A Designer’s Chic Apartment in Stamford

Text by Megan Fulweiler  Photography by Michael Partenio Produced by Stacy Kunstel

Manhattan? Milan? It easily could be either. On a soft evening when the balcony doors are wide open, the setting sun illuminates the apartment’s interior and transforms the city of Stamford down below with heady shades of pink and gold.

Antonio Vergara, director of merchandising and a buyer at Wakefield Design Center, is not oblivious to his home’s location-defying charm. In fact, he designed the 1,200-square-foot apartment to convey a worldly sophistication. From carefully curated mementoes to textures and colors, Vergara’s home is a model for creating an alluring spirit using objects you love.

There are some quirky elements—among them South African sculptures of shells and feathers and what he labels “creepy portraits”—but these additions only further ramp up the dwelling’s personality.

Take those ink-drawn portraits, for example. The more soulful than sinister man and woman by mid-twentieth-century French artist Jean Paul -Parent were given to Vergara as birthday gifts by a dear friend. “I wouldn’t live anywhere without them. She has this incredible stare, and he looks like the dark silent type,” he explains.

The duo resides in the dining area overlooking a conversation-promoting round table clad in sheets of hand-riveted zinc. The chairs are upholstered in eggplant-hued velvet. And the accompanying loveseat sports piping in the same sultry aubergine shade along with two basketball-shaped orange pillows. Providing an arresting backdrop is a work by Alabama-based artist Kent Walsh. “It all started with the art,” says Vergara. “The inside of the floating frame is purple, so that’s how the chair color developed. I wanted to make this spot feel three-dimensional, as though you were inside the painting.”

Since it’s an open living/dining layout, borders might easily have smudged. But Vergara defines the latter with another large painting, this one by Kelly O’Neal. Mirrors with antiqued glass flank the piece and visually enhance the apartment’s dimensions. Dim the lights, says Vergara, and the whole place assumes an “underground New York clubby feel.” Should guests request a cocktail, a lacquered bar cart stands stocked and ready.

The versatile apartment sofa is littered with pillows—some in eggplant to telegraph the dining chairs and others in white cowhide and linen. The throws are cozy alpaca, and the lamps on board the concrete Howe end tables are brass and steel. The mirror-topped coffee table is as round as a button. In fact, spend some time here and it becomes clear that circles are one of Vergara’s favorite motifs. Pressed to explain, he recounts how design is, like a circle, a “process that never stops.” Clients change their minds, change their tastes, or change their address. “Things are always evolving, so there’s always something to look forward to,” he says.

Of course, those clients who are lucky enough to get a peek at Vergara’s personal space have no doubt they’ve come to the right source for advice. There may be a lot to take in, but the ambience is serene and there’s a strong continuity throughout due to the cohesive palette. The ink had no sooner dried on the lease, Vergara says, then he had the painters busy covering all the apartment walls in Benjamin Moore’s easy-on-the-eyes Revere Pewter.

It’s a congenial background for Vergara’s well-placed pops of color and a soothing choice for his bedroom, where three of Christopher Marley’s framed amethyst crystals (symbols of harmony and balance) float like stars above his custom Bernhardt bed. The bed, too, is dressed in tonal shades of pewter with a cowhide pillow decorated with hand-stitched sequins stationed at the forefront. The Lucite-handled nightstands sit up on legs to conjure a sense of airiness. And each one holds a stately hand-painted lamp.

Skillful at finding space even when it’s at a premium, Vergara established a friendly sitting area with swivel chairs alongside his bedroom window as well. This is where he starts his busy day, he says, coffee in hand, overlooking the city. His mind is full of plans and patterns, no doubt, but Vergara thrives on helping his clients achieve their dream nests. “Our homes are visual representations of who we are as individuals,” he says. “They tell a lot.” 

Interior Design: Antonio Vergara, Wakefield Design Center

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