Wednesday, July 15, 2015

AD Aug 2015 Colorful "HIGH VOLTAGE" by William L. Hamilton (writer) and Nick Olsen (Designer)

While flipping through the Architectural Digest (AD) August 2015 edition, William L. Hamilton's "High Voltage" piece about the 1840s Brooklyn Heights four-story Greek Revival rowhouse immediately stopped me in my tracks.  SO MUCH about this beautiful home designed by Miles Redd protege, Nick Olsen, caught my eye.  As I drooled over the peacock blue lacquered library walls, vintage Persian rugs, Greek key motifs, chinoiserie ginger jars, leopard prints, and fun mix of bold patterns, textures, and colors, I was not surprised to learn that Olsen, "got his start working for interior designer Miles Redd, another precocious colorist" (one of my fav all time designers).

The energetic mix of colors and patterns gives so much life and personality to this space, and the extreme-attention to detail is intoxicating.

LIVING ROOM:  Love the mix of colors: burnt orange, peacock blue, hot pink, and the mix of textures: washed walls, lacquered table, leather chairs, velvet pillows, worn antique rug, and the mix of patterns: Greek key, chinoiserie ginger jars, floral and leopard pillows.

"A Larrea Studio cocktail table centers the living room of a Brooklyn family home that was renovated by Baxt Ingui Architects and decorated by Nick Olsen; the room's walls were custom finished by Chris Pearson. The sofa is upholstered in a Fabricut velvet and accented with pillows made of Clarence House fabrics; the deer artwork is by Harrison Haynes, a floor lamp from Circa Lighting stands in front of a George III bookcase-on-cabinet, and the carpet is an antique Giordes."

TERRACE:  Love the beautiful lush greenery of mature trees and landscaping, and the interesting, organic pattern of the stone terrace would never know this is an urban dwelling!

"A dogwood shades the terrace; the garden was created
by Christina Michas Landscape Design." 

LIBRARY:  Love the cozy lounge/club feel of this space enveloped by peacock blue lacquered walls and vivid accent colors of orange silk pillows, retro throw blanket, and brown velvet chevron chair (reminiscent of designer, Madeline Stuart's 2013 Academy Awards Green Room chairs in Schumacher Shock Wave fabric).  Also love the architecturally-interesting (antique?) large scale wood mirror above the sofa.  Finally, note the way the blue and orange tones are repeated in adjoining room for continuity.

"In the library, picture lights from Circa Lighting top the bookcases;
the sofa is by Dune." 

REAR STAIRWELL:  Love the unique and visually stimulating mix of red and black frames used for this gallery wall of photos.  What a fun way to display so many family memories!

"Family photographs are hung salon style in the rear stairwell"

KITCHEN: Love the mix of both traditional (striped window treatment, checkerboard floor) and modern (sleek counter top, range) textures and elements, and the overall quirky, lively vibe.

"Olsen paved the floor with a jazzy checkerboard of cement tiles, covered the casino-style Soane Britain chairs in scarlet Brentano faux leather, and introduced blousy red-and-white-striped Roman shades that frame views of the bosky backyard."
OFFICE: The lush, leafy wallpaper surrounds this tiny room, providing a cozy-patio-nook-feel .  Love the bold lacquered green door, pop (and repeat) of red in the chair and floral arrangement and of course, blue and white chinoiserie lamp. Such a serene little office oasis!

"The office features Zoffany wallpaper and a Vaughan lamp."
MASTER BEDROOM: Although the window treatments are not my favorite, this room incorporates a fun mix of patterns and styles.  It definitely has that beloved 'collected-over-time' look.  Love the kelly green vintage slipper chair, the green velvet headboard, and fun vintage rug with colors repeated throughout the home: orange, teal, and hot pink.

"The master bedroom's succulent apricot walls were the wife's idea, and Olsen offset them with a Moorish-style headboard sheathed in bottle-green silk velvet....The curtains combine a Tulu print with a Samuel & Sons fringe; a Kravet satin covers the vintage slipper chair, and the headboard was custom made by Luther Quintana with a Lee Jofa velvet."

Interestingly, this historic property needed to be significantly gutted to correct various structural issues; yet, the owners rejected the open-plan layout commonly used in renovations throughout their neighborhood.  Rather, they "wanted distinct rooms and a cozy feel," says Joe Datema, of the Manhattan firm Baxt Ingui Architects.  Granted, "the connecting portals can be flung wide during parties, so the public rooms meld into one long convivial space... "The couple wanted the home to be dense, warm, and inviting," Olsen says of his clients, who entertain frequently and prefer the flicker from fireplaces and candles and the flattering glow of table lamps to bright recessed lighting and sparkling chandeliers."  I could not agree more!  Lamp lighting is so much warm-and-cozier than overhead lighting.  It makes such a difference in a room.  

I love Hamilton's description of the home, "as if assembled by an eccentric, well-traveled aunt with a refreshingly indiscriminate eye, the Brooklyn residence casts a wide embrace, from the plainspoken George III bookcase-on-cabinet of the sort often derided as mere "brown furniture" (it was snapped up at Christie's) to the whimsical Tibetan tiger figurine (captured at the famous Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts)..."Usually stuff like that ends up in an attic," Olsen says. "But here it's downloaded to the main floors, where the effect is a bit hodgepodge-lodge."

From a practical perspective, all of these patterns and colors come in handy.  As Hamilton describes, "it's all extremely family-friendly. After all, in this kind of hospitable pattern-rich jumble, a stain left by a clumsy youngster would be very difficult to find."

Architectural Digest text provided by William L. Hamilton, photography by Pieter Estersohn, and produced by Howard Christian. 

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