What would New York City be without its apartment buildings? Not only do they shape the city’s skyline, they have informed generations of living. But as with most building types from another era, there can be real challenges associated with turning them into modern-day homes.

Creating an efficient spatial layout by reconfiguring plans that once housed maids’ quarters, and garnering every square foot of valuable real estate by maximising the use of superfluous space often provides the starting point for DHD’s approach. The process involves identifying every apartment’s key structural features and surveying the architectural fabric of the building. “Our over-riding guidelines are proportion and shape,” says David Howell, with the end goal being a sense that what is new has always belonged.

Furnishings are often used to create “rooms within rooms” and this is where DHD’s collaboration with artists and artisans is maximized. Bespoke furniture pieces, rugs and light fittings, in particular, exhibit an eclectic stylist’s approach, tailored to each client’s personality and esthetic. The eight residences featured here are highly individualistic responses to the architecture in which they reside, and the lifestyles of the people who occupy them.

Chapter 1. One57 Residence
Chapter 2. Gramercy Apartment
Chapter 3. Tribeca Penthouse
Chapter 4. Union Square Apartment
Chapter 5. Flatiron Residence
Chapter 6. One Madison Apartment
Chapter 7. Tribeca Apartment
Chapter 8. MoMA Tower Residence


Steffani Aarons is a Principal Designer and Partner at DHD where she has developed the interior⁠ design practice since 2001. In her work for both residential and commercial projects, Steffani⁠ utilizes textures, materials, color, and furniture to create a story which completes an overall design⁠ experience.

Steffani also specializes in the selection of art and accessories, special passions that she⁠ loves to bring to her assignments. ⁠Her approach mirrors the philosophy of DHD, where collected art⁠ and carefully curated objects add the layers needed in a home or public space to make it truly⁠ cultivated and whole. As an advocate for her clients, Steffani focuses on relationships in order to⁠ establish a design direction that is true to each person’s vision and style.

Always sensitive to⁠ individual needs and a careful guide through the process of construction and installation, she is⁠ known for her supportive, collaborative approach. She enjoys building longtime associations and⁠ frequently works on multiple homes for clients throughout the US.⁠