A bold abstract painting by Grace Hartigan adorns one wall of the salon.
A bold abstract painting by Grace Hartigan adorns one wall of the salon.
A Lee Industries settee in the living room sits beneath a portrait by Dutch master Sir Peter Lely. Dentil moldings in bright gold leaf offset Thibaut grass cloth.
In the dining room, antiques blend with a contemporary table and Lee Industries chairs covered in Holly Hunt fabric.
The powder room combines a contemporary sconce and a vintage Chinese cabinet that doubles as a vanity.
Light hues characterize the owners’ suite, featuring a custom bed by Ibello Upholstery and bedding in Sahco fabric.
The owners retained existing ceiling and wall treatments in the guest room, which showcases a bed reupholstered in a B Berger textile.
A Baltimore Empire console, circa 1815, occupies the entry hall, which leads to the salon.
Bernhardt chairs in bright-orange Kravet leather are a perfect complement to Daisy Craddock's bold squares of color hanging in the kitchen.
A niche near the entrance to the library houses a built-in cabinet and another work by Grace Hartigan.
In the salon, Jenkins contrasted the angles of the Art Deco-style fireplace with a round gold-leaf mirror by Interlude Home.
Interior designer Jay Jenkins, principal of Jenkins Baer Associates, had two points in his favor when he undertook the overhaul of a 2,500-square-foot apartment in the historic Guilford neighborhood of Baltimore City. First, there was his existing relationship with his longtime clients, a pair of empty nesters looking to create a sophisticated yet comfortable, urban pied-à-terre. And second, Jenkins had lived in the same 1929 Beaux Arts-style building 15 years earlier while establishing his design business.
“I know these spaces well,” he says. “It was exciting and challenging to bring a new direction to this home—not to fall back on what had worked before but rather create a whole new look.”
While the bones of the apartment remained the same, Jenkins was tasked with updating and lightening the feel of the home. He employed a mix of the homeowners’ existing furnishings and newer pieces throughout. “My clients asked me to create a beautiful environment that would feel current while using antiques, paintings and accessories from their prior home,” he explains. “It was a huge editing process.”
A long foyer hall introduces visitors to the residence. To the right lie two en-suite bedrooms and a library, while the powder room, kitchen and dining room are on the left. The passageway culminates in a grand salon large enough to accommodate two sitting areas.
All these spaces are embellished with architectural flourishes which Jenkins calls “classic Old World proportions and detailing.” Dentil moldings cap 10-foot-tall walls, complemented by faux-finished woodwork and original walnut floors. “These pre-War apartment buildings are few and far between in Baltimore—the gracious apartments that attracted people from their big houses,” the designer observes. “This building is Baltimore’s answer to a Park Avenue home.”
Jenkins’ challenge was to enhance the interior architecture while improving the flow of natural light in what is essentially a compartmentalized space. He added new lighting where it was needed, and introduced lighter palettes or reflective finishes. For example, the deep-red library walls are coated in shiny lacquer while the dining room ceiling is framed by new track lighting that highlights the owners’ artwork. Most of the original moldings are painted in shiny gold leaf.
To balance the homeowners’ dark-wood antiques, Jenkins went with light carpets in the living and dining rooms, along with textured walls in pale, neutral colors. Reupholstering existing pieces went a long way toward refreshing and integrating them with the newer furnishings—like the living room’s cocktail and side tables—that are sprinkled throughout. “In the dining room, I selected a reverse-painted, glass-topped dining table,” says Jenkins. “The last thing this room needed was a heavy mahogany table.” The dining chairs are dressed in embroidered cream silk with chic Greek Key nail head trim.
In the formal spaces, the couple’s museum-quality silver collection adds sparkle to every nook and cranny. These treasures are on display against a striking array of contemporary and period art. “It’s a truly great project when you have this high a level of quality art to work with—from stunning historical portraits to contemporary masters by the likes of Grace Hartigan and Pablo Picasso,” Jenkins enthuses.
Taking décor cues from the owners’ diverse art collection, the designer effortlessly layered in old and new, with art often serving as inspiration. Above the sofas in the living room, he juxtaposed a traditional portrait, Queen Catherine of Braganza by Sir Peter Lely, with a contemporary abstract. He selected rich and sumptuous upholstery fabrics but for the most part kept the furniture forms clean-lined. “We worked hard to give the spaces an eclectic, not-so-formal look,” he notes. “The higher ceilings and larger rooms helped, as did the mix of elements.”
