Actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are best known for their big-screen roles, red-carpet appearances, and awards-show cameos. But in their downtime, the A-list couple retreats to a recently updated apartment in Tribeca, one of Manhattan’s most fashionable neighborhoods. After a ten-month renovation by the design firm Ashe + Leandro, with whom Watts worked closely throughout the process, the light-filled home displays elements of three archetypal New York City layouts: a stately townhouse, an uptown duplex, and a classic loft. The combination results in what the actress calls “a real grown-up apartment,” with all of the character that comes with it, from the beveled-glass kitchen cabinetry and book-lined built-ins to the dramatic archway in the entry. Rustic elements blend with softer, more graceful additions to create an eclectic look that is at once stylish and comfortable—a place where the Watts-Schreiber clan can put family first and unwind between cross-country trips.
Fifteen years ago, when the British-born, Australian-raised Watts’s career was starting to blossom and she was looking for a toehold in New York City, she bought an apartment in the Financial District after seeing it once.
Black-and-white floor tiles by Clé provide a graphic welcome at the Manhattan duplex apartment that actors Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber share with their two sons; the interiors were designed by the firm Ashe + Leandro. The entrance hall’s pendant light is by Ralph Lauren Home, the 19th-century shell-back chairs are from KRB, and the painting in the stairway is by Harland Miller.
She settled in Los Angeles, where she built her career in movies ranging from Mulholland Drive to 21 Grams to King Kong to last year’s Academy Award winner for best picture, Birdman. “But then I met Mr. New York,” she says, “and everything changed.” Mr. New York, of course, is Liev Schreiber, acclaimed for playing hardened, complex characters in films such as Spotlight and on the Showtime series Ray Donovan.
Like so many New Yorkers, however, they soon found themselves desiring a certain precious commodity.
While Watts remarks that “with New York real estate, you never get everything you want,” she and Schreiber were able to create a duplex from two separate units—one had been an artist’s loft—checking off most of the boxes on their wish list. Then, shortly after they closed the deal, Hurricane Sandy struck, and the building, near the Hudson River, was flooded. For months they couldn’t enter the property, proving another rule of New York real estate: It will test you, constantly asking, How badly do you want to live here?
When the couple finally got back in, the place was a mess. After taking time to weigh options, they hired an architect but changed course several months later. Two years into owning the home, it was raw space. “One thing I’ve learned,” Watts says, “is when it comes to big renovations, no one gets an easy ride.” Ultimately they enlisted Ariel Ashe and Reinaldo Leandro, the duo behind the firm Ashe + Leandro, to design the interiors.
A Ralph Lauren Home light fixture illuminates the master bath’s Victoria + Albert tub, which has Dornbracht fittings; the mirror and chair are antique, and the penny tile is by Waterworks.
Images by Watts’s brother, photographer Ben Watts, are displayed above RH Baby & Child beds in the boys’ room; the pillowcases are by Ralph Lauren Home, the sconces are by Atelier de Troupe, the nightstand is by Room & Board, and the antique kilim is from Double Knot.
Walking through the home, it’s hard to imagine that Watts and Schreiber had to compromise on anything. Instead it feels as if they got a rare trifecta: an apartment that elegantly combines features of three archetypal New York homes. The entranceway gives you the intimate, welcoming feeling of a historic townhouse, while the sweeping sculptural staircase evokes the drama of a stately uptown duplex, and the open yet private layout of the second floor has the urbanity of a classic loft. Throughout, robust design elements are balanced with graceful, softer gestures, whether the jewelry-like lights suspended above the brawny dining table or the floral curtains whimsically offsetting the master bedroom’s masculine blues. Indeed, the home seems to mirror the union of the broad-shouldered, intense Schreiber and the delicately luminous Watts.
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Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber Reveal Their Renovated New York City Apartment | Architectural Digest