Designers Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone, the two halves of witty, modern-glam interior design firm Consort, do not have the typical decorator pedigree — and that, they feel, is one of their strengths. Sanders, an aspiring stage performer as a child, became an influential design editor for Apartment Therapy, Domino and, later, the online lifestyle site MyDomaine. Quattrone joined New York firm SHoP Architects after college, contributing to high-profile projects like Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the offices of Shopbop before joining the design and development team at SoulCycle. The couple, partners in work and in life, met in 2013 and soon realized that their different backgrounds could be a plus.
“I think our varied experiences gives us a kind of freedom to just do what we like,” explains Quattrone, Consort’s development director. “We are not too fussy about the decor process. We really try to just let it be organic.” Sanders, the creative director, notes that his editorial eye gives him a sense of just what the client will want. “I think about the rooms and vignettes in a photographic sense,” he says. “I know what people are going to love and what will go viral. In this social-media age, I am always designing for the ‘likes.’ ”
Consort’s interiors have been very well-liked, both by its celebrity clients — Jimmy Kimmel, Sophia Bush and Nicole Richie, among them — and by droves of Pinterest and Instagram followers, who respond to their easy charm and lack of pretension. “We wanted to capture something we felt was missing in the interior design world: an unfussy, unruffled style that looks like you could almost have done it yourself,” Sanders says. “Something curated and eclectic. Assembling a home that tells your story.”
The pair’s first projects were an extension of Sanders’s editorial work for MyDomaine, which offers voracious design devotees a peek inside the spaces of celebrities, tastemakers and chic entrepreneurs. “A one-off styling project turned into the client’s asking, ‘Actually, can you come back and do the rest of the house?,’ ” Sanders recalls. One of their earliest fans was Jessica Alba, the actress turned Honest Company mogul. Consort became her on-call designer, creating her firm’s modern-cozy office space in 2017 as well as her eco-friendly Los Angeles guest house, whose look was influenced by the old-world vibe of New York’s Bowery and Gramercy Park hotels.
L.A.’s powerful word of mouth soon brought them a slew of new clients, from friends and former colleagues to a roster of celebrities attracted to Consort’s vintage-inspired “undecorated” look. “I think our client is a person who already has really great style,” Sanders says. “They want something that feels casual and creative.”
An early project that helped them hone their aesthetic was a mountain escape in Telluride, owned by Quattrone’s former SoulCycle boss, which has breathtaking views of Box Canyon. “It was a tabula rasa — we got to put our stamp on it,” Quattrone says of the contemporary glass, steel and stone home. They outfitted it with elements inspired by the ski town’s origins as a mining hub, such as gilded chandeliers and oversize custom mirrors that reflect the natural splendor outside. “There are lots of mixed materials: blackened steel, grayscale stone, glass, monochromatic elements,” he continues. “We infused the house with a lot of warmth, too, with nubby knits, furs, patterned linens and soft cashmeres. It’s a multi-seasonal hangout for a busy family.”
For the Hollywood home of celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin and her photographer husband, Mike Rosenthal, the firm wrote a new design story that played with its colorful past. The 1920 Spanish-style house was previously owned by interior and set designer — and famed maximalist — Tony Duquette, and the couple hoped to convert the interior into a modern, minimalist space. “It had good energy to begin with,” says Quattrone. “We focused on keeping the decor warm and inviting while still remaining very neutral.” The furnishing has unassuming, relaxed lines in shades of white, cream and gray. The design features unassuming, relaxed lines and shades of white, cream and gray punctuated with pops of black, as well as natural wood and an abundance of textures (linen, leather, wool). Rounding out the look are bold photographs by Rosenthal and a whimsical touch or two, such as a taxidermy peacock overlooking the dining table. Tony would no doubt have approved.
With a staff of 15 and offices in L.A. and New York, Consort’s principals find themselves constantly on the move. The studio’s recent projects include a modern bachelor pad in Manhattan’s Tribeca, a fashion designer’s airy white oasis in Hollywood and a rock-and-roll family’s home in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood. The eclecticism in their work results from a healthy tension between the partners’ individual points of view. “Being from the school of editorial, I always want more things,” says Sanders. “I like more color, texture, et cetera.” Given his architectural background, Quattrone is apt to prefer less, which can have another kind of impact. They often meet in the middle. “He edits me down, and I push him forward,” says Sanders.
The pair’s inspirations are equally diverse. For Sanders, it’s Pee-Wee Herman and Ernest Hemingway. “I love that Herman loved Memphis Group design and that his furniture literally talked to him,” he says. “And one of my favorite places in the world is Hemingway’s home and museum in Key West. It’s very influential for me. Classic, casual, coastal.” Quattrone cites design greats of French modernism Prouvé, Perriand, Jeanneret. “I also love Perrin & Perrin and that whole vibe,” he says. “From my architecture days, I admire the work of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.”
Influences past and present coalesce at the design shop they established in 2015 on L.A.’s Melrose Avenue, a quick stroll from design meccas J.F. Chen, Lawson-Fenning and Galerie Half. (They also have a shop in Tribeca.) The loft-like space, drenched in white paint to better showcase their favorite lines, has a brand-new addition this month: Consort Collection, their first furniture line, comprising 44 customizable pieces handcrafted in the U.S. The array of seating, tables and case pieces is a product of both inspiration and necessity. It germinated from their frequent trips to the dealers at Paris’s Clignancourt flea market. “We were planning a furniture collection and wanted it to have a genesis in something we love,” says Sanders. “Like Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, it’s like a silent account of someone’s time there.”
From the resin used in their tables to the heart shape of their settee, the materials and silhouettes of the pieces they’ve put into production were born from conversations with clients and friends. “We wanted to make sure we hit every category and had something we would use in every project,” says Quattrone. “The goal was to make things accessible and elevated at the same time.” Like their designs, this seems to be the Consort way.
What about that name, anyway? “We knew we wanted it to be bigger than just us, so we decided not to use our own names,” Sanders explains. After compiling a list of words and phrases they liked, they kept coming back to Consort. “It was apropos because it’s an old word that refers to the confidant/spouse of a king or a queen,” he says with a mischievous smile. “And they often get them into a bit of trouble.”
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