Inside One Family’s Chic Brutalist-Style Tribeca Triplex

Interior designer Jae Joo worked her magic on a lofty town house in Manhattan

Architecturally, the client wished to capture the spirit of Le Corbusier and Jeanneret, who designed the Indian city of Chandigarh where he spent time as a child. Meanwhile the wife, who claims to have “no design vision, no artistic vision,” was an advocate for livability and function. The combination made for an exciting hands-on collaboration between all parties—evidenced by a lively group chat thread. Even the couple’s daughters had input. The wife recalls immediately balking at the BDDW ping pong dining table. “I had visions of frat houses and said, ‘No way, I don’t want that in my home.’ But we saw it and it was so beautiful.” The table was approved and is now used often, especially when they entertain.

The renovation and design project was staged over four years—as Joo says, “not a short time to work with someone”—and ultimately included a striking blue marble–clad renovation to the primary bathroom and complete kitchen overhaul inspired by contemporary Belgian architecture. Joo brought in architect Michael House and Composite on the construction management for these, and Dimastry to landscape the prized terraces, adding now thriving ivy and trees to what was a concrete jungle.

As Joo got to know and understand the family, their trust in her grew exponentially. She recalls, “They were so open that I could say my wildest idea and they wouldn’t think that I was crazy.” For the clients, the designer’s instincts infused character, depth, and just the right amount of whimsy into the first abode they’ve owned. “I didn’t think you could have a home that could be artistic looking and be a warm, cozy family space at the same time,” says the wife. “Jae managed to strike that balance of practicality and beauty.”