Architectural Digest – January 20, 2022
By Emil Wilbekin
Step Inside Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe’s New York Pied-À-Terre
On Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw once quipped: “In New York, they say, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.”
The quote seems fitting for actress Nicole Ari Parker, who is one of the new cast members on the SATC reboot And Just Like That… on HBO Max. Parker, best known for roles in Soul Food, Boogie Nights, and Empire, portrays Lisa Todd Wexley (aka LTW) a documentarian, humanitarian, wife, and mother of three, who has appeared on Vogue’s International Best Dressed List.
In real life, she is happily married to actor, director, and producer Boris Kodjoe, and is a mother of two. Parker spent half of 2021 filming AJLT… in New York City, staying in furnished apartments or hotels, flying home to Los Angeles to see her family on her days off, and reminiscing about the grit, glamour, and culture of the Big Apple she first experienced as a student at New York University, and then as a model and burgeoning actress.
“Part of our plan was to get back to New York eventually, maybe when the kids go to college, but then I got this great job that took me back pretty much half of the year,” Parker tells AD. “I was there so much that Boris and I were like, should we just start looking for an apartment? And we found the most incredible apartment right on Central Park West.”
For Parker, the feeling of comfort, calm, and love is important, so she enlisted her dear friend, celebrity interior designer, author, artist, and entrepreneur Nikki Chu, along with ZGallerie and One Kings Lane to decorate. “I surrendered to everything partially because it was Nikki, and I love her style, she’s a true artist,” Parker says.
Chu says Parker was the inspiration for the decor. “Nicole is not afraid of color or pattern; actually, more is more when it comes to her taste. But, with this home, we went with a more muted palette, one that fit the energy of NYC.” There are tribal patterns and geometric shapes incorporated, and the pops of color come from the art.
“We love modern African art as accessories to our European design sensibility mixed with American comfort,” Kodjoe chimes in. “Big couches and classic furniture, framed family portraits, rugs, and big pieces of art on the walls. Eclectic, but also timeless.”
Overall, the space is an eclectic assortment that Parker says reflects her “very layered and textured” personality. “At first glance, you don’t know how that goes together, but it perfectly goes together, which is kind of how I am and kinda how my character on And Just Like That… is.”
Fans of the show will know that LTW has a fabulous collection of Black art, and Parker loved that it was prominently displayed on screen.
“I was so blown away when I shot this phone call scene in my office and they had a Carrie Mae Weems piece on the wall,” Parker muses. “A lot of times when white shows want to add some diversity or Black people into the cast, they miss the moment, the opportunity, or the nuance of that particular person. This woman actually exists. I know a woman like this who collects this kind of art. I was blown away with the [dinner party scene] in my apartment, and in the collection there was Mickalene Thomas, Gordon Parks, and Deborah Roberts. It was great!”
Chu’s Decor Tips
In the bedroom, wallpaper was used to “add drama yet soften.” Chu did this by picking an oversized pattern in a soft color.
Chu used furniture to divide and define spaces within the apartment. “I love designing with statement pieces and allowing everything else in the room to support its fabulousness.”
“Good design is all about balance. So, once we decided we were going to do a custom chocolate brown velvet sofa with ZGallerie as the main piece in the space, I had to work everything around it to feel light and airy, from the white metallic wallpaper to the white linen drapes,” Chu says.