Inside Lynda & Richard Baquero’s designer digs
- Last Updated: 7:38 AM, July 8, 2012
- Posted: 10:51 PM, July 4, 2012
Paint it black. Fine name for a song, but Lynda Baquero, NBC’s “News 4 New York” consumer reporter, didn’t think it would work on the walls of her apartment in the Sutton Place neighborhood.
“No way,” she told her husband, interior designer Richard Baquero, who wanted to try it. “I don’t want a black living room.”
“It was fun trying to get her to accept the black,” says Richard, who runs design firm RAB/ID. “I must have painted the wall four times. It started out very light, then we went to gray, next a darker gray and, finally, black. Just one wall in black. She came home and said, ‘It looks good.’ I said, ‘Great. I’m going to paint the rest of this black, too.’ ”
The black walls came about when the Baqueros moved from their place in the East 40s to be closer to their daughters’ school. Richard found the apartment — a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom rental — which had, he says, “a perfect layout. The children [Illeana, 9, and Carolina, 7] have their wing and we have ours.”
The one problem? The living room was a 450-square-foot white box — but Richard felt he could change that.
They moved in last August, and Richard immediately got to work.
“The place needed at least one dark wall, so I could create the illusion of an area of the living room being a foyer,” he says. “Then I put up panels to separate the room.”
The result is what Richard calls “Contemporary Hollywood Glam.” The one big room is divided into three distinct areas. The first area is the all-black foyer with a black lighted bookcase that holds family photographs and mementos.
Next — separated by those panels — is the living area, done in a gray-beige shade with black trim. There are two white, washable linen couches facing each other on a black-and-white geometric rug.
The last space in the room is a sitting area, also painted black, with a bar and two small gray velvet chairs in front of the windows.
“I’m a stickler for light. Everything has a light or a spotlight on it,” he says. “And at night it really comes alive because we have a lot of little focal points. And then we have all the sparkling lights from the view outside our windows.”
Those views from their 30th-floor apartment include the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium, planes landing at LaGuardia Airport, the Roosevelt Island Tram, the RFK Bridge and both sunrises and sunsets.
To take advantage of all that light, Richard hung small square mirrors along one wall of the dining room, one of the couple’s favorite rooms.
“The wall covering is linen, and then I did a trim with nail heads and a strap that makes it look like molding,” he explains. “I kind of tented it with drapes all around. At nighttime the view from the city is reflected in the mirrors. So entertaining in here is like being in a restaurant.”
But it’s also kid-resistant. The chairs are made of the same material that’s used in wet suits. If it gets stained, they just go over it with soap and water. And the rug is an indoor/outdoor rug that’s also easy to clean. “It’s great with the children,” Lynda says.
For the most part, Richard is given control over the decor. “I get overwhelmed with all the choices,” Lynda says. “There are so many of them. And Richard is really great at narrowing them down. He’ll give me three choices and I get to pick one of the three. But sometimes I do get overruled.”
But she didn’t get overruled when it came to the bathrooms. “We’ve been together 21 years,” Lynda says, “and the secret is his and hers bathrooms.”
The third bedroom (the girls share a room) serves as the family/media room; it’s also where Lynda’s two Emmy Awards are kept — one for reporting on Pope John Paul 11’s tour of Cuba in 1998; the other for Best Evening Newscast when she co-anchored with Chuck Scarborough in 2006.
Lynda has been preparing to be a newscaster since she was a girl. “I was in high school and I joined the TV club,” she says. “That first year I won an award for investigative reporting. And I just got the bug.”
She’s been at WNBC since 1995, where’s she’s been both an anchor and a consumer reporter. “I love both jobs,” she says, “but consumer reporting is such a good feeling. It’s wonderful to be able to help people.”
LYNDA & RICHARD BAQUERO’S
* The dining room
* Her two Emmy Awards
* Their mineral and fossil collection
* Their Latin and contemporary art collection, including their newest acquisition: a triptych by Esther Rosa over their bed
* The black walls