwork is by Donald Sultan. RIGHT: The master bedroom’s headboard, bedding, and curtain fabric are all by Ralph Lauren Home. The vintage French industrial steel nightstand is from Schorr & Dobinsky, and the antique black-marble lamp is from RE Steele Antiques.

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