The Jewel Box

The Jewel Box

Messana O'Rorke
New York, NY, USA | View Map
Project Year
Eric Laignel
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Gioia Venatino Marble Finish: HonedStone Source
Faucet, Shower head, Wall mounted faucetVOLA
Toilet: Model Aquia wall mountedTOTO
Stool - Model: CB-21 Tractor Stool, Solid Ebonized Ash/Oil FinishBassam Fellows
Toilet flushGeberit
Bed container - French Cow Hide. Color: SlateKyle Bunting

Product Spec Sheet
Gioia Venatino Marble Finish: Honed
Faucet, Shower head, Wall mounted faucet
Toilet: Model Aquia wall mounted
Stool - Model: CB-21 Tractor Stool, Solid Ebonized Ash/Oil Finish
Toilet flush
by Geberit
Bed container - French Cow Hide. Color: Slate

The Jewel Box

Messana O'Rorke as Architects

The Mandate
The clients, a couple with no children, wanted a pied-ŕ-terre evoking a room at a boutique hotel, albeit with a hidden bedroom and ample space to accommodate cooking and entertaining. In its original state, this was a typical studio apartment, with a bed in the living area, a galley kitchen, a bathroom with a tub and two built-in closets. What it lacked in layout, the 13th floor apartment more than made up for in views: west-facing over the West Village with the iconic Jefferson Market Library Clock Tower in the foreground, and New Jersey in the distance.


The Vision
Our goal was to maximize the physical and atmospheric size of the apartment by designing multiple spaces that fit efficiently into an organized structure, creating the illusion of a larger space. We found inspiration in everyday objects that are similarly simultaneously beautiful and efficient: jewelry boxes, steamer trunks and even RVs.


The Process
All walls, plumbing fixtures, appliances and interior finishes were removed, leaving a bare open space. White oak plank flooring was used throughout to create a calm and cohesive space. Custom-designed European fumed oak-faced storage was installed along the north and south walls (which also acted as a layer of soundproofing between apartments). The northern storage unit contains books, clothing, and a television; the southern unit cleverly conceals the entire kitchen, including appliances, and associated storage.


The bed “container,” clad in unlacquered brass, was inserted into the space 3 feet from the entry door and 3 feet from the northern storage unit, achieving the client mandate of a hidden bedroom while also creating an entry vestibule and a hallway. The inside of this gleaming structure is lined in grey Italian cowhide; the base of the bed is raised, creating additional storage underneath, and allowing the clients to take in the aforementioned views from bed.


The living area now functions as just that, with a custom oak table spanning the length of the window, acting as both a “front porch” (overlooking the city and amazing sunset views) as well as a desk that can be reconfigured as a dining table when entertaining guests. The reimagined bathroom, now sans tub, is an homage to, and completely covered in, Carrara marble.


The Result
The experience of this apartment unfolds gradually but dramatically, much to the surprise and delight of visitors who often have preconceived notions based on the building’s uninspiring exterior and public spaces. And because every major element of the apartment – with the exception of the incredible view – is concealed behind beautiful and luxurious surfaces, beginning with the initial amuse bouche of the quietly dramatic marble bathroom, continuing on to the professional-grade kitchen, and culminating in the showstopper of a bedroom, clad in brass and lined in warm grey cowhide, mimicking the velvet that lines actual jewelry boxes. The ultra-efficiency and wow-factor per square foot was very intentionally designed and, judging from reactions of all who enter, very successful.


Material Used :

1. Walls, floor and vanity: Vendor: Stone Source. Name: Gioia Venatino Marble Finish: Honed.
3. Shower head: Manufacture: Vola, Finish: un lacquered brass. Vendor: AFNY
4. Wall mounted faucet: Manufacture: Vola, Finish: un lacquered brass. Vendor: AFNY
5. PTrap: Manufacture: Mountain. Finish: Un lacquered brass. Vendor: AFNY
6. Toilet: Manufacture: Toto. Model Aquia wall mounted. Vendor: AFNY
7. Toilet flush: Manufacture: Geberit. Vendor: AFNY
8. Medicine Cabinet: Custom: Brass and Gioia Venatino Marble Finish: Honed

Living Space
1. Wall/Cabinetry Panelling: Manufacture and Vendor: LV Wood
2. Flooring: Wood type: European White Oak, 7” wide. Color: Custom designed by Messana O’Rorke
3. Wood Floor: Manufacture: Hakdwood. Vendor: LV Wood Flooring: Color ‘Pure' European White Oak, 9” wide.
4. Bed container: Interior Material: Manufacture: Kyle Bunting: French Cow Hide. Color: Slate. Vendor: Edelman Leather
5. Television: Samsung
6. Area Rug: Vendor: Aronson Floor Covering. Material: 1582.1526 Charming Chandler wool and tencel carpeting, Color: Ash 1484
7. Coffee table: Design: Poul Kjaerholm: Model: PK65 Anniversary edition. Petra Marble Top, Satin Brushed Stainless Steel Base with an electro plated anthracite. Vendor: Suite New York
8. Easy chairs: Design: Poul Kjaerholm: Model: PK22 Anniversary edition. Royal Nubuck, (Suede Leather), Brushed Stainless Steel Base with an electro plated anthracite. Vendor: Suite New York
9. Stool: Manufacture: Bassam Fellows: Model: CB-21 Tractor Stool, Solid Ebonized Ash/Oil Finish. Vendor: Suite New York.
10. Bed side lights: Manufacture: Viabizzuno. Model: roy parete wall copper bronze spot light, led 3000K 3W .
11. Sofa: Manufacture: Maxalto. Model: Dives

1. All appliances, induction cook top, combo steam oven, warming drawer and dish washer Miele except refrigerator by Liebherr
2. Faucet: Vola

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Project Credits
Mechanical Engineer
Lighting designer
Products used in this project
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