NEW YORK (Vogue) — During the day, Alexandra O’Neill’s Greenwich Village apartment doubles as her brand’s headquarters. The Markarian team of four taps away at their laptops on the Bertoia dining chairs, surrounded by clothing racks displaying the Spring and Resort collections, while at night, O’Neill invites friends over for dinner parties. Menus are created based on what is fresh at the nearby Union Square Greenmarket and served on her favorite zodiac Laboratorio Paravicini plates and vintage French tablecloths or Zsuzsanna Nyul table linens. On the evening before my visit, a gaggle of friends had gathered for Halloween costume-making, and during my tour of the apartment, the feather-and-jewel-festooned headdresses were displayed alongside Markarian’s Spring ’18 Saturn clutches.
The smooth, clean lines and muted hues of Alexandra O’Neill’s Greenwich Village apartment might seem to exist in sharp contrast to the festive frills of her clothing line, Markarian, but a love of textiles and attention to detail suffuses both. “I love doing prints and over-the-top for the clothing because it changes seasonally, but your home is more permanent and you’re never going to get sick of neutrals,” explains the designer, her Yorkie, Winston, curled on her lap and her Maltese, Milly, peering up from the antique Persian rug (brought back from a family trip to Turkey). “But I have all my interesting pops.” Those pops include a pair of cobalt mid-century pendant lamps above the matte black-painted kitchen and gem-color velvet pillows from ABC Carpet & Home on the oyster white sofa.
During a complete gut renovation of the prewar one-bedroom, O’Neill uncovered and restored many of the original moldings and design elements that had been hidden and built over through the years. Cove lighting was replaced with moldings modeled after the originals, and the lowered kitchen and hallway ceilings were pushed back up to their original height. For O’Neill, the decision to take on the task of decorating the apartment on her own was an easy one. “I’m so specific in the taste that I have and the things that I like that it translates to my home as well,” she explains, still admitting she couldn’t have done it without her nimble project manager. “And I’m such a homebody, so if I’m not comfortable in my home it’s not ideal.”
A giant Cire Trudon Odalisque candle accents the ledge below the French windows, which O’Neill had installed throughout the apartment. By deepening the existing windowsills and pulling the bookshelves further out into the room, she created two cozy window seats, one used to display treasures and the other, dressed with a Madeline Weinrib pillow, as her reading nook, a grapevine charmingly climbing up the outside of the window. The rose gold mirror above the mantelpiece hides the TV where O’Neill likes to watch “Stranger Things” or “Versailles,” though during my visit, the entire wall is obscured by the rack of Markarian Spring dresses with floor-length feathery metallic fringe that tickles Winston’s snout as he passes.
The self-professed 1stdibs junkie sourced many of her mid-century gems from some of her favorite dealers on the site. “I love 1stdibs so much, I got almost everything from there,” she says. In the foyer facing the kitchen, a 1stdibs-sourced console is home to a pencil-on-paper portrait of O’Neill’s great-grandmother Abby, a trio of blown glass vases scored at the 28th Street flower market, and a brass conch shell vase gifted from her college best friend.
The living room is the heart of the home. A pair of large, Ad Reinhardt–esque abstract canvases created by O’Neill in college hang above the Restoration Hardware sofa. Topiaries in John Derian Tuscan pots are framed on the windowsill by the greenery of the courtyard below. A pair of James Sansum chairs flanks the Milo Baughman burl wood coffee table layered with interior design books, a baby alligator head from Key West, and tropical fronds in a green copper vase.