Since he began working with clients Elizabeth and Roberto Eiseman in 2012, AD PRO Directory designer Paul Corrie has completed four projects for the couple, ranging in location from Washington, DC, where Corrie is based, to Panama City. In 2014, Corrie tackled what he refers to as phase one of designing the Eisemans’ Panama City high-rise apartment. In 2020, he returned to the country to embark on phase two, after the apartment located directly next to the Eisemans’ home had gone on the market. The couple ultimately purchased it with the intention of taking on a complete renovation to combine the two units into a singular 5,000-square-foot space.
The home is located close to Panama City’s historic district, Casco Viego, which dates back to the 17th century. It proved to be a major source of inspiration for Corrie throughout the design process. “It’s very colorful, lathered in texture,” he says of the old quarter and its cobblestone streets. The designer sought to play to the textural elements present “in a way that wasn’t chaotic.” He adds, “I tried to be very thoughtful in my editing and selection so that it still represented those elements of the country and culture.” The designer also aimed to infuse color throughout the home in a tranquil manner, balancing boldness and neutrals, while keeping kid-friendly elements top of mind throughout the process. “I tried to think of materials or colors that were a little bit more indestructible that could take a greater beating,” he says.
Though he sourced all of his materials from trusted trade vendors based back home, Corrie flew to Panama every six weeks to liaise with architects Irma Lorena Guevara and Lotty Cambell de Pascal of In Situ Inspectors and the construction team directly. In between visits, he and the architects would communicate over email and WhatsApp. “I had to be flexible on my end, but we managed after the course of two years to get it done,” Corrie reflects. For the duration of the renovation, the Eisemans and their two young children were able to live in their existing apartment from phase one, making the process easier on the family.
Corrie notes that the second apartment is essentially a mirror image of the Eisemans’ original unit. Now, he explains, “They have two living rooms, two kitchens, and two primary bedrooms.” The original unit is for everyday life, while phase two was designed to function as a more formal space for entertaining—though the Eisemans and their older daughter do have bedrooms in this section of the home.
“We have had several events, from small salon-style gatherings with friends circled around the central carpet to get-togethers where we open the doors throughout the space,” Elizabeth shares. “The space has proven great for providing conversation nooks as well as areas for centralized gatherings.”
The new home represents the best of two worlds in another way as well. “The design definitely draws on our immediate surroundings, but another fact that I love is that the space also has elements that make it feel like it could be in New York, where I am originally from,” Elizabeth reflects. “This makes it feel especially like home.”