The vivacious executive crafts a bold, moody space inspired by an osmosis of fashion and design.
Welcome to our series, “At Home with…,” where we sit down with our favorite design tastemakers to learn about the inspiration behind key spaces in their home.
After years of living downtown, Wilhelmina Models CEO Bill Wackermann craved a change of scenery. He toured various apartments in buildings that he imagined would house his “dream home,” all with little success. At some point Wackermann’s realtor suggested he take a look at Beekman Place–an exclusive NYC enclave located alongside the East River, complete with breathtaking city views and a tucked away sense of tranquility.
“I immediately fell in love with the building’s architecture and proximity to the water,” Wackermann says of the home he purchased five years ago. While the apartment was architecturally elegant, the design was, as Wackermann puts it, “a basic box” that demanded a generous dose of charisma. “I wanted the space to evoke comfort, to be somewhere that people can relax,” Wackermann explains.
As the top executive at one of the world’s most prestigious modeling agencies, Wackermann doesn’t spend much time at home, and comfort comes in the details. Pressed sheets, luxurious candles, cashmere throws, and good soap are among Wackermann’s home necessities. “It’s the things that feel like home, but can be taken anywhere,” he says.
The design, however, was inspired by his personal fashion sense, guided by a dogged rejection of minimalism. “There is too much excitement, diversity, and color in the world to settle for something safe. I wanted to create a sort of 1940’s highball vibe that begs you to kick off your shoes and make yourself a nice drink,” he says. The apartment in its entirety is a sexy reinterpretation of the traditionalist look that makes a statement while standing the test of time.
Walkermann sat down with ED to discuss inspiration, his fearless aesthetic, and the personal meaning of home.
THE LIVING ROOM
“I wanted the entire apartment to be a reinterpretation of traditional style with a modern twist. Growing up on Long Island, I’ve always felt inspired by the blue tones of the water and the sky; the entire energy of the Long Island sound. The moodiness and tone of those shades was translated into my living room, where I chose a comforting blue for the walls and beams, while weaving modern art throughout the space to give it a sense of personality.”
“The apartment originally had two bedrooms, and I decided to convert the bigger and brighter room into a den. Although most people want their bedrooms to be airy and flooded with light, I prefer for my room to be cozy and cocoon-like; somewhere I can watch Netflix on a Sunday and feel comforted. I chose a light blue-gray grasscloth for the walls to give the room texture, with small pops of color in the accents.”
“For the kitchen I wanted to do a light color on the cabinets that wasn’t just white, so I picked a beautiful robin’s egg blue. I paired that with simple, white marble countertops and decided to add one wall of hand painted wallpaper to elevate the space. My goal for the room was to focus on a few accents that had a greater attention to detail while keeping a classic feel throughout.”
“The banquette is right off of the kitchen, and it’s my favorite space to sit and relax or do work. I opted for a rich cranberry pink, which stands out but isn’t too bright, creating an elegance that is also very comfortable. I’m personally not a fan of tremendously large spaces, so I love the scale of the banquette area. People go into crowded bars for a reason, you know?”
“I originally had the foyer painted in a similar color to the banquette, but the pink high-gloss paint was difficult to live with. When you push things too far, sometimes it’s important to pull back. I never want things to be too eclectic, because I think that it can sometimes be synonymous with crazy. Instead, I decided to keep the black high-gloss trim, and cover the walls in a gorgeous gray-blue grasscloth.”
“When I purchased the apartment, the bathroom needed work but I wanted to keep some of the vintage elements, like the fixtures of the tub and sink, which were all from the 1940s. I kept the beautiful elements of the traditional aesthetic, and simply modernized it.”