The apartment’s design, by Anthony Ingrao and Randy Kemper, is enough to rival its stunning views
When film, television, and theater actor Lois Robbins and her husband, financier Andrew Zaro, first moved into their brand-new Central Park–adjacent apartment, their dream pad was still somewhat of a hazy vision. To put it bluntly, says Robbins, “It was a very beautiful college dormitory with lots of rented furniture.”
The couple lived in the home for a time as it was, just to get a sense of the space. “I think it’s really great when you can live somewhere before you decide on a design,” Robbins says. “One thing became apparent: The views are so spectacular, I wanted to take advantage of them from every room.” They enlisted architect Andrea Miranda to further open up the living areas so they could inhale more of the incredible light from the full-bleed windows on display into adjoining spaces. “We opened up the walls between the living room and the dining room, as well as the walls between the living room and the den,” Robbins explains. “If we are sitting in the dining room or den, we can still completely enjoy the views.”
“For us, this is a luxurious pied-à-terre,” Robbins says of the project. “We had decided on really doing [it] for us, as our last child has left for college.” That meant bringing on the interior design team of Anthony Ingrao and Randy Kemper, whom Robbins had admired for some time. “They really listen to their client,” Robbins adds. “They let me have enormous input.”
The couple’s brief: to make every room feel beautiful yet comfortable, inviting, and warm. The ability to readily entertain, even in such opulent and art-filled surroundings, was paramount. (In one instance, a Wayne Thiebaud painting in one hanging-out room raises up to reveal a television—perfect for Oscars-viewing parties, Robbins says.) “They don’t like super minimal,” Kemper says. “They like things to feel luxurious. Still, we all wanted to take this very grand space in a very glamorous building and not let it seem so formal and stodgy. More earthbound and comfortable, less slick and fancy.”
Where to begin? While the family has residences in Los Angeles, Miami, and the Hamptons, there were no furniture transfers made. “It was an incredible shopping spree,” says Robbins. “The only thing that came with us is the artwork—which looks so much better in this space than it ever did. I have to say, I’ve never had so much fun.”
The couple has a consequential collection of more than 100 artworks, mostly hyperreal or abstract works by eminent modern artists. It would certainly be tempting to fashion the apartment like a gallery. “We treated each of the rooms individually and didn’t fully consider the art collection when we were doing backgrounds,” Kemper says. “We aimed to treat all the rooms as elegantly as possible, where art only added to the luster.”
Says Ingrao of their clients, “They were more traditional in the beginning, and that slowly changed.” Kemper elaborates, “[Robbins’s] interest in artisans and the people who are making contemporary furniture right now grew, and that changed her focus…to something more evolved and current. The thing about Lois is that she’s such an exuberant and passionate person. She loves the arts, she loves music, she loves design. When we decided to go into this more contemporary direction, she went full throttle.” As a result, each room pulses with textures and organic shapes.
The group quickly bonded over the bold choice to go with burgundy-lacquered walls in the den. “I said, ‘Let’s give that room a lot of warmth,’ and they thought it was a great idea,” Robbins recalls. The designers, who had originally presented a sky blue for the same room’s walls, asked Robbins what her favorite color was. “She said, ‘Well I think I look awesome in Bordeaux, so we said, then let’s make sure the room is awesome,” Kemper recalls.
Still, it’s what’s outside their home that continues to leave the couple breathless. “I will never take these views for granted or get tired of it,” Robbins says. “I can see people skating in the wintertime or just on the lawn at Strawberry Fields. You feel so part of Manhattan, looking out and seeing what everyone is doing. It’s pretty spectacular.”