Design for a Diva: Black, Soft, Sexy
Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: There is a small room under the stairs in our new house, not “Harry Potter” small — it has a window and big enough to be a little “Me” room, as my husband would call it, with a dresser/desk and chair. It’s my first chance ever to indulge myself — I love silk and crystal (our master bedroom is done in plaids and stripes in deference to my husband). Need some ideas.
A: Here’s a roomful of posh ideas you could adapt, conjured up by designer Claudia Giselle Tejeda (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the 2012 Holiday House in Manhattan.
A seasonal feature on the New York design scene, this year’s Holiday House raised funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by celebrating every kind of holiday you can imagine, from Christmas to the Chinese New Year, the National Day of Norway, Halloween and Sweet Sixteen.
Claudia called her dark, sparkling and downright seductive room “Girls Night Out.” But it was really about staying in, about cuddling up in what should be every woman’s natural habitat, a glamorous blend of sharp and sexy/ soft and feminine.
Claudia framed her room — just off the entry of the East Side mansion that hosted Holiday House — with a glowing black ceiling and lustrous black tile floors. In between, she hung large mirrors to reflect the crystal light fixtures and vanity lamps that sparkled on the dresser/desk where glittery wallpaper (by Maya Romanoff) was showcased under glass.
Wall panels were cushioned in silky tone-on-tone damask, outlined with mini-chains in sparkly black. Lush “Baby Pink” velvet curtains draped luxuriously over the room’s single window, and the vanity chair was a luxe gilt bergere, upholstered in black, parked in the middle of a deep flokati, black, of course.
“I wanted to create a place where a woman could feel glamorous and sexy,” explained Claudia (who is currently president of the New York Chapter of the International Furnishings & Design Association, IFDA).
She certainly did.
Q: Want to steal more ideas?
A: Why else do we so enjoy trooping through designer show houses? Here are more tidbits from the Holiday House design pros that ended up in my notebook:
—Wallpapered with a good book lately? Annemarie diSalvo covered the walls of her tiny, tucked-away room with stapled-on pages ripped from a decommissioned copy of “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” in what looked like Swedish. Attached to the walls was a flock of small clay birds — wearing pink ribbons — just to make the point.
—Chairs were the focus du jour in Inson Dubois Wood’s dining room. Celebrating “Carnavale,” the designer ringed his long, jointed table with an eccentric collection of seats — hand carved from wood, molded from plastic, some tiny, some grand. The lesson? You can just forget about matchy-matchy furniture.
—Forget about furniture. Period? That might have been the message from uber designer-photographer-author Vicente Wolf. He interpreted a “Swedish Winter Dream” in a large bedroom made to look even larger with bleached floors, white upholstery and scant furnishings under ceiling paint gloomy-cloud gray.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of “Manhattan Style” and six other books on interior design
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