The fashion designer has created a home that is deeply and authentically her own.
When the American fashion designer Anna Sui moved into her turn-of-the-century Greenwich Village building almost two decades ago, she found a close friend and, eventually, a second apartment. Her next-door neighbor was Murray Lerner, an Oscar-winning documentarian known for his films on Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, and Itzhak Perlman. The two bonded over their shared love of rock music, and Sui even used her neighbor’s wrought-iron balcony as an alternate entrance to her apartment whenever she forgot her keys. (“He was always up late,” she says.)
Sui always told her neighbor that she wanted his place if he ever left. Sure enough, when Lerner moved out a few years ago, she took over his space and embarked on a three-year renovation to create a home out of two distinct spaces. Connecting the two apartments was a challenge, since they are technically part of two different buildings that share a facade.
Sui’s solution was to insert two hidden doors on either side of the library that allow her to move from one apartment to the other. The inconvenience is outweighed by the benefits: Sui gained a dining room, a living room, a master bedroom, two bathrooms, and, perhaps most crucially, considerable closet space.
Building your dream home is an enterprise of patience and tenacity—both qualities Sui has possessed since she was little. Born and raised in Detroit, she is the daughter of two Chinese parents who met while studying in Paris.