Will Speros | January 4, 2017
Old New York’s nightlife scene sets the tone for Maxwell’s Chophouse, a Manhattan eatery that swaps traditional masculine steakhouse conventions for a refined homage to the city. Conveying a glamorous yet residential flair, the restaurant is housed in the trendy NoMad neighborhood’s historic Centurian building, where much of the original interior architecture was updated to align better with the mother-daughter owners’ vision.
“While we maintained [the building’s original details] undisturbed, all the architecture you see in the space is new,” says partner Dan Mazzarini of locally based BHDM Design.
The team revamped the interiors with a black and white palette accented with gold and saddle leather details. Two geometric stone patterns span the floors of the dining room for a high contrast, modern effect, while walnut hardwood floors are featured in the private dining space.
“We wanted this room to be softer and more residential in feel,” Mazzarini explains. “And the tone of the wood helps to warm up the black and gold.”
The private dining room walls have been handpainted with a gilded pinstripe, a complement to the large, custom brass and reeded glass light fixture that echoes an Art Deco motif. A gilded wine closet glows along a wall of the space, serving as both a light feature and a storage solution.
Throughout, Maxwell’s highlights the city, showcasing numerous scenes through photography dating as far back as the early 1900s. The black and white images also adorn the walls of the restrooms, which are clad in handpainted chevron and slabs of Saint Laurent marble. And mirrors are a dominant theme, chosen partly to make the long, narrow dining room feel wider, Mazzarini points out. “The smoked and beveled quality of the glass adds a little glamour and sparkle,” he adds.
Reupholstered in saddle leather, seating conveys a feminine silhouette with rounded backs, while custom brass and blackened metal barstools are also feature leather detailing. The bar’s custom millwork is inspired by British watering holes—even clad with brass elements designed and cast across the pond, and a high-gloss finish that completes the statement. And with ceilings in excess of 19 feet, the backbar needed to evoke grandeur and function like the restaurant’s hearth, so designers added 11-foot-tall gold leafed and backlit towers to allow the walls and spirits to shine, while a series of large brass pendants descend from the ceiling above.
“We thought the elongated stems would call out the verticality of the space,” Mazzarini notes. “Plus, everyone looks good sitting in front of or under a little golden glow.”