Choosing an interior designer is much like dating, since many of same rules apply: Don’t rush into anything, make sure your values align and meet a few promising contenders before deciding on the “one.” And both can be frustrating.
Luckily for those seeking a decorator rather than a date, 1stdibs’ recently launched Designer Connection program makes the process much pleasanter — and highly successful. The new program is basically a matchmaking service, using a prospective clients’ preferences to hand-select designers who fit their criteria. After the two parties are introduced, the rest is up to them!
A serene pied-à-terre in Midtown Manhattan provides ample proof of the success of the process. The client, a businesswoman with a studio apartment, ended up going with Brooklyn-based Frederick Tang Architecture, whose director of design, Barbara Reyes, took charge of the interiors. “This project was a great opportunity to work with someone who was familiar with 1stdibs’ shopping platform,” says Reyes. “She had great taste, and our visual styles were a match.”
The result of their collaboration is a well-outfitted and smartly designed apartment that radiates calm. Here, Reyes takes The Study through it room by room.
“Maximizing the space, a pair of 1960s Danish nightstands from retro-design.dk float on a custom-designed headboard, made of wool and creamy velvet,” Reyes says. “The monochromatic look is completed by brass sconces from RH.” A set of six prints composes a pared-down gallery wall, adding an ornamental touch to the clean and simple space.
Reyes worked with her firm’s principal architect, Frederick Tang, to create custom sliding cane panels that allow in natural light and provide texture. “One request was to create privacy for the bedroom without closing it off,” the designer explains.
An oversize graphic diptych by Scott Kerr from R Alexander Fine Art (a 1stdibs find) serves as wallpaper in this television nook. It’s complemented by a custom-colored walnut credenza by Croft, a Swedish brass and mahogany floor lamp and a woven Mel Smilow chair.
To make the room seem slightly bigger, Reyes kept the palette cool and light. “The space was made to feel soft yet luxe by strategically mixing old and new pieces,” she notes. “Maharam upholstery transformed a rare 1960s Martin Visser sleeper sofa (a 1stdibs discovery from Walter Design), and restored Milo Baughman walnut tables blend elegantly with a woven-leather armchair and a wool Calvin Klein rug.”
A minimalist dining area is furnished with mid-century pieces from various European countries, all found on 1stdibs. Here, the designer paired a 1970s Angelo Mangiarotti marble and glass table from Italian dealer Watteeu with 1967 Arne Jacobsen and Fritz Hansen cognac leather chairs from Danish dealer Osted Antique & Design. Overhead is a 1950s Kinkeldey frosted-glass and brass chandelier from German dealer AixoDesign. Reyes says of the apartment, “It’s filled with treasures from around the world.” Treasures, indeed!