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Which do you prefer: Rooms with a laid-back, eclectic vibe, replete with furniture that could conceivably be flopped upon and an atmosphere that emphasizes livability? Or spaces that are carefully arrayed with pedigreed art and furniture and that feel devoted to an aesthetic ideal? As is evident here, while many rooms may fall on one side of the spectrum or the other, in the hands of a skilled designer, the overall effect is not necessarily black or white. A comfortable space can still be highly stylized and a formal room isn’t worth its Regency antiques if there’s nowhere to put up your feet.


ENTRY

Relaxed

Burnham Design, Santa Monica, California

Raised in New England but based in Los Angeles, Betsy Burnham is highly adept at creating classic spaces with a relaxed feel. In the entry of a 1930s home belonging to longtime clients, the decorator wanted to use a bold wallpaper that was still appropriate for a traditional home and settled on a Quadrille print that reminded her of bohemian textiles. Pottery from Lawson-Fenning, an ikat pillow and a tramp-art-style mirror add to the eclectic feel, while vintage French chairs and a Qashqai rug keep things classical. Photo by Laura Hull

Formal

Brockschmidt & Coleman, New York City

The color scheme of a Fifth Avenue apartment is established by its grand entry, which features grisaille wallpaper, black and white marble flooring and a vivid green Maison Jansen–inspired settee, which was designed by the apartment’s decorators, Bill Brockschmidt and Courtney Coleman, a team known for paying extra attention to traditional craftsmanship and detailing. In the center of the room, an ethereal 1940s chandelier from John Salibello hovers over a mahogany Regency table from Lee Calicchio. Above the settee, a pair of 1940s Venetian glass sconces from Brunelli Designs flank a Venetian-style mirror. Photo by Brian Shumway


LIVING ROOM

Relaxed

Nickey Kehoe, Venice, California

“Unlike many living rooms, this one gets a lot of foot traffic,” says Amy Kehoe, who runs the Los Angeles design firm and shop Nickey Kehoe with Todd Nickey. The first piece their clients, a young family, picked was the duo’s own NK Modern Lounge sofa in bright green velvet, a bold choice that helped guide the rest of the room. All the elements are meant to strike a balance between refinement and livability, including a durable striped kilim, a toddler-friendly (no sharp edges) rounded coffee table and a petite stool from Orange. The show-stopping mid-century rocker is by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen. Photo by Amy Neunsinger

Formal

Matthew Patrick Smyth, New York City

For his room at the 2014 Holiday House showcase, in New York, Matthew Patrick Smyth mixed antique pieces with modern artwork and accessories in such a natural way that it appeared as if the room’s urbane owner had just stepped out for a walk. Nearly everything in the space was sourced from 1stdibs, including the Emilia Dubicki painting above the sofa, from Fred Giampietro; the Regency side chairs, from David Duncan Antiques; the French bronze globe chandelier and contemporary coffee table, from Lucca & Co.; the Regency center table, from Sutter Antiques; the Curtis Jeré sculpture on the table, from Florian Papp; and, by the fireplace, bronze candle lights by Valerie Goodman Gallery’s Anasthasia Millot. Photo by John Gruen


DINING ROOM

Relaxed

Elizabeth Roberts, Brooklyn

Elizabeth Roberts specializes in masterfully revamping historic townhouses in Brooklyn’s most picturesque neighborhoods, but for cookbook author Ted Lee and visual artist E.V. Day, the architect tried her hand at a Williamsburg loft. The result is a soaring space with plenty of room for the couple’s collection of rattan furniture. Roberts kept the furnishings — which include a set of Harry Bertoia chairs for Knoll and a chandelier frame stripped of its crystals and painted white — deliberately crisp and modern to balance the loft’s unpainted wood ceilings and columns. Photo by Dustin Aksland

Formal

Suzanne Rheinstein, Marin County, California

Los Angeles designer Suzanne Rheinstein is a longstanding proponent of a limited palette, which often translates to tastefully variegated neutrals. But when she commits to a color, she goes all the way, as in this verdant, chinoiserie-inflected dining room whose hand-painted wallpaper recalls the homeowner’s garden outside. The mahogany Georgian sideboard with satinwood, rosewood and boxwood inlays is from Antique & Art Exchange, and the George III serving table comes from Rheinstein’s own storefront, Hollyhock. Photo by Pieter Estersohn


KITCHEN

Relaxed

Kristen Buckingham, Ojai, California

When it comes to home decor, celebrity does not always equal high maintenance. Case in point: Reese Witherspoon’s relaxed 1920s ranch in bucolic Ojai, California. For the interiors, the actress turned to Los Angeles dealer and designer (and fellow mom and horse lover) Kristen Buckingham, who balanced the original architectural elements by Wallace Neff (stucco walls, exposed beams, elaborate iron light fixtures) with European antiques and rustic accessories. In the open country-style kitchen, these include rugs from Woven Accents, metal stools from Harbinger, a pendant lamp over the sink from Galerie Half, oversize cutting boards from Lee Stanton and silver odds and ends from Obsolete. Photo by William Waldron

Formal

Geremia Design, San Francisco

Several Richard Serra prints belonging to the owners of this Mission District house acted as “an anchor for the graphic colors and simple and bold textures” used throughout the project, explains Lauren Geremia. The young San Francisco designer is known for commissioning bespoke work, and here, in what she calls the “elegant and moody” kitchen, she had slabs of marble cut to resemble planks for the backsplash and added charcoal-stained oak cabinets. Custom powder-coated floating shelves hold a collection of turned-wood bowls by Rosanna Coyne, and the brass and custom-dyed-black-leather stools are from Lawson-Fenning. Photo by Laure Joliet


BEDROOM

Relaxed

Nathan Turner, Los Angeles

“My goal is to create spaces that look great without pretense and are super-comfortable,” Los Angeles designer Nathan Turner says of the house he designed for Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet. The Old West, hacienda-like feel that pervades the space softens in the guest bedroom, which is done in shades of blue, the favorite color of the actor’s mother. Turner sourced the bedside table and chest of drawers from Jefferson West, and the lamps are by Christopher Spitzmiller. Photo by Victoria Pearson

Formal

Timothy Corrigan, Loire Valley, France

In the past, guests went to stay at the 18th-century Château du Grand-Lucé, in France’s Loire Valley, to be treated for tuberculosis. Today, following a major overhaul by Timothy Corrigan, the Los Angeles decorator’s visitors are treated to decidedly more sumptuous quarters. In this guest room, one of 14 that he renovated, a Walter Gay painting hangs above a Swedish Biedermeier fall-front desk, and the modern-looking 19th-century needlepoint carpet is Portuguese. Photo © Eric Piasecki/OTTO


BATHROOM

Relaxed

Nicole Hollis, Seattle

When designing Seattle’s Palladian hotel, which opened in February of last year, Nicole Hollis channeled an Old World look befitting the landmarked 1910 building. At the same time, the San Francisco designer opted to keep the feel current and a little gritty — like the city itself — by adding industrial touches and using such materials as leather, wood, marble and, especially in the bathrooms, brass. Photo by Laurie Joliet

Formal

Kirill Istomin, Geneva

Considered Russia’s foremost interior designer, Kirill Istomin trained in the United States at Parish-Hadley and later worked alongside British bon vivant Nicky Haslam before setting up his own Moscow practice. The result is a marriage of American traditions and European antiques finished with a gloss of Russian opulence. In a lavish Geneva bathroom, the early-20th-century brocade slipper chair inspired the decorative painting on the dado and cornice. Mirrored panels, crystal columns and marble inlaid with mother-of-pearl give the room depth. Photo by Mikhail Stepanov