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I am thrilled to be participating in the Holiday House Show House in support of Breast Cancer Research Foundation at 2 East 63rd St. The Show house is on display through December 18 and each room is designed around a different holiday. The library room designed is meant to be my sexier, edgier Valentine’s Day.

When you first enter the room your eye is struck by photos of the exposed man by Dina Goldstein, an Israeli conceptual artist based in Vancouver. The images are an exploration of birth, life, death, pleasure and pain. Raul Higuera, a Colombian fashion photographer represented by Vered Gallery in East Hampton, juxtaposes them with the dark female imagery. Raul’s photographs of the of Jean-Paul Gaultier series called “Save the Nation” ties into the Brooklyn Museum’s show currently running of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk October 25, 2013 through February 23, 2014. I loved the edgy dialogue created by the dark women next to bare men in the different photographs, there is an irony that this is a women photographer’s view of man and a man photographed the images of the women.

The sculptural chairs are by Mattia Bonetti and were generously loaned by The Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea. The chairs launched the Valentine’s theme for the room because of their color and shape the fabric is one of my favorites textiles, horse hair and the reddish orange shade is super chic. The marble and split wood table is by Stephane Parmentier and the side tables are by Jacques Jarridge both by Valerie Goodman Gallery.

I was so lucky to meet Kyle Dewoody and Manish Vora of the Grey Area Gallery in Brooklyn. They loaned two amazing works for the room. The coffee table is by Peter Dayton, a former punk rocker whose work was originally on surfboards and has moved to furniture design and created the explosion of black, white and grey flowers on this unique piece. The bookcase displays typical Valentine’s flowers in an unexpected way with “suspended roses” by Ray Geary.

Other wonderful items in the bookcase are the Jamie Hayon works for Lladro, one of the sponsors of the Show house. The many sided faces of the porcelain figures are highlighted by the use of the Lee Callichio mirror that is back mounted in the space. The other shelves display amazing white bronze vases and a rock crystal knot by Robert Kuo. He also loaned the elegant red lacquer lamp that is like a long teardrop in the corner of the room and the white bronze vase that sits on the windowsill.

I found the vintage 1970’s Saporetti loveseat on 1st Dibs in the Saturday sale section. It is one of my favorite things to hunt around on the website and see what I can discover. I covered it in chenille and accented with red mohair cushions both provided by Pierre Frey. The fur throw is from Pologeorgis Furs and can be custom made in various sizes and backed in either silks or cashmere. There is something so simple yet sexy about this combination.

The flooring is by Stark Carpet in charcoal sisal and then topped with an exquisite white horse hair hide rug from Edelman leather. On the walls I played on the concept of 50 Shades of Grey and used a wonderful Philip Jefferies grass cloth with a shimmer that is available through Holly Hunt. The baseboards, crown molding and ceiling are all in Benjamin Moore paint and different shades of grey.

I love the idea of mixing different periods together and highlighted this by using an 18th century Flemish mirror from Lee Calicchio antiques dealer. The Queen’s cameo in vinyl is the banned LP by Sex Pistols of “God Save the Queen” by Keith Haynes and artist working in vinyl – he is known of his works using the Beatles and The Stones. The ceiling light fixture is amazing work by CL Sterling – it made from the cast off pieces of blown glass and then tied together using jewelers’ wire. The piece comes in different sizes and shapes and always creates a presence in the room.

I typically prefer simple window treatments so the panel is hand-painted by Carolyn Ray and the window tassel is semi-precious stones available in custom stones by Rachel Laxer through Studio Four

The challenges with a small space are many but here are a few tips on how to make it terrific:

  • The room appears larger and is layered using different shades of the same color on the walls, baseboard, trim and ceiling and changing the texture using Phillip Jeffries cloth
  • Don’t be afraid to use oversized pieces in a small space—the large mirror in the show house grounds the room even though it’s grand and ornate
  • Mixing different periods of furniture can make a small space feel interesting and whimsical
  • The color and shape of a piece can serve as an anchor for a room’s concept, the bright orange chairs serving as a twist on Valentine’s red
  • Window treatments should be very simple—just as you’d wear a simple dress with a beautiful necklace, use the same philosophy for window treatments

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