Attractive Opposites


by Dickson Wong | August 14, 2017

On one end of the design spectrum are rooms that exude warmth through rich materials, vibrant colors and patterns that envelop, as well as details that beckon the eye — all combining to invite lounging and lingering. At the other end are airy spaces filled with light and enlivened by cheerful hues, clean lines, luminous finishes and modernist accents, creating an effect that is calm, collected and coolly sophisticated. But whether a room veers toward the warm or the cool, a designer’s masterful touch weaves comfort into the scheme.

Living Room


Katie Ridder Inc., New York City

Manhattan decorator Katie Ridder’s signature style — characterized by an unabashed use of bright colors, lively patterns and pedigreed antiques and furnishings — is on full display in her own Millbrook, New York, country house, which she designed with her architect husband, Peter Pennoyer. Its creation is the subject of their recent book, beginning with their first purchase: an antique Oushak carpet for the living room that once belonged to style setter Dodie Rosekrans. Ridder notes that she “went crazy with colors” in that room — a pink tea paper wallcovering, muted green draperies and pelmets, watermelon-pink and blue sofas — which served to soften the space’s American antiques, lofty scale and Greek Revival architecture. Photo by Eric Piasecki


Waldo Works, London

“The owners’ art collection was the starting point,” says Waldo Works founder Tom Bartlett, who was tasked with designing a light-filled London duplex for a couple who had moved from a five-story Victorian townhouse filled with Old Master paintings, drawings and prints. The luminous drawing room is “the core of the home,” continues Bartlett, who employed pale whites, grays and blues to provide what he calls “a silent backdrop” for a new collection of modern works on paper and large-scale photographs, plus a mixture of furnishings that includes 1930s leather chairs by Jacques Adnet and Tom Dixon’s 1992 Pylon chairs. The gallery-like space, he notes, demonstrates “the subtleties of whites and the color changes that occur in northern light,” which pours in through a wall of windows that sits across from where photographer Candida Höfer’s Biblioteca di Belle Arti hangs. Photo by Tom Mannion



David Kleinberg Design Associates, New York City

Contemporary comfort reigns supreme in the library of a shingle-style Long Island house renovated by David Kleinberg Design Associates. “In the bay window, there is a fourteen-foot-long sofa to accommodate as many people as possible,” says Kleinberg, who also deployed such pieces as a vintage Guglielmo Ulrich chair and a rectangular Philip and Kelvin Laverne coffee table. “The mix of mid-century French, Italian and American furniture used to contrast with the traditionally shaped upholstered pieces adds so much visual interest to an already graphic architectural backdrop.” A painting by Carroll Dunham hangs on one of the wood-paneled walls. The round coffee table is from L’Art de Vivre, and the Maison Jansen nesting tables are from Bernd Goeckler Antiques. Photo by William Waldron


Ken Fulk Design, San Francisco

In designing a family vacation home on 600 bucolic acres in Sonoma, California, Ken Fulk channeled “the great resorts of the 1900s that once dotted this region,” he writes in his first monograph, the recently published Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World. The designer, who adroitly merges the fantastical with the livable, outfitted the home’s den (or, as he has dubbed it, the “reception lobby”) with a “check-in desk,” turquoise-colored paneled walls and vintage furnishings that include leather chairs, a comfortably worn rug and repurposed steamer trunks. Photo by Douglas Friedman

Dining Room


Rees Roberts + Partners LLC, New York City

For an art-loving family’s 19th-century Manhattan townhouse, design firm Rees Roberts + Partners created a dining room that feels cozy despite its height by lining the walls with olive-gray-painted shelves filled with art books and interesting objects. A copper disc chandelier hangs above a Brazilian antique rosewood table that’s surrounded by vintage Jean Prouvé chairs recovered in pink fabric — all of which adds a welcome warmth. Photo by Scott Frances / OTTO


Suzanne Kasler, Atlanta

This Greenwich, Connecticut, dining room “is designed using some of the rich, saturated colors I see when traveling in Paris,” says Suzanne Kasler, who is known both for her sophisticated approach to hue and her masterful use of neutrals. Case in point: Kasler lacquered the walls here in a gleaming lake blue that reflects light, producing an airy ambience. “There is a lot of color, but it is used strategically, so it ends up feeling subtle,” she says. The chandelier is by David Iatesta, the ink on paper by Franz Kline, the rug from Beauvais and the walnut dining table from Kasler’s furniture line for Hickory Chair. Photo by Simon Upton



Angie Hranowsky, Charleston, South Carolina

In a home overlooking South Carolina’s Wando River, interior designer Angie Hranowsky created a snug master bedroom using swathes of soft materials like grasscloth wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries and a chenille rug by Madeline Weinrib. These help mitigate the starkness of the room’s clean cool lines, as well as its slate floors and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The antique brass four-poster bed “adds volume and architecture to the space,” Hranowsky says, while the sheepskin bench “makes you want to take a seat.” Photo by Julia Lynn


Amy Lau Design, New York City

For the guest room in a Hamptons home belonging to discerning art collectors, Amy Lau decided to “harness the property’s natural light” by using pale blues that brighten and balance the space. She also set a whimsical tone with a “fluid mix of artisanal and vintage pieces,” including a custom floor-spanning cowhide rug she created with Kyle Bunting and a vintage Lou Blass chandelier that hovers above the bed. The 1960s bench is by Harvey Probber, and the chair is by Dirk Vander Kooij. Photo is Thomas Loof



Suzanne Tucker, San Francisco

Grand spaces filled with dramatic details are a signature of West Coast decorator Suzanne Tucker. But she also knows how to work small, as evidenced by this tiny red powder room in a Carmel Valley home. “It all started when we found the reclaimed terracotta floor tiles with a sun-wheel pattern,” she explains. “That in turn inspired the decorative painting on the cabinetry by Shirley Robinson.” Other flourishes include luxurious materials — a honed-marble counter top and backsplash, an oyster-shell mirror — and ornate finds from Italy, including the antique seashell basin and the Fortuny pendant light and sconces. Tucker says she installed the 18th-century Spanish door “to complete the picture.” Photos by Matthew Millman


Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City

Located in a shingle-style house on the beach in East Quogue, New York, “this master bath overlooks the ocean, so the colors reflect those of the water,” says Gary Brewer, a partner in the design firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects, explaining further that “the V-joint boards in the tray ceiling were inspired by boats,” while the stone-topped vanities were designed to pay homage to Swedish washbasin stands. The custom millwork and furnishings have a Swedish-Gustavian quality and, says Brewer, “provide a casual elegance appropriate for a house by the sea.” Steven Gambrel’s S.R. Gambrel, Inc. was the interior designer for the project and created the room’s color scheme. Photo by Peter Aaron / OTTO

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