IWI recently designed a modern traditional project in a Virginia beachfront apartment for a music industry executive. Her request was that we create interiors with a sense of humor and low-key glamour. Working closely with the client, we purchased most of the furnishings and custom fabrics in Paris, New York, and Venice.
The client's love of fashion informs all aspects of the design. Her collection of tiaras shows off her sensibilities, nicely undercut, however, by the quirky edge of the skulls. Like custom jewelry, we used the collection as a central part of the decorating. The cushion in the first detail photo is actually a collectible, and a visual reference to the "lady of the house." Such cushions were often found in the entry foyer. When a woman came into the house with a hat that had hatpins in it, she would remove the hat and place the sometimes large and lethal hatpins in these cushions, retrieving them after her visit.
In the living room, we used fabrics and colors that relate to the color palette the client likes to wear: cool, grayed jewel tones. Placing the furniture on relatively inexpensive commercial-grade velvet cut carpeting gives a sense of spontaneity and freshness to the room. The cabinet to the left of the sofa is Maison Jansen. The three pieces in the foreground are late 18th century French campaign stools. The art deco club chair is covered in blue silk satin; we added a custom crown embroidered on the back, reflecting the client's collection. The 1970s side table is brass with a petrified wood top.
The living room fireplace grouping features custom satin draperies, trimmed with grosgrain ribbon in a neoclassical pattern with detailed corners. The pair of chairs are 18th century gilded scroll-shaped antiques we found in Paris at the Marche Puce flea market. When we first saw them, they were in bad shape: the maroon velvet upholstery was threadbare and the springs were shot. IWI refashioned them with a cut velvet center panel fabric we found at Luigi Bevilacqua, an old family-owned Venetian fabric house. We also added tufting to the pieces for more tailoring interest.
In the front hallway, we placed a pair of brass-inlaid side cabinets in Napoleon III style underneath an antique mirror with crown-like details. The shallow bowl/vase on the right is contemporary Venetian glass.
The dining room light fixture is contemporary Venetian glass and the painting is from Birmingham Galleries. The table, sourced in New York, is a clever 1940s style reproduction. The chairs are in the style of Maison Jansen, purchased in a Paris flea market. The large Victorian mirror conceals the generic pass-through between the kitchen and the dining room.
The focal point of the master bedroom is a blue lacquered cabinet from Maison Jansen, purchased in a Paris flea market. At the window is a cast iron Italian ballroom chair from the 1940s. The lamp is an important French design from the 1940s; its base is pink resin.
Details: The client's skull collection on the living room coffee table relates to her love of high-end, high-style fashion. A close-up of the crown embroidery in the living room club chair; the throw pillow fabric is from Luigi Bevilacqua. Inside the Maison Jansen cabinet in the master bedroom are skulls, crowns, and coronets - a private collection "for the lady of the house."