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Over the Shoulder
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Decorator Amy Lau loves works by the Latvian-born, Amsterdam-based furniture designer Germans Ermics. “His furniture adds an interesting, bespoke touch that makes a room so distinctive and memorable,” she says. One of her favorite pieces is his 2017 Ombré Glass chair, a boxy seat that fades from one color to the next across just four planes of glass––a medium he uses for most of his designs, which include tables, consoles, and shelving. “Alchemy of color is the cornerstone of his work,” says Lau.
Fashion designer Lisa Perry also has a talent for decorating interiors, as is evident in her new book Lisa Perry: Fashion, Homes, Design (Assouline). To create bold spaces akin to her 1960s-inspired clothing, Perry says she ads pops of color to all-white rooms. One way to achieve this is with doorknobs, and Perry suggests Bonnemazou Cambus, a French brand that brings unexpected shapes to handles in bright hues. “Hardware is not always a place where creativity can shine, but their pieces make a statement, and the color choices are electric,” says Perry.
Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design in New York doesn’t like how most upholstered furniture only comes in understated shades like beige or gray, so to make her pieces unique, she often reupholsters everything. She prefers Romo’s Black Edition Herbaria Collection for its organic patterns in bright colors; Maharam for a retro look, typified by the Millerstripe wool by Alexander Girard, which was designed in 1973; and Dedar for the unexpected. “Dedar’s colors are richer, deeper, and more complex than what I’ve seen elsewhere,” says Fennoy.
“Gary Petersen’s Constructivist paintings are transfixing,” says famed decorator Jamie Drake. He discovered Petersen at the New York gallery McKenzie Fine Art, which represents a roster of abstract artists who aren’t shy about using color. “His pieces have a rhythm of overlapping geometries that is upbeat and energetic. They create a true focal point, with a Jazz Age spirit,” says Drake.
Designer Richard McGeehan often commissions Brooklyn artist Matt Austin, whose work ranges from detailed landscapes to abstract geometries; they take about two weeks to execute. “Go to him for the unexpected and the amazing,” McGeehan says.
Fawn Galli’s first book, Magical Rooms (Rizzoli), is a study in opulent color. She found inspiration for the spaces featured in the book from her travels to places like Oaxaca, Mexico, where she sources textiles from Los Baúles de Juana Cata (52-951/501-0552), which works with local artisans who use natural dyes. When in Tokyo, she likes Morita, which sells woodblock-printed furoshiki wrapping cloths and embroidered sashiko fabric. “It’s one of my favorite places for vintage kimonos and wall hangings,” says Galli.
Rather than sticking to traditional finishes like nickel and brass, designer Nicole Fuller suggests adding whimsy by choosing from the colorful selection of faucets and handles from Fantini. The Italian brand’s Nice Collection features translucent acrylic knobs with bases offered in six different hues. For an even brighter look, the rounded spouts and cross handles of the I Balocchi series can be finished in a fire-engine red.
Celerie Kemble, of the family-run Kemble Interiors, says wallpaper easily brings color to a room. “My go-to is Schumacher,” says Kemble, whose own collection for the brand includes lively motifs like the striped Creeping Fern. “I love adding their Romeo marbleized paper to bookcases. It’s both wild and scholarly at the same time.”
“We can easily forget the luxury of a beautiful carpet under bare feet,” says designer and hotelier Kit Kemp. She often collaborates with Christopher Farr to make pieces like Egg & Dart––a geometric jute-and-wool rug featuring blue, orange, green, yellow, and red dots throughout––which she used inside the Meadow suite at her Crosby Street Hotel in New York.
Mission Tile West, which has showrooms throughout the Los Angeles area, offers machine-cut tiles that are painted by hand. Designer Peter Dunham, who chose the brand’s three-by-six-inch offerings in the Tahiti color for a 1905 house in Santa Monica, says he likes the automation aspect for providing tight grout lines, but the hand-painted element for its dazzling hues.
“I love colorful lampshades, and Bhon Bhon makes the most beautiful ones,” says New York designer Miles Redd. Based in Queens, Bhon Bhon handcrafts custom shades using everything from painted linens to pierced leather. Its pieces have been featured in the homes of Gloria Vanderbilt, Sting, and Madonna, to name a few. Redd suggests trying a pink shade: “It will glow like a glass of brandy held up to firelight.”