Fox-Nahem Associates is a high-end interior design firm located in New York. Established in the 1980s by Tom Fox and Joe Nahem, their works are completely custom-made, one-of-its-kind home interiors, which re-imagine space as a canvas that brings together many verticals like material, finishes, furnishings, art and sculpture in a harmonious whole, joining comfort and style.
With the sudden passing of Tom Fox in 2003, the firm has been spear-headed by Joe Nahem while their works continue to be in celebration of their partnership. A Parson’s Design School alumnus and an AD100-nominated designer, Joe Nahem places the client at the centre of his work. Every client and project elicit a different artistic touch; this is fulfilled by a world-wide network of craftsmen, artisans, designers and artists who Nahem works with to curate a space overseeing every facet of the process to turn-key completion, from architecture to bed linens.
“Decorating is intimate and personal. As a designer, you have to be able to let go of your ego and design a personalized space that is going to reflect the people who live there” – JOE NAHEM
1. Robert Downey Jr Windmill Cottage.
East Hampton New York
Fox-Nahem repurposed a 19th century shingle cottage with a windmill, originally constructed as a playhouse, into a holiday home for famed Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. and his family. It was a true marriage of the client’s quirky tastes paired with his wife’s eye for efficiency and ease, and Nahem’s skill of combining comfort with style and a touch of luxury. Decking up the insides wasn’t merely superficial as the designer so much curates space and its usage as he designs it, using various facets of interior design – from display curios to placemaking furniture. He renders his touch to architecture too; the living room was reconfigured to give greater impact by sinking it and using a wraparound fireplace wall, designed by ceramic artist Peter Lane, which also doubled up as seating with plush cushions. Nahem designed a fresh, freestanding pavilion next to the pool, complete enough to hold people in the sunshine all day.
The project found mention in Architectural Digest, a prestigious architectural magazine that features the best of works from across the globe.
2. Annabelle Selldorf Beach House.
Hampton, New York
The house was the brainchild of architect Annabelle Selldorf, who conceived a mahogany-panel-wrapped residence with 80 feet of glass doors to create a structure that blurs lines between inside and outside. The brown house with white walls was canvas for interior designer Joe Nahem who was given the task of creating a space that would display the clients’ blue-chip modern art collection, simultaneously underplaying their preciousness; not sterile and corporate, but a cosy space where children could run around. Working with clients, who were themselves eye-deep in design and aesthetics, saw a lot of discussion giving birth to a product that was unique, quaint and queer. The project found mention in Architectural Digest.
3. Gramercy Park Penthouse
New York City
This Manhattan 16th floor penthouse saw renovation and reiteration under Joe Nahem’s eye. The client was a divorced father with four children, and many more modern art paintings and sculptures. What started out as a subtle backdrop for the penthouse evolved into an assemblage that played background and also demanded eyes to itself. Fume-oak floors, diamond coat-plaster walls, bronze-mesh panels, and teak bathroom walls warm up the general aura of the apartment. Further, abstruse drama finds its way in the wall of resin masks in the foyer, sliding walnut doors in the living room, a headboard that incorporates a pair of side tables for the master bedroom, and a stainless steel ceiling-suspended open shelf in the kitchen, polished to a mirror-like shine to preserve the view.
4. Greenwich Residence
A two-storeyed colonial house in Connecticut, which was as patrician and empirical inside as it was outside, needed to be dressed differently to house the owners: a young couple with contemporary artworks looking for a youthful vibe. The clients wanted all the spaces of the house to transform into a place with specific purpose but also restricted Nahem from designing each room specifically around a central piece, keeping in line with their desire to rotate their artwork. The interiors were mellowed down from an art-gallery like ambience by splashes of colour used on the walls paired with bold furnishing and lights – the jade lacquered walls of the dining complemented a commissioned David Wiseman hanging lamp with porcelain blossoms for lights and bronze branches. “The entire ensemble was an art work in itself,” claims the client, “a magical forest with the light growing out of the ceiling.” The project found mention in Architectural Digest.
5. Park Avenue – Duplex Apartment:
740 Park Avenue, built in 1929, was passed through a jewelled ownership – from Jacqueline Kennedy to John D Rockefeller – emphasizing the prestige and period of the building. Converting this legendary edifice to suit modern needs and times was the biggest challenge posed to Fox-Nahem, commissioned to renovate the building. Nahem, yet again, toed a line between comfortable family living (the couple had three children) and a luxurious back-drop worthy of the art. Liveability and personality had to go hand in hand. Plenty of personality came with the building while the designer focused on liveability –creating an intimate seating area with a mink ottoman to break the humongous proportions of the room.
6. Amagansett Beach House
Long Island, New York
The fourth project undertaken by FN, for long-time clients with seasoned tastes, resulted in turning their basic beach house into an object of spectacularism. FN brought in Alveary Architecture to rework the awkward floor plan, which seemed to diminish the 4000-square-feet space, and improve the flow. All infelicities were turned into opportunities for tasty detail, innovative and interesting. Nahem’s inclination towards textures is reflected on the various faces of the dwelling – the tray ceiling of whitewashed planks imitating driftwood, antique Portuguese tiles for the backsplash and many more.
