James Beard House Boardroom

James Beard was an amazing chef, and the James Beard Foundation is an amazing organization, but the former home of James Beard is somewhat less distinguished when it comes to its interiors, and that would be putting it diplomatically!

The James Beard House, on West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, is a destination for foodies. Nearly every night (well, about 200 times a year) the James Beard House hosts remarkable visiting chefs serving 80 lucky diners from what must be the smallest commercial kitchen in the business.

The interiors are “challenged”, in part by their history and in part by being victims of their own success. There is hardly a moment to rethink any of the spaces, but we were lucky enough to get a tiny window to revamp the top floor Peter Kump Boardroom. It badly needed help.

Wrapped in dark brown grass cloth with a leopard print carpet (yes, they actually make those) and bookshelves filled with a random collection of books, bound magazines and…stuff. The table sat uncomfortably off center from the only distinguished element in the room, a marble clad fireplace from the original townhouse.

We flash mobbed the place, replacing the carpet, painting the grass cloth white(ish) relocating and reconfiguring the table and replacing the chairs. For the bookshelves we ‘curated’ the books by color (after removing their dust jackets) and added nearly a dozen Noguchi lamps for the soft glow the room previously lacked. With planted herbs in the windows and white solar blinds replacing the old venetian blinds finish the space. It now has the light and airy feel beyond its tiny size.

Finally, with the table correctly placed on axis with the fireplace, we topped the mantle with a new Samsung TV that mimics a framed print when it is not being used as a monitor for presentations. It is very convincing, as is the whole room now that its ready for its close up!