When they were falling in love over a decade ago, Jordan Roth — president of , a group of five major Broadway venues — told Richie Jackson, a talent manager and TV producer, that he was worried about merging lives that were rich and busy, but full of issues and family responsibilities.
"It's complicated," Roth said.
"It's worth it," Jackson replied.
It became a kind of call-and-response mantra. By the time they were married in 2012, Roth — whose mother is Daryl Roth, the force behind such Broadway hits as "" and "August: Osage County" — had already presented Jackson with a needlepoint pillow. On one side, the cushion says, "Complicated"; flip it over and the embroidery states, "Worth It."
The den's custom sofa is based on a 1960s design and covered in a ; the 1970 French cocktail table is by , the nesting tables are based on a design, and the artwork is by Marilyn Minter.
The same could be said about the gut renovation of their expansive West Village apartment overlooking the Hudson River. Several years ago, the couple purchased adjacent high-floor apartments with the idea of combining them into a family home. At the time, they had one son, Jackson Foo Wong, from Jackson's former relationship with the actor and playwright BD Wong, in part-time residence. "The apartments were new and undistinguished, well built but really formulaic, in a high-end way," says their decorator , who collaborated on the project with his partner, architect Timothy Haynes.
In the hallway, a wall is clad in steel panels, and the mixed-media artwork is by ; the floor is oak.
It took a year of meetings before any actual work could even begin. "It was a tremendous effort," Roberts says, "but Jordan encouraged us to really go for it. He wanted to walk in the door and say, 'Wow!'"
While it is a little word, wow can be a tall order in a new luxury building designed for practicality. But by reimagining the layout, the glorious Hudson River now hits the eye almost from the moment one enters, and it stays in sight throughout most of the living space. By replacing large overhead air ducts with smaller ones, the apartment's ceilings could be lifted to an impressive height.
In the living area, a 1940s club chair by and a 1970s circular banquette are upholstered in shearling and leather, respectively, by ; the artwork is by .
This highly sociable, very connected couple loves to entertain, so it was important to have generous spaces that don't require what Roth describes as "a set change" if friends or cast members from one of his productions ("" and "" are among Jujamcyn's current hits) show up after the theaters have gone dark. Even more crucial, the apartment had to be child-friendly (in addition to their first son, the couple recently welcomed a newborn, Levi Roth).
The entire loft was designed to maximize that sense of openness. While Jackson initially balked at having the kitchen fully on view, he now appreciates the lack of barriers between rooms. "Even the office is open and not really a place for contemplation," he says. "It's so much better to be able to see and use every space."
The dining room table is poured concrete and steel, the 1960s chairs by are covered in a fabric, the light fixture from the same era is by , the ceramic vessels by are from , and the painting is by Rosson Crow.
Like the living area, the dining room is built for conversation. It has a polished concrete table that's narrow enough to encourage lingering and sharing, especially because it's surrounded by a dozen exceptionally large and cozy chairs. "They're made of teddy bear fabric, so you don't want to get up," Roth says.
But once you do, there are a couple of low-slung 1970s chairs by to fall into in the living room (Roberts made them even more irresistible with new upholstery in soft gray cashmere), and nearby, an inviting vintage leather roundabout by . "It inspires intimate conversations," Roth says.
In the bedroom, the vintage Cityscape is by Paul Evans, the bed is dressed in linens, the bedside tables are ebonized mahogany, the 1950s American lamps are from , and the carpet is by .
The master bath sinks by have fittings, the seat cushion is covered in a terry cloth, the ceiling light and sconces are 1960s Italian, and the floor is granite.
The glamour doesn't end when it's time to retire. The master bedroom has a sparkling city view and a 1970s chrome headboard expanded by the couple to a dramatic height. But other areas have a more youthful spirit. In the nearby nursery, baby Levi sleeps across a playroom from his brother's bedroom.
"He's a transit freak," Jackson says in reference to a railroad sign on the teen's door. In fact, when he was younger, the boy was so mesmerized by the panorama of the passing road and river traffic that, inspired by theater balconies, the couple asked their designers to add wraparound bluestone seating to the living room.
A closet interior is custom-lacquered in Princeton orange, a nod to Roth's alma mater; the light fixture is by .
As the couple gives a barefoot tour, Jackson pads from the windowed walk-in master closet to the entry, where the interior of the coat closet is lacquered a brilliant orange, a joking reference to Princeton, which Roth attended. All is quiet above the cacophonous city below. Back in the living room, the couple stops beside a minimalist oval bassinet upholstered in gray flannel. It is in perfect keeping with the style of the rest of the apartment and the Hudson's steely color. "Baby chic," Roth comments.
Looking back, the couple says, creating the perfect home required even more exertion than producing any of their award-winning shows—which says a lot. "But I loved every second of it," Roth says. Good design, like family life, is complicated—but worth it.
Homeowners Jordan Roth, left, and Richie Jackson; the desk is by , the 1960s French chair is by , and the light fixture is by .
This story originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of ELLE DECOR.