7. Nyc – Duplex
FN reimagined this space for the second time for long time clients whose family had expanded to three kids. Keeping in mind the limited time and a strict schedule, Nahem adopted a practical approach to design. Retaining most furniture, he played with the walls and upholstery to shake off the old and splash in the new. The large art collection and the terraces that the ground floor opened into, dictated that the interiors would not overpower these important facets, while also not being boring. Silvery grays, soft blues and warm taupes dominate the home, making the overall look subdued but not restrictive.
8. Nyc – Loft
Nahem’s scale of working touches different ranges from sprawling residences to intimate loft apartments reminiscent of NYC. For this project, a warm palate of colour and texture was chosen to emphasis of the soaring ceilings framing the city below. Furniture were bold but worked well into the setting to give character to this brand-new space. A touch of drama is added to break the monotony of solid hues – floral upholstery of the armchairs, a bright floral yellow cabinet and the quirky printed blinds of the children’s room.
9. Nyc – Apartment
For an NYC full-floor apartment, FN took a very uncharacterized space, i.e. a blank canvas, and perked it up by adding layers of architectural and finish detail. Nahem kept it simple and straight – with deep mahogany tones complemented by cream finishes, while the restrooms shone in steel gray hues. Plaster wall finishes, fluted walnut paneling complemented by custom designed and found vintage pieces eliminates the generic quality that was originally there.
10. Nyc – Townhouse
Fox-Nahem carried out the complete renovation and redesign of this New York City townhouse. Adhering to the client’s desire, Nahem created traditional interiors, choosing English and Swedish period pieces, but injecting a more practical and clean flavour. Ornate frames and mouldings were chosen but they were never let to overcrowd the space, keeping the finishes and furnishings simple and straight-forward
11. East Hampton Beach House
This in-house project, where the designers were clients themselves, saw the remodelling and reconstruction of an old, mid-twentieth-century bungalow with bad add-ons. Collaborating with Alveary Architecture, the old structure saw new light as a 5400 square foot, three-level house complete with a pool. The interesting aspect about this particular project is that it lacks the symphony that is usually evident in all of FN works, owing to the fact that Nahem did not design the house for specific pieces. The result was the coming together of an assortment of artefacts, colours, textures, furnishing, and finishes in a quirky mix; giving the dwelling a more-than-usual facet of high-end luxury and comfort. The jewel on top was the two-storey high, stone stacked, dual fireplace that acted as a centrepiece and space marker, merging interior design and architecture once again.
12. South Hampton Beach House:
Within a 10- week deadline, Fox-Nahem renovated and completely decorated a 1980s beach house including 7 new bathrooms and an entire new master suite. The show stopper would be the “conversation pit,” the cosy sunk seating wrapped around a dominating custom fire place made by a number of welded rods. This is the welcome element of this historical oceanfront property, making it grand and gracious.
13. Paul Rudolph Townhouse
Greenwich, New York City
This is yet another legendary NYC building that was touched by Fox-Nahem, in collaboration with Steven Harris Architects for a complete renovation and redesign, while still maintaining the original Paul Rudolph vibe. Light yet solid pastels and whites clock the dwelling while much-needed drama is brought in by splashes of colour in the art, fixtures and flowers. The subtle interiors of the double-height common area evolves with more character as one proceeds deeper into the house. Bedrooms and the study tie with the rest of the theme while colour plays a larger role in dramatizing these spaces. The double height is accentuated by a custom-made lighting fixture hanging in blue, red and yellow orbs from the ceiling, visible from the property’s green entryway, setting the mood for the quirkiness to unfold inside.
14. Puck Building Penthouse
New York City
This new penthouse, designed by architect Jose Ramirez was constructed atop NYC’s famed Puck Building. FN was called upon to reconfigure the spaces and create a warm and comfortable environment for a young family. Keeping with the exposed brick façade of the building, the interiors were designed in brutalist expressions – exposed brick ceilings, exposed concrete finished walls, bare circular columns lacking any ornamentation, cold metal furniture, and a stainless-steel fireplace. The almost sterile interiors, lacking the usual plush of cushions and upholstery, break open into a vibrant terrace space with plants and the red brick of the building’s façade playing backdrop.
15. The Dakota Building
New York City
A chance to tackle ‘New Traditional’ at one of the most prestigious buildings in NYC was a welcome one for the Fox-Nahem team. This interior job was a patterned one. The usual solids and pastels were exchanged for interesting patterns – on the walls, doors, doorways, and soft furnishings. Mauve wallpaper patterned with an Arabesque design of poppy blues paired with heavy mauve curtains render a quaint cozy feeling to the bedroom while the tessellated diamond pattern dominated the wall space above the bathroom cabinets. An overall refreshing departure from the style Fox-Nahem usually pull off.