The Upper West Side is a family paradise. Manhattan’s historic district is bordered to the east and west by Central and Riverside Parks, and is home to a host of cultural institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History. If you don’t walk the tree-lined streets with a dog or a stroller (or a stroller full of dogs, for that matter), you run the risk of being seen as a stranger.

Upper West Siders Jayne and Joan Michaels, the twin designer duo behind the aptly named 2Michaels, can attest to this, especially since they recently transformed a massive seven-story brownstone on West 88th Street into a family home for a photographer, her husband, daughter and two pooches.

Clients sought out 2Michaels, whose office is located eight blocks from the house, to create a warm and comfortable space to live and entertain. Both spouses come from large families, whose members frequently come to town to stay. “There’s always something going on,” says Joan.

A monumental tapestry by Claudy Jongstra unites the living and dining areas.

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Getting the aesthetic right, as with any project, was the task that required the most consideration. The woman, according to Jayne, is very visual, a trait you would expect from a photographer. It was 2Michaels’ use of color and texture that endeared him to the twins. “She and her husband are very different, but they are both able to agree on some things,” Jayne says. The husband has a yen for Shaker-style furniture, while the wife, who is an art brut collector, leans more aesthetically. “Any space that looks like a hotel makes her cringe,” Joan says.

2michaels upper west side brownstone
A spectacular staircase connects all levels of brown stone. The Stork Nest chair is signed Atelier Demiurge Editions.

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Because the common areas of the house are large and plentiful, the furniture and art choices had to be extra wide. Jayne remembers walking through the empty house the first time and having an anxious reaction. “It was like an airport, it was so big,” she says. “It can be very impersonal when you have that much space. Small pieces of furniture will just be gobbled up.

On the first floor, they opted to create two understated living spaces, connected by a dining area that features an 11-foot Asher Israelow table and asymmetrically cut mammoth fabric by Claudy Jongstra that spans the wall. “The textile worked to bring all the pieces of the floor together,” says Joan. “It’s anything but predictable.”

2michaels upper west side brownstone
The soothing master bedroom features a dramatic rocking daybed by Igor Rodrigues.

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What the Michaels sisters have emphasized most to their clients, beyond furniture choices and placement of artwork, is the importance of color. “The walls were white throughout the house,” says Joan. “It looked so generic, so sterile.” At first, customers wanted to keep them as they were, so they had to be convinced. “We told them it wasn’t them,” she adds.

The owners conceded, and from the pale redundancy of white came various shades of blue in the master bedroom, study and front living room, as well as the kitchen’s Vintage Vogue green. “It’s a warm and inviting atmosphere,” says Joan.

And that atmosphere is perfect for a family of three (plus a constant parade of guests) with a precocious daughter who spends much of her time reading books, curled up on couches, or practicing on the grand piano. in the living room, which overlooks a well maintained garden. For a house on the Upper West Side, that’s all one could ask for.

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