What design duo Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, who founded Roman and Williams in 2002, don’t do is punctuate the urban landscape with squiggly buildings that make a bold statement outside and underwhelm once you get inside. What they don’t do is build structures that are dated before they are even finished. What design Standefer and Alesch do do brilliantly is design buildings and interiors that respect the historical context of their neighborhoods with materials that are made to last. Their most recent project is the ten-story condominium The Fitzroy, which they created in collaboration with JDS Development Group and Largo. And like their first from-the-ground-up residential building in Nolita, at 211 Elizabeth Street, materiality is of major importance. Here, the living room of the model apartment, which includes a luxurious wall of oversize double-pane wood casement windows, features the Roman and Williams Guild Reader Chair and Footstool. The handmade rug is a Beni Ourain Carpet found on Etsy.
Roman and Williams is renowned for its meticulous attention to details. The architecture of the apartment, such as the hallway with oak-framed doorways and chevron-pattern oak floors that run throughout the space, is reminiscent of apartments more likely found in a building like the Dakota than a new condo in Chelsea. The 14 residences feature 11-foot ceilings and range from two to four bedrooms. The building amenities include a wine cellar, children’s art room, and a roof deck.
The dining room opens to the custom kitchen designed by Roman and Williams, handcrafted by Smallbone of Devizes. The copper pendants are also by Roman and Williams. All the hardware fixtures are from the Roman and Williams collection at Waterworks and include a faucet over the stove for easy access to filling large pots. The copper backsplash enhances the elegance of the warm high-gloss gray paint. The flowers on the dining table are by Emily Thompson Flowers. The chandelier is an antique Italian piece from the ’50s.
If you have been to the Roman and Williams Guild gallery shop and restaurant, complete with a bed in the middle of the space that invites major lounging, you might find yourself wanting to live there. An apartment in the Fitzroy is the next best thing.
William Holland Cuprosa Bateau copper soaking tubs grace the marble-clad master bathrooms — perfect for candlelit bathing.
A detail of the copper and glazed terracotta tiles of the Fitzroy’s façade. “What is meaningful here,” Standefer says, “is creating the building and interiors in a New York tradition of technology, craft and beauty. Stephen created over 60 profiles that we custom-made out of terracotta baked from the Earth in this remarkable green that is so luscious and reflective.”
Alesch’s hand-drawn façade of the Fitzroy is a modern version of the elegance and detailed layering of prewar building in the city. “Our buildings are not kicking, twisting, or flexing,” Alesch says, “They express our time, ‘our’ being ourselves.”