A huge vintage ‘Ask Alexander’ poster from the early 20th century takes pride of place on the wall above the dining table. “Alexander was a famous conjurer/magician/seer/vaudevillian,” says Pam Sommers. “It was my late husband’s and I love having it as a focal point in the room.”
Photo: Claire Esparros
Speaking of the blues and how I ended up with an all-blue apartment,” says Pam Sommers from her 550-square-foot Village studio, “basically, my apartment was born out of a two-inch piece of stone.
It all started with an intention to replace kitchen counters; she stumbled across Jac Elan tile store, where she found the “Cambria Quartz line which had really cool colors. Then I spotted this navy square with tiny blue pops, which gave it depth and life. And that gave him other ideas. “I changed almost everything inside this apartment, except the floor and the windows,” she says with a smile. “I had a trip, 100%.”
But to back it up: Two years ago, after selling the 2,000-square-foot loft where she and her late husband had lived for 26 years, Sommers decided to downsize. What she didn’t think she wanted: a 1960s post-war building or a one-room studio. Then she walked into this place and found it was exactly what she wanted. “The lobby was Mad Men, mid-century chic, the layout was very reminiscent of my loft, and it had this view (facing south), which overlooked the iconic rooftops of the village, so nothing will ever obstruct it – or at least my living. It didn’t hurt that there was a large closet where she could also fit a washer/dryer.
She then began what she describes as her “joyful adventure” of methodically purging, donating and selling a lifetime of loft: white Wedgwood, copper pots, sets of linens, pottery and – given her work as advertising director of Rizzoli – less than 3,000 pounds. (She still has about 1,000, though.) She created an Instagram account that she dubbed “Pam Sells the Ranch” and ran it like a virtual garage sale. As for her library, “I literally did this Marie Kondo thing of taking each book and thinking, ‘Do I like this? Do I need this? »
Sommers studied art and illustration at Parsons; ran Cherchez Antiques and Potpourri, where she learned about furniture and how to buy at auction; stylized photo shoots; and started the Illustration Gallery on East 11th Street (where she represented Roz Chast for a time). After closing the gallery, she went to work for Taschen Books, then Rizzoli, where she remained for two decades.
She knows a floor plan well and did her due diligence to find her dream team which includes contractor Artur Patycki and carpenter-cabinetmaker Jozef Zygmunt, who were able to put away what she didn’t unload: think combination front cupboards that extend all the way to the ceiling and custom kitchen cabinets, also designed to extend all the way to the ceiling.
“The biggest decision,” Sommers says, “was whether I brought furniture I owned, like a large Empire-style chest of drawers and a primitive country crockery cabinet painted green.” She ditched the heavier pieces, opting for sleeker built-in bookcases and a bench seat for the dining/work area.
The rigorously edited decor includes a mini-version of the Moroso Big Mama sofa she had in her old loft, a mid-century-looking Ikea stool now lacquered in a shade of blue, a large dose of Stratford Blue by Benjamin Moore on the walls and Blue Heron on the cabinets, a bed from West Elm with four giant drawers underneath and an Ikea light fixture for the bed area that Sommers had loved for years, now out of stock but found on eBay. His passion for bistro chairs is also satisfied.
“Living in a smaller space was such a pleasure. There was no adjustment period,” Sommers says. shards of Sommers’ glass, collected during his forays through the mud along the banks of the Thames, lie in bowls on a table at the foot of his bed.