The only time that I’ve agreed to do an important Showhouse was in Miami years ago for Casa Decor. With an international appeal but rooted in the Latin American market, I knew that I could go all out!
I’m really not interested in doing rooms that are too “realistic”. Not even our two apartments are “realistic”. If I am going to do a Showhouse, I want the room to convey a strong idea, be whimsical and basically transport you into a dreamscape.
In this case, I designed this Den for a pink flamingo, the one from the factory that discontinued making them that year! The room feels ethereal and light because the flamingos are just like that (if you have ever seen one in person). By surrounding the room in white organza, we diffused the reality of the architecture. Every element selected for the room had a meaning: the flamingos are the inhabitants, the walls are meant to be mist, the white furniture is the white crest of an ocean wave, the feather shade on the sculptural lamps are birds, the rug is the colors of the flowers that you would see in Miami and the antique metal furniture reflects the civilization that discovered the new wold.
Maybe that’s why I have twice respectfully declined doing the prestigious Kips Bay Showhouse, because I’m scared that I would not be able to achieve this level of fun! Congratulations to all the designers that ventured into doing great rooms at the Kips Bay Showhouse this year.
In my first year in architecture studio, we had to design a lamp which we had to make by ourselves, with no glue or screws to hold it together. I designed this pentagonal shape lamp and painted it in the colors of the moment. But more important, check out my 1970′s fashion. NICE, right?
When it comes to the illusion of lightness, nothing elicits that feeling more than clear acrylic, which I have not been using too much lately.
Back in December 2001 we finished Lenny Kravitz house in Miami Beach, with this “ethereal” Dining Room. This house became the final inspiration for him to decide to go into decorating. Although, at the time, he loved the interiors that we handed to him the day before Xmas of that year (with a decorated tree included), he started redecorating the rooms on a weekly basis. I hear that the room colors changed so much that the painter crew was on retainer.
I don’t know what happened to all these pieces that we designed and had made for his house, but I hope they are still around. You don’t know how difficult it was to make that 7′ diameter table in one piece of Lightblock over two gigantic curves of white acrylic! And the dining chairs, which we never produced again, were as comfortable as they were fabulous!
While browsing our project archives I came across this very unique color scheme for a Den.
My favorite way of using color is by saturating the room with the same color in different tones and textures and this is a perfect example. We started with very delicate toile covered walls and intensified the color for all the furniture. Instead of using the usual “L” shape sectional to watch TV, we used a custom double bed AND a real gorgeous sofa.
The result is an elegant room, comfortable to use as a Den or as an extra guest room!
Ever since we finished this gorgeous home in Venice Beach, we have been trying to publish it and the comment that always comes back to us is that it’s too feminine. And mind you, this comment has come from female AND male editors.
I will never understand the use of the word feminine or gay meant as an insult, which is how this has been used. What is wrong with an interior that feels soft and sensual?
In this case, the house that our client bought, although an amazingly beautiful minimalist design, was a bit cold for her taste. I love minimalist interiors and especially when the detailing is as exquisite and elegant as the one in this house. Our challenge was to warm up the interior but keep it light and airy, like the architecture. The result is this ethereal yet architectural interior in which every element is either custom designed or selected to convey a particular feeling or meaning.
Take for instance the soft white organza wall draperies that transform into fully transparent at the glass façade. This fabric display immediately “dissolves” the hard tall walls and transforms the space into a dreamlike set. To emphasize the transparency of the material, an oversized mirror was designed and installed behind the fabric providing a gentle light movement as one travels thru the room. And of course, a clear acrylic sofa which glows at night complements the feeling.
A pair of original William Haines slipper chairs by the American film actor turned interior designer who of all places was born and lived in Staunton, Virginia, where my partner Steven was born and grew up, take center stage in the Living Room. Combined with a French 18th Century Settee from 145 Antiques in New York, a tea table of my own design and an iconic Eames rocker, this grouping exudes elegance.
Lastly but not least important are the two feather lighting creations by our custom lighting studio, ABYU Lighting (www.abyulighting.com ). The chandelier over the dining table in the foreground echoes the freshness of the custom curly ostrich feathers round lampshade on the Korean style ceramic vase over pink Fortuny tablecloth.
Just as I told a client yesterday when we were discussing the interior of the room for their unborn child; “if you’re lucky enough to have a gay child, you’ll be blessed forever”.