Archive for the ‘Louis XV’ Tag

Toi’s pad – The flamboyant designer from the Malaysia’ East Coast sets up home in Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side.

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THE boy from Kelantan has set a new gold standard for himself. Again. “Glamour! That’s it, if you need one word to describe my apartment,” said Zang Toi, who, after 26 years of hard work in New York, finally has a place of his own. 

 Very French-inspired, Toi’s entire 120sq m (1,300sq foot) apartment is decorated in black and white, with touches of charcoal.   It was, according to the designer, a modern take on the Louis XV period.  “I wanted it to look like a gorgeous black-and-white photo of Versailles.”   The 1901 digs was originally the home of the man who owned the Remington typewriter company, who died in the 1960s.   It is located in a posh address at Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a stone’s throw from Central Park. 

Even New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg owned a property located just a few minutes walk from Toi’s pad, and New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer has a home nearby, too. 

 There is a fireplace in Toi’s living room, dominated by two life-sized black-and-white portraits of Marie Antoinette.   The tall windows did not require drapes, Toi said, as he pulled out a little shutter to illustrate his point. 

A magnificent late 18th Baccarat chandelier from Paris hangs in the living room. “It was originally in gold, but I had it stripped and re-plated with silver.” 

Also in his living room is a little photo gallery where he displayed pictures of his family. In black and white, of course. One photograph featured him being conferred an award by the Sultan of Kelantan. 

 Toi’s bedroom features a similar fireplace. The rugs in both rooms are silky smooth; they are black and silver fox rugs, respectively.  His china dinnerware looks quite a prized collection. Toi had them custom-made and hand-painted by Herend of Hungary.   Even the knobs on the white lacquered kitchen cabinet were custom-made. Toi has a collection of silverware from London, too.  

The outcome of his personal decorating has been awesome. A wealthy client of his has since offered to buy his one-bedroom apartment lock, stock and barrel, at any price Toi wanted. 

 “When she saw my place, she asked me if I wanted to sell it exactly as it is, with all the furniture,” he said.  The answer was “no”, at least for the moment. “This is my home now. I have looked over at least 100 apartments before I settled on this one. A lot of love has gone into it. I want to enjoy it for now.”  He spoke of how he had often told himself to buy his own place.  “But I never came across something that I really liked. I was never in a rush, though. I would rather wait for the perfect place.”  Then an advertisement came along, which declared the digs as “Paris in New York”.   “I walked into this apartment and it was like love at first sight. It has great ‘bones’. I knew I could do a lot with this place.”  Before he even began renovations, someone offered him US$2.5mil (RM8.3mil) for the place.  He moved into the apartment almost two years ago, after 10 months of extensive renovation and decorating.  “The height of the ceiling and the way it was decorated ? I thought I was waking up at a suite in the Ritz in Paris,” he said of those early days under his own roof.  Incidentally, his bed is the most indulgent piece of furniture. The mahogany Francois Linke bed, which he bought from an antique shop in New Orleans, was given a new coat of black lacquer.   Toi’s hectic work schedule means that he gets to spend only about five to six months at his apartment as the rest of the year is taken up by travelling and working.  But if he is in town, his routine is to take a long shower in his all-white marble bathroom once he arrives home from work.   During this interview, music from Chet Baker, the jazz singer and trumpeter wafted throughout the apartment. 

“If I want something more upbeat, it would be Coldplay,” he said. 

 Toi loves living alone. “I like my space. My schedule is so hectic that after a long day, I just need that time to myself.”   It is also partly due to his background. Growing up the youngest of seven siblings, he remembered that room-sharing was a common practice until he was about nine, when he got a tiny bedroom to call his own.  

“Maybe that’s why I am just so used to having my own space.”  

 By FOO YEE PING  from thestar.com.my Sunday January 6, 2008

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