Timothy Corrigan: On Welcoming Spaces

Interior Design Master Class Timothy Corrigan

First, you have to be sensitive to the psychology of the room. Color plays a huge role in the emotions that are evoked in the space: use color to maximize intended emotions for the area. The furniture plan and flow are also important; not enough furniture— or too much—can kill a room’s mood. Getting the proportions of the furnishings right is also essential. For example, low furniture in a room with tall ceilings can make its occupants feel diminished and unimportant.

Next, pay attention to comfort. We’ve all seen beautifully designed chairs that feel like torture devices when one sits down. When it comes to seating, ergonomics and comfort should come first. Getting scale right is also important; you don’t want the chair to be under- or overscaled. If you want statement pieces in a room, choose something other than seating.

Interior Design Master Class Timothy Corrigan
A seemingly paradoxical mix of formal architecture and casual decoration are found in this grand salon in France: deep down-filled seating, upholstered in an outdoor fabric; an antique Tabriz carpet; and objets d’art from many periods. The result is a room that feels relaxed and welcoming. Photo credit Eric Piasecki

“Then, consider practicality. Who wants to worry about the inevitable spilled glass of red wine or water ring on the antique side table? One of the most important aspects of a welcoming space is that it has been designed to really work for the way that you live. Today, with so many terrific options in terms of high-performance fabrics, you don’t have to squirm at the smallest accident.

Using marine varnish on even the finest of antiques takes the worry out of every glass or coffee cup that gets set down on a table.”

Eve Robinson: On Family

Interior Design Master Class Quotes“Just as homes can be laid out to maximize social interaction, an individual room can be designed to positively reinforce parent-child bonds. The placement and relationship of each piece of furniture to another affects how human connections are made. For instance, adding an L-shaped sectional to a family room with an ottoman in front invites everyone to gather to play games, do homework, and converse. Having an inviting, comfortable, well-lit place to read to a child fosters intimacy. Including trundle beds in children’s rooms makes it easy to have sleepovers, promoting socialization.

Interior Design Master Class Rizzoli
A colorful photograph by OlivoBarbieri hangs above a Jens Risom sofa in the center of this modern family lounge. The pair of bronze-and-glass coffee tables afford space for everything from coloring books to best sellers and the ombré curtains are made from alpaca. Photo credit: Peter Margonelli

“Contrary to what one might think, elegance and practicality are not irreconcilable for families. Throughout a home, materials can be aesthetically pleasing as well as durable.”

Anthony Baratta: On Exuberance

Interior Design Master Class

Color is, of course, the easiest way to make a bold statement. There are no bad colors, but it is a lot easier to create an exuberant interior with red than it is with beige. Nancy Lancaster’s butter yellow room at Colefax and Fowler, David Hicks’s drawing room using ten shades of red, Billy Baldwin’s sublime blue room at the Villa Fiorentina, and Mark Hampton’s chocolate brown room in a Kips Bay showhouse will always be a huge influence, because although each room is unique, they all share a clarity and sense of purpose expressed through a strong color statement.”

Interior Design Master Class
An irregularly shaped canvas by American minimalist painter Frank Stella takes pride of place in this exuberant living room. The vivid geometric rug and throw pillows are balanced by the clean lines of a pair of midcentury armchairs and the custom ottomans. Credit George Ross Photography

“Love of strong color is a personality trait, and like an MGM musical, I choose to decorate in Technicolor. There are no rules when using color to foster exuberance, but I like using a classic combination like blue and white as a jumping-off point and then adding in the spice—such as orange.”

Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2017

Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse 2017
Janice Parker’s ‘Bamboo Court’ Garden. Photo credit Alan Barry

I realize I’m not the only design enthusiast that remembers Robert Denning & Vincent Fourcade‘s maximalist approach to decoration. I loved the excess of their interiors and I was certainly not their only fan.

And as you’ll see it’s the love of ‘more-is-more’ that pervades, in a very tasteful way, this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Beginning with Richard Mishaan’s salon – the ultimate nod to Italian legend Renzo Mongiardino — the house packs a punch… Continue reading “Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2017”

Books: MR Architecture + Decor

In the opening paragraph of Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus Manifesto, the founder of the movement suggests “The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building!”, further professing “Architects, painters, and sculptors must recognize anew and learn to grasp the composite character of a building both as an entity and in its separate parts. Only then will their work be imbued with the architectonic spirit which it has lost as “salon art.”

David Mann clearly understands the importance of these dictates.

The 18 projects featured in his new monograph from Abrams are as varied as they are dynamic… Continue reading “Books: MR Architecture + Decor”

The New Chic: French Style from Today’s Leading Interior Designers

The title of Marie Kalt’s new book from Rizzoli New York references ‘The New Chic’, but she could just as easily have suggested ‘the radically cool’ as an alternative description. Every room in this book is sublime, especially those created for the annual design showcase AD Intériers where the participating designers are given carte blanche to create living spaces unfiltered by commissioning clients… Continue reading “The New Chic: French Style from Today’s Leading Interior Designers”

VMAD’s West Elm Headquarters

By Lisa Zeiger

When Mark Murashige and Kay Vorderwuelbecke of VM Architecture and Design (VMAD) began redesigning the Empire Stores on the docks of the East River in DUMBO for West Elm in 2013, a high water mark from Hurricane Sandy was still visible, eight feet up the brick walls of the nearly 140-year-old structure, rich with history… Continue reading “VMAD’s West Elm Headquarters”

Alexa Hampton: On Tradition

A bust of Brutus, purchased from a dealer in London, holds court on a William Kent table that belonged to Mark Hampton, Alexa’s father. Photo credit Steve Freihon

In design, traditional elements are loaded with the meanings they have accumulated over time. The iconography that accompanies neoclassicism, for example, has always spoken to power and those who would seize it. Greek, Roman, Napoleonic, Federal, Fascist: their not coincidentally shared imagery is meant to convey strength and mastery. The dynastic decor of the caesars, the sinister visual domination of a mammoth monolith in the era of Mussolini, the suggestion of solidity and security in the decorations of a Federal Bank in the American Midwest—traditional cues can function as tropes that help invest a space with a thought, a sensibility, or a hope, their meaning immediately identifiable to a passing glance.”

Alan Wanzenberg: On Modernity

“Modernity and its manifestations in the physical world—what is considered “modern”—can be easily misunderstood. Modernity is not about minimalism or everything being white and reductive. When this happens—and the pendulum often swings in that direction—modernity falls into a style or, worse, a cult.

It then has the potential to become tyrannical and intolerant, unaware of all the potent and fascinating forces in design that brought the modern world, as we think of it, into being. True modernity in design can reference the past and allude to the future, but it always exhibits a confidence and resolution that is completely understood in the here and now.”

Thomas O’Brien: On Vintage Modern

A vintage modern piece features ideas that become layers in the DNA of a design that materializes at a later date. It’s how something of the 1920s can have echoes of eighteenth century France, which borrows from Greek or Egyptian antiquity. It’s how intriguing it is to play with that heredity in the choice of a material, the colors and the proportions of a room or a piece of furniture, when designing for the time of now. It’s how the same forms get reinvented over and over, because they work the best.

I’m interested in the ways that history adds this depth and grounding to newer things. It’s the collective memory that makes even the most chic interiors feel familiar and accessible; it’s literally the reason we are all, instinctively, born collectors. This is a continuum that I try to bring to what I design: adding the vintage—as a lineage and a classicism—to new things being made today. And this is the bridge I cross with each of my clients. Everyone needs his or her own particular connection between past and present.”