A highlight of the space is an ebonized Art Deco-style fireplace, original to the dwelling, that anchors one end of the living room. Jenkins accentuated this striking architectural feature with a contemporary, gold-framed mirror and modern sconces. The library pays homage to the living room’s color-rich Grace Hartigan oil painting by way of deep-red lacquered walls, blue chenille sofas and a cocktail table with a black wrought-iron base. Jenkins animated the kitchen’s existing sleek, black cabinetry with bright-orange leather chairs atop a vermillion-and-teal rug. A series of vivid color studies by artist Daisy Craddock inspired the room’s bold palette.
The owners’ bedroom is a quiet retreat reminiscent of a luxe hotel. Walls in the window bay are upholstered in the same soft, striped silk as the window treatments, with bedding and furnishings in complementary neutrals. “Ultimately, comfort was key,” Jenkins avers. “We edited and curated to create a space that looks gallery-esque—but with all the comforts of home.”
Interior Design: Jay Jenkins, Jenkins Baer Associates, Baltimore, Maryland.
Wallpaper: thibautdesign.com. Mirror: interludehome.com. Chair by Fireplace: Owners’ collection. Ottoman near Fireplace: bunnywilliamshome.com. Chair Fabric: patrickgallagherdesign.com through johnrosselli.com. Ottoman Leather: Duralee through robertallendesign.com. Window Treatment Fabric: Beacon Hill through robertallendesign.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Settee between Windows: leeindustries.com. Settee Fabric: ralphlaurenhome.com through Folia. Pillows on Settee: pillowsalon.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Pillow Trim: samuelandsons.com. White Chair near Settee: bunnywilliamshome.com. White Chair Fabric: Beacon Hill through robertallendesign.com. Side Tables by Window: Owners’ collection. Lamps near Windows: jones-lighting.com. Painting: Owners’ collection. Abstract Painting: Owners’ collection. Chair Near Painting: Owners’ collection. Striped Sofa: Owners’ collection. Striped Sofa Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Striped Sofa Pillow Fabric: Beach Hill through robertallendesign.com. Striped Sofa Pillow Trim: samuelandsons.com. Side Tables: Owners’ collection. Brass Lamps: jones-lighting.com. Wooden Armchairs: Kevin Perry; 803-432-5427. Coffee Table: hickorywhite.com. Fluted Drum Table: globalviews.com. Abstract Art: bensoncobb.com.
Wallpaper: weitznerlimited.com. Table: mclainwiesand.com. Chairs: leeindustries.com. Chair Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Rug: sennehknot.com. Sideboard, Mirror, Console & Clock: Owners’ collection. Window Treatment Fabric: grovesbros.com through michaelclearyllc.com. Window Treatment Trim: fschumacher.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Stool: Owners’ collection.
Painting: Owners’ collection.
Bed Re-Upholstery: ibelloupholstery.com. Bed Upholstery Fabric: legacylinens.com. Bench: Owners’ collection. Rug: Owners’ collection. Red Nightstand: oomphhome.com. End Table: theodorealexander.com. Table Lamp: jones-lighting.com.
Rug & Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Ottoman: hickorychair.com. Ottoman Fabric: osborneandlittle.com. Sofa: hickorychair.com. Sofa Fabric: romo.com. Sofa Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Sofa Pillows Fabric: hollyhunt.com; fschumacher.com. Sofa Pillows Trim: samuelandsons.com. Shade Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Shade Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Corner Lamp & Sconce: jones-lighting.com. Art: art-vista.com.
Bed: Custom through ibelloupholstery.com. Bed Upholstery: Sahco through kvadrat.dk. Bedding: williams-sonoma.com; Penny Green Ltd; 410-484-0996. Bed Pillow: pillowsalon.com. Chairs: mrandmrshoward.sherrillfurniture.com. Chairs Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Chairs Pillow Fabric: scalamandre.com. Chairs Pillows Trim: estout.com. Drapery Fabrication: modified by draperycontractors.com. Bedside Tables: bennetthome.com. Bedside Lamps: jones-lighting.com. Chest: Owners’ collection. Lamps Near Window: jones-lighting.com.