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Statement of Style 2008

Architectural adornments amp up the style in these showhouse rooms

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Bruce Buck

    Just as a theater’s heavy curtains are raised to reveal an opening scene, a showhouse with rich architecture sets the stage for good design. Check out this year’s bests in show—a trio of beauties that use architectural adornments as the backdrop for delight.

  • Bruce Buck

    Mansions and Millionaires
    Mill Neck, Long Island

    If finding a room with interesting architecture is half the battle of exceptional design, then Eileen Boyd has won this one. Known for her brilliance in creating graphic color schemes and geometric furniture arrangements that paradoxically have soft edges, Eileen turned this octagonal living room of a Long Island Tudor Revival home from white, traditional, and predictable to handsome, current, and fashionable.

    An unexpected Gustavian gray milk paint applied to the paneling and moldings creates a quiet envelope for a mélange of modern furnishings punctuated with exclamation points of saturated taxicab yellow. "I wanted to unify all of the paneling and moldings with one color so they wouldn’t compete against each other," explains Eileen. "I relate color to music, and on their own, neither the gray nor the yellow works for me. But together, they are harmonious and complement each other perfectly."

    Centered on the room’s multi-paned windows, the seating area is a lesson in balance. A raw linen sofa with accent pillows in stone, yellow, and a bright, luminous blue captures the main focus. Flanking each side of the sofa, venerable tufted-back chairs are given a contemporary lift with yellow fabric and black frames.

    Photography: Bruce Buck
    Produced by Bonnie Maharam

    Interior Design: Eileen Kathryn Boyd, Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors, 251 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743, and 225 E. 76th St., Suite 5C, New York, NY 10021; 631/427-6400,

  • Bruce Buck

    To blur the edges of grids on the paneling and windows, elegant drapery panels in a gray-and-white burnout floral pattern cascade from moldings to the floor. A width of yellow grosgrain ribbon trimming the edges of each panel unites the other jolts of yellow. The ribbon is pierced with silver nail heads that give the draperies a controlled bit of metallic shine.

  • Bruce Buck

    To make the room a multi-task area, a glass-and-stainless-steel desk reads modern, while a vintage French cane-backed chair contributes soul and a suggestion of history. A pair of matching faux-crocodile upholstered ottomans provide additional seating. A chaise in a natural tone is enlivened by a sunny piece of artwork painted by Eileen herself as a solution when she couldn’t find another piece that was the right scale and color for the wall.

    Sofa ("Park Avenue,’’ custom, designed by Eileen Kathryn Boyd); chair ("Park Avenue Occasional,’’ custom, designed by Eileen Kathryn Boyd); ottomans ("Alice,’’custom, designed by Eileen Kathryn Boyd): Duralee Fine Furniture, 866/565-7731,, trade only.
    Sofa fabric ("Solid’’/Smoke #31455-352);  chair fabric ("Solid’’/Sun Ray #31376-483); ottoman fabric ("Vinyl’’/White #90764-18); blue pillow ("Solid’’/Baby Blue #31904-277); yellow pillow ("Solid’’/Sun Ray #31376-483, with "Solid’’/Smoke, linen, #31455-352); white geometric linen pillow ("Novelty Linen’’ #41938-118); drapery panels and pillow fabric ("Foliage’’/Pewter #20868-296); striped bolster; gray pillow (custom): Duralee Fabrics, 800/275-3872,, trade only.
    Drapery ribbon trim; drapery hardware: M&J Trimming, 800/965-8746,
    Chaise (custom); glass/chrome desk; chair (vintage); artwork and accessories; carpet (taupe sisal): Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors, 631/427-6400.
    Cube tables: Kolkka Furniture, 650/365-0303.
    Custom top on cube tables: Silestone by Cosentino USA, 800/291-1311,
    Lantern: Smith & Hawken, 800/981-9888,
    Twig table: Michael