The Big Reveal: A Recently Completed Apartment Downtown
About a year ago, we were asked to embark on the decoration of the rooms in a newly constructed apartment in a historic downtown Art Deco building. While our decorating “comfort zone” lies more typically in rooms with an eclectic mix of 18th and 19th C antiques predominantly from America, England, and the Continent, we saw this as an opportunity to stretch our creativity. Curating a collection a collection of mid-century and art deco period furniture pieces for our gracious clients turned out to be a wonderful experience as we delved into the decorative arts of this period in history.
With a large open living room area and plenty of light, we stuck with our traditional rule of thumb: “Start with the rug.” It always works!
We envisioned a large curved sofa for the room anchored by the walls and corners behind it- all the more reason for the rug to be an artistic, albeit minimalist modern statement, which was very popular during the Art Deco period and before.
We modified and recolored a 1935 carpet attributed to Maurice Dufrene. This became the foundation for the room as we set about collecting beautiful vintage pieces to layer on top of it.
Our search quickly honed in on the work of Carl Malmsten, a seminal figure in the development of Swedish design in the 20th century. His traditional furniture forms were known to incorporate classical themes, and could be found in simpler, more contemporary interiors during his lifetime. We purchased a pair of Jonas Love chairs and a single Classicism armchair designed by Malmsten. Added to the mix are some contemporary pieces like a steel waterfall table and a Maison Jansen glass and brass coffee table.
As the kitchen is open to the large living space, it was essential to continue to include period lighting and furnishings. We found the Art Deco Swedish chandelier early in the process, and knew that it would be a statement piece. The wall sconces are vintage Orefors and the fine french cherry dining table is an original piece designed by Dominque, a French design firm from the 1920’s. The caned back chairs, also by Peder Moos, were upholstered in soft gray blue leather. We designed the banquette, with a tufted back and square arms and rounded wood back after illustrations and photos we’d seen of banquettes in restaurants in the 1940’s.
The TV/Family room was a blank slate when we got to it. Without any windows or architectural detail, the developer most likely had in mind that owners would turn it into a large closet or home office. We decided to turn this small space into a cozy place for our clients to watch TV. We designed millwork on both sides of the room fabricated out of rift oak. The walls are covered in a beige suede while the custom sectional is upholstered in a yummy chenille from Rogers and Goffigon. A collection of mid-century pottery and sculpture was curated for the shelves, a Rashid Johnson hangs on the millwork.
In the master bedroom, the client understood the depth of color and pattern that a DeGournay wall covering could bring to a room and it just was a matter of choosing the pattern she loved most and deciding on coloration. We designed a modern tufted headboard modeled after an old screen, and included French brass lights with soft white shades on either side for reading at night. The silk curtains were designed to blend in seamlessly with the walls, highlighted by a wonderful embroidery by Holland & Sherry whose embroidery is done by the same artisans as Dior. A pair of special Paolo Buffa bedside tables add just the right amount of richness to the room.
In the young son’s room, we wanted to envelope this little room in comfort and texture and so we chose to cover the walls in a faux bois wallpaper. We designed a small cove with book cases above, lighting and a tailored twin bed to create a cozy sleeping nook and allow for as much open space in the room as possible to play. We think it’s a room he’ll still feel comfortable in 10 or 15 years from now (always our goal when designing children’s rooms!).
The young daughter’s rooms were meant to continue in a theme of luxury and comfort. The window treatments in this soft pink room were made from a custom silk textile by Raoul. Our client loved the idea of having a canopy bed in this room, and as fellow canopy bed enthusiasts, we had to agree!
We hope you enjoyed this tour of one of our most recent projects. It was a joy to create for this wonderful family!
A new book of Bilhuber’s recent work gives this american master’s fans a world of new inspiration.7 October 2014 Mismatched Bedside Tables 30 January 2019 Bringing A Historic Farmhouse Up to Date It's no secret that we love older homes so when we were asked to help respectfully renovate a period farmhouse on Long Island, we jumped at the opportunity.