Joseph Churba's career as a defense and foreign policy analyst includes six months a year of travel. So what does he like best about his Crystal Gateway penthouse? "I like to gaze out and see the airport, to see movement," says Churba, a bachelor.
Last year, when he bought his two-tiered, 12th-floor penthouse, with floor- to-ceiling windows, he asked interior designer Adelaide Altman to help transform the apartment into a "hideaway" from his high-powered world. "Dr. Churba's background suggested the decoration," says Altman. "His parents originally came from Turkey and he is an expert on the Middle East. Between that and his collection of Oriental rugs, it was very apparent to me."
Most of Churba's Oriental rugs incorporated red and taupe, and the largest rug -- now in the apartmen's living room -- included a horse motif. Turkey also was the springboard for the apartment's other consistent design element, copper. Altman scoured antique shops and pestered importers looking for old copper pieces that eventually became lamp bases, planters and a glass-topped coffee table in the living room.
Red also became a focal point, from the red silk seat covers in the dining room to the foyer's red grasscloth wallcovering. And Altman used the horse motif throughout the apartment, from Churba's T'ang horse sculpture in the dining room to a freize of horse figures that hangs above his bed.
Not all of the decorating is antique. The taupe wool oversized couches are contemporary, but nothing in the apartment is as thoroughly modern as the very sybaritic marble and mirrored bathroom.