My Quick Sylvie Pillow Makeovers

Everyone loves a good house tour. "Snooping" is in our natures, right? We had fun this week visiting Irwin Weiner ASID, Manhattan interior designer, and seeing how he's decorated with four pillows from Sylvie Guieysse, the Brooklyn pillowmaker. "This apartment has been published in the New York Times," commented Irwin, "and one's tendency would be to leave well enough alone and keep things just as they were photographed. But a home is not a museum or a shrine to the past. It should keep changing and evolving. Bringing in Sylvie's pillows added a fresh kick to my living room and bedroom, injecting a fresh color jolt we can all use once in awhile in our interiors."

In the photo above, Irwin is sitting in a great chair. Its leather-inlaid arms and seat are bent wood in an Art Noveau style with intricate spindles, studded all over with antique brass nailheads. Irwin has an antique black-and-maroon paisley shaw from the late 1800s draped over its back, and he popped the chair with Sylvie's acid green, lemon, and cream pillow from her Fairy Tales collection (see photo below).

Irwin has an Ashley Manor sleep sofa (handy for those NYC guests) in his living room, upholstered in a gray ultrasuede fabric from Old World Weavers. In the photo below, you'll see how beautifully Sylvie's Ikebana pillow goes with the sofa's upholstery (from her Far East collection). "I love the 12 x 18 inch irregular size of this pillow," raves Irwin. "It nests beautifully along the sofa arm and makes a great headrest for anyone laying on the sofa and reading or catnapping. And it's fun to place pillows in unusual positions like this. Don't just line pillows up along the back of furniture like little soldiers." Beside the sofa is a vintage glass-top end table on a driftwood base and the African baluster-shaped vessle base lamp with the laminated silk tapering drum shade is from Waldo's.

In Irwin's spacious bedroom, he took us to a queen-sized bed, custom from Beckley Bed. The headboard is woven faux leather (actually made from paper!), and above the bed hang two long Polish collage-and-ink paintings which Irwin bought at a Rago Arts auction. The bed is dressed with white pillow shams from Schweitzer Linens, light blue pillow cases and sheets from The Company Store, an antique suzanni throw (which Irwin backed with white fabric to make it more practial as a bedcover), a striped Crate & Barrel pillow, and Sylvie's bright orange, blue, and white 12 x 18 inch Bamboo pillow from her Far East collection. "I like the way Sylvie's pillows pick up the orange from the striped pillow and the suzanni, as well as blend in with the Dreamsicle colored walls," Irwin noted. "And her use of birds in her pillows - from Japanese fabrics she admires - is actually very Victorian. There's a fine tradition of using the bird motif in decorating, and it adds a classic warmth to the bed."

Finally, Irwin showed us a French-polished art deco writing desk and a mod desk chair. It's a lucite mid-century 1970s chair with an aluminum base. He had the seat covered in a bouckle (nubby) weave fabric in dark tans and he added the smaller 10 x 14 inch Bamboo pillow to provide a color accent to the chair. "This smaller pillow provides great lumbar support when I'm working at the desk," said Irwin. "The Sylvie pillows have that longer, rectangular shape I recommend to my clients for good lower back support - whether it's for a desk chair, side chair, or club chair." The floor mirror in the background is from Ironies in Manhattan and you can see a large resin painting called My Delta.

Jay Johnson1 Comment