Ritika Bhasin admits that when she and her husband stumbled upon their Upper East Side apartment, it was far from perfect. A uninspired view and minimal natural light—dealbreakers for most home-seekers—were among the initial flaws they observed. While the average homeowner-to-be may have walked out immediately, Bhasin is not the average homeowner.
With a background in architecture and design, she saw these deterrents as more of a bridge than a barrier. “I had a vision for the home when I first saw it,” she says. “I knew that it had potential.” She was going to transform the dim, unexciting apartment into a vivacious home for her and her family. The prewar home was spacious, with a great flow and a wood burning fireplace–two important factors that could be checked off from the get-go. Having worked in the past with traditional architecture, Bhasin planned to let the existing moldings, trim, and casings be her guide. She explains that while her style has evolved over the years, she’s always been drawn to bold colors and patterns, varied textures and unique silhouettes. “I am not married to a particular style or brand and am always pairing the unexpected,” she says. And that’s exactly what she did. The dark spaces begged for color, so Bhasin started by drawing from her favorite bright fabrics for inspiration.
In the living room, a custom sofa in Robert Allen raspberry velvet is flanked by antique corinthian column lamps. The art above the sofa is by Bhasin’s mother-in law, the Karl Springer style coffee table and end tables are vintage.
To craft a custom home while staying within her budget, Bhasin wove in vintage furniture and accessories, much of which were repainted or reupholstered. “We have spent more weekends than I can count driving out of the city to pick up my vintage finds–not to mention trips with my six-month pregnant belly scouring through antique stores,” she says. Having designed custom furniture for professional projects in the past, Bhasin prides herself on having a skilled eye for picking the right pieces: “The custom items were essential to bring my vision to life.”
On a road trip to Pennsylvania, she picked up vintage Ming ottomans, painted them black, and upholstered them in a Clarence House Zebra velvet. The secretary desk was sourced from Missouri–she hand-painted it and converted it into a bar.
“I didn’t think my living room would have pink walls,” she says. But given the apartment’s lack of light, she knew that color would be essential in creating the illusion of a brighter space. After all, this home debunks any myth that a raspberry sofa can’t coexist with other statement pieces: See an assortment of patterned pillows, a vibrant turquoise chair, vintage end tables and pop art to boot.
Consistently bold choices appear effortless in the hands of a design maven, though it did take some thoughtful planning. Starting with a pattern she loved, Bhasin reflected elements of that design in each room. Her rule: every space can handle one large-scale print, one geometric print, and one small-scale print. This formula helped ground whimsical designs, striking the perfect balance of color, style, pattern, and texture.
In the dining foyer, an elephant tusk dining table is surrounded by chairs upholstered in a cheerful ikat by Clarence house, while a Kelly Wearstler chandelier shines overhead. A play of forms plus one striking pattern equals a balanced formula in Ritika’s playbook.
The master bedroom maintains a colorful vintage vibe, this time with a more subdued palette that brings some of the outdoors in. Osborne and Little’s butterfly pattern upholstery—seen on the lampshades and chair—inspired the bedroom’s overall color scheme. The custom headboard in a Schumacher fabric is flanked by hand-painted vintage Korean chests; the settee at the end of the bed is vintage and custom upholstered.
“I pushed myself out of my comfort zone when it came to color and I am so glad that I did. They make the space cheerful and happy,” she says. When asked what her favorite part of the home is, Bhasin doesn’t mention the countless pieces of hand-painted furniture or meticulous fabric selection. Instead, she says that the design process was most memorable. “Being your own client, finding items that we loved, the innumerable trips to pick things up, hand-finishing custom pieces…that’s what was truly special.”
Credit: Lucia Tonelli, ElleDecor