Interior designer Edward Yedid talks about his work, his love of art and his quintessential bachelor pad in midtown Manhattan
Last year, Edward Yedid was asked to design a room inspired by a holiday of his choice for a charity show house. He chose Independence Day. “It was a space for a man who wants to have time for himself and be surrounded by the things that he loves—art, books — and no TVs,” Yedid says. “It was really about self-reflection and personal independence, which I think is a luxury these days.”
It’s a description that could also sum up the masculine vibe in Yedid’s own apartment located on the 31st floor of a high-rise condominium tower near Bloomingdale’s in midtown Manhattan. If 40 years ago, New York’s single Don Drapers furnished their bachelor pads with push-button gizmos and fully stocked bars, Yedid’s contemporary approach is both more up-to-date and more personal (it’s hard to imagine Don Draper with a living room display of custom-designed Nike Air Jordans). But it’s equally seductive.
"“AS A BORN AND BRED NEW YORKER, I HAD A ROLODEX OF PEOPLE,” YEDID SAYS."
The first thing one notices upon entering the apartment is a tall vertical painting by the British artist Julian Opie of the silhouette of a woman — arms stretched up and bent behind her head — clad in a black bra, garters and stockings. The Kelly-green background adds an energizing jolt of color to the minimalist white and grey decor. “The painting, which Opie did on vinyl, was the first thing I bought for this apartment,” Yedid says. “He just took simple lines and really captured the nature of a woman…sexy and confident.”
If she had a face (the figure’s head is represented by a blank oval) she would spend her days gazing out at the living room’s enviable urban view. The apartment’s rear wall is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a dense cluster of midtown skyscrapers while opening up to a vista of Central Park, which is just a few blocks away. “The view is why I bought this place,” the designer says.
When he bought the one-bedroom condominium just over a decade ago, Yedid was studying interior design at Parson’s School of Design in New York. Thomas Hickey, a former project architect for Robert A.M. Stern who had designed DKNY boutiques, was his professor. After Yedid graduated, he teamed up with his former teacher to found GRADE Architecture + Interior Design, a firm based in SoHo. “He was starting an architecture firm and needed somebody specializing in interiors,” Yedid says. “As a born and bred New Yorker, I had a Rolodex of people.”
Yedid grew up on the Upper East Side just seven blocks uptown from his current home in the tower known as the Savoy. Naturally, the building has an only-in-New-York-kids real estate back story involving Donald Trump: In the mid-1980s, Trump hired architect Philip Birnbaum to design Trump Plaza, an imposing limestone, tinted glass and metal apartment house on Third Avenue. Birnbaum subsequently gave the Trump architectural plans to another developer who began to build an identical tower diagonally across the street. Trump sued and won. The judge forged a compromise: the Savoy could have a similar shape but had to be clad in different materials. “That’s why the Trump building is gold and beige and cream, whereas this one is black and silver,” Yedid says.
As his career has evolved, so has the apartment. “In the beginning, I just painted the walls and did the floors,” he says. “I was a student with an architect’s desk in my bedroom.” But today he and Hickey have a thriving downtown design firm; their projects range from Victoria’s Secret stores to an apartment for an NBA basketball player. During that time, Yedid has carefully curated a mix of art and furniture in his home, from a Le Corbusier pony-skin chaise to a side table by Eileen Gray. His most recent acquisition was a charcoal-and-watercolor drawing on vellum by the Syrian-born contemporary artist Diana Al-Hadid, whose work he admires for its architectural quality. He, too, has Syrian roots (his mother was born in Aleppo, while his late father is from Beirut).
"THE VIEW IS WHY I BOUGHT THIS PLACE."
The black-and-grey master bedroom has a suede-covered wall and a B&B Italia closet system where his blue jeans and shirts are organized by color. The pièce de résistance is a painting by the artist Peter Tunney, which Yedid had commissioned for the fictional bachelor’s Independence Day suite. “He had been doing a skulls concept and we talked about burning the paper and adding guns and making it edgy,” he says.
Just two days earlier, the Al-Hadid artwork had arrived and Yedid moved the skull-and-guns painting to the bedroom where he hung it over his bed. While not everyone would want to rest their head under an image this macabre, Yedid loves the outré statement. “I’ve slept better in the last two days,” he says, “than I have in a while.”