Whether inspired by the understated elegance of hunt and sporting clubs of early Hamptons living,
Or by a passion for blue and white and the great outdoors, a designer’s individual point of view is often the “it factor” that separates the good from the great in interior design.
That’s the belief of a star-studded panel of design icons who recently shared their perspectives at a High Point Market seminar sponsored by International Market Centers at the October 2015 furniture market.
“I see us (designers) as storytellers bringing our clients’ stories to life,” said Jason Oliver Nixon, moderator of the panel which included, left to right from the photos above: Anthony Baratta, Suzanne Kasler, Mark D. Sikes and Marietta Himes Gomez.
Each designer shared creative ways to add a personal touch, perspective and point of view to bring a room or a collection to life. For his part, Anthony Baratta said, “If there’s anything I’m obsessed with, it is American architecture.” That viewpoint shines through in his design of an inviting and romantic sunroom in the Hamptons:
“This room was inspired by the grand casino in Newport Rhode Island executed by the great 19th Century architects McKim, Mead and White,” he said. “When I first laid eyes on that spectacular oval opening and trellis, I knew I had to pay homage to that incredible tennis club in Rhode Island. This room was the perfect place to pay tribute to that iconic muse,” he said.
Baratta also designed the room in the opening photo, located in Southhampton. “This client loves tradition and wants their home to exude the calm, rich, understated elegance of the sporting clubs often associated with the early days of Hamptons living,” he said. “I used a full delft blue tile wall to ground the room and carried the theme throughout.”
Known for a classic yet comfortable style, Suzanne Kasler is driven in her design projects by “a sense of place and architecture.”
The elegant dining room above is from Suzanne’s own home. “When it comes to tables and chairs, I don’t have any qualms about mixing dark wood with light wood,” she said. “My Choate dining table for Hickory Chair is dark, and my Amsterdam chairs are light, but they still work together. They could almost be family pieces, bought at different times, which is far more interesting than a matched set.”
In the above living room, Kasler sought to make the room feel taller by whitewashing the wood on the ceiling. “If left natural, it would have put a lid on the room,” she said. “This way, the beams almost disappear, creating a white-architecture envelope that lets you see the space as a whole. The room is over scaled, as are the furnishings and the stone fireplaces at each end.”
In all projects, Suzanne has one driving perspective: “It’s all about the sense of place, space and architecture. Don’t over decorate.”
The interiors of Mariette Himes Gomez have an inimitable way of combining both modern and classic, minimal and welcoming approaches that are a study in elegant balance and engaging contrasts.
“I describe myself as a “traditional minimalist, or perhaps a modern classicist,” she said.
The furnishings in the setting above are from Gomez’ signature collection for Hickory Chair, and reflect the characteristically clean, updated and highly-detailed style she’s been articulating since founding Gomez & Associates in 1975. The sofa above is covered in a matelassé and has an inviting textural quilted effect, but on a modern form. The bar is crafted of mahogany shelves with brass posts and galleries.
Mark D. Sikes has a gift for seamlessly blending All-American, classic and timeless interiors with both modern and European sensibilities. His “effortlessly chic” Hollywood Hills home was first beautifully editorialized on the cover of House Beautiful, and most recently on the cover of Veranda:
The home’s dining room is shown in the third photo from the top, above. Sikes declares a love for “mixing old and new, connecting the inside to the outside” and, especially, “a passion for blue and white.”
That passion is expressed in the outdoor space he designed (second from the top, above) and in this sublime bathroom space below:
What about you? What point of view can you relate to most? That of Mark D. Sikes, Anthony Baratta, Mariette Himes Gomez or Suzanne Kasler?
And how do you infuse a part of yourself to each design project to make it unique and personal?
Kim Darden Shaver
Leslie Hendrix Wood
Editor In Chief
Leslie Hendrix Wood Interiors
Gracious Living. Timeless Design. Family Traditions.
Photos 1 & 5: Courtesty Anthony Baratta
Photos 2, 3, 10 & 11: Mark D. Sikes
Photos 6 & 7: Photography by Erica George Dines, courtesy of Suzanne Kasler, Timeless Style, Rizzoli USA
Photo 8 from Gomez & Associates website
Photos 9 & 12, courtesy of Hickory Chair