Well balanced

A family home configured for nine with French furniture and Art Deco nuances

Photo credit: Sean Litchfield

When you have to configure a house to fit nine family members, a close friend who is an interior designer would be a godsend.

The transformation of this elegant family home  located in the commuter outskirts of Manhattan had an emotional aspect for Susan Knof, Founder and Creative Director of KNOF Design, as one half of the client couple is a long-time friend.

"It was inspiring and special to know how significant the new home was for my friend, representing, as it does, the creation of a solid base for her new life chapter," Knof commented.

Although the project posed challenging logistical issues for Knof, good communication is key, in sealing the pre-existing designer-client relationship and knowing her friend's tastes and style extremely well.

The interior's brief was fairly minimal, with the couple entrusting Knof with the creation of a scheme that would work with the property's scale and dimensions, the family's logistical requirements and their personal tastes, including "her" preference for French furniture and "his" for the lines and geometry of art deco.

"The answer to the latter challenge was very much to treat both influences with a light touch," explains Knof. "So that the scheme avoided clashes of style or any kind of obvious, themed look and maintained a cohesive feel throughout."

With Knof at the design helm, the two preferences are present in material choices, such as the use of slick mirrored furniture, particularly in the master bedroom, strong geometric framed furniture, glamorous chandeliers and distressed timber finishes.

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Both formal receiving rooms feature highly polished existing timber flooring, with new overlaid rugs and silk wall covering from Phillip Jeffries. In this living room, the rug is by Eloise and is a lightly patterned abstract-style rug in soft blues and greys, hand-knotted in India using denim bamboo silk. The strikingly bold rug in the formal dining room is a vintage piece in rich blue patterns, sourced from ABC Carpet & Home in New York.

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In the formal living room, the Tirreno Blue Amalfi Silk from Philip Jeffries wall covering is used. The curtains are a linen and viscose crystal molecule fabric from Chase Erwin and furniture includes a buttoned Cambridge Sofa in tufted, vintage indigo velvet and two elegant Miles leather chairs in Milano stone leather, with brushed-brass frames, sourced from Restoration Hardware.

On entry, the 6,500 square foot property opens up immediately into two formal rooms, with the living room to the right and the dining room to the left, both are clearly visible one from the other. The spaces were designed with a similar, linking palette of colour and materials, including strong blue tones, textured finishes and layering, as well as furniture with a distinctly luxurious feel. Subtle added glamour comes from dynamic, large-scale floral wallcoverings, metallic finishes in gold and brass and standout chandelier lighting.

The third major living space is a more informal and intimate family room, which looks out onto the back lawns and where a quieter and more neutral scheme can be seen. The plan here had to be very functional to encompass all the family at leisure time and is centred around an enormous sofa: the Poliform Bristol Sofa designed by Jean-Marie Massaud and upholstered in Paris Avorio with integrated table in Cenere oak.

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a distinct deco feel, with mirrored-accent furniture including an Amelie Mirrored Console in hardwood with mirrored veneers, as well as mirrored bedside tables from Z Galleries. These feature hand-applied silver leaf and silver beaded trim whilst the drawers are accented with brushed silver hardware. Two glass bedside lights are from Mercury and feature a fluted glass body and a lustre-finish iron base with an antique bronze finish and white linen shades. The chair at the vanity table is a vintage French side chair, upholstered in velvet.

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The dining room also features timber half-panelling on the walls and this helps to balance out this strong print and prevents it from overwhelming the room. The large-scale wild meadow flower print wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries offers play of textures in silk linen.

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Fun accessories include the letter M (for the family surname), lit up in lights over one fireside cupboard area, which is used for keeping toys out of sight in the evening, and a movie-style standing light, which is a subtle nod to a family of film fanatics. To the other side of the fireplace is a bookcase, given added depth by being backlit, with shagreen-embossed wallpaper to its rear.

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The master bedroom has a distinct deco feel, with mirrored-accent furniture and bedside tables from Z Galleries.

The children's rooms take a lighter note. The young boy's room is a fun room, with playful layers and patterns, including superhero bedding from Pottery Barn Kids on the Ella Bed by Room and Board and a section of great, squiggle wallpaper by Vivienne Westwood in the inset alcove. A bedside lamp, in green zigzags on white ceramic with a Horchow lampshade echoes the one in the girl's room and sits on white lacquer bedside table from West Elm.

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The young daughter's bedroom is dreamy and girly in shades of lavender, vintage feel French furniture and Zebra patterned rug. Cole & Son's "Folie" wallpaper offers a playful take on a French toile with a tropical feel and illustrations of flamingos and palm trees.

The young daughter of the house's room features a highly textured purple and pink colourway, which includes a large-print, zebra-patterned rug from Stark Carpets in Custom Wild with a spot pattern in shades of lavender. The animal print theme finds further expression in the wall treatment; Cole & Son's "Folie" wallpaper: a playful take on a French toile with a tropical feel and illustrations of flamingos and palm trees.

Elegant and thoughtful, the design scheme was not just an interior for the couple but also for their collective six children and a new born.

"It was inspiring and special to know how significant the new home was for my friend, representing, as it does, the creation of a solid base for her new life chapter," shares Knof.

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In the master bedroom, the chair at the vanity table is a vintage French side chair, upholstered in velvet. The room features light linen curtains and Brian Yates Back to Nature natural linen wallpaper. A coffee table is the RH Emelia Round side table, mirrored with an antique-cream finish and silvery accents, extending the glamorous feel of the room. The diamond-patterned rug in the room is custom made, a contrast over the polished timber flooring.

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The son's bedroom has a study nook with custom bookshelves set into the recess. Here, a mid-century mini desk in Thai Blue by West Elm, has a solid eucalyptus wood base and lacquer finish and accompanies a Charles Eames Eiffel chair, with maple base and legs. A stuffed papier mâché giraffe head coming out of the wall is a fun addition, as is the cast iron "Studio" floorlamp in industrial yellow from the School House Electric & Supply Co.

SOURCE

Knof Design, www.knofdesign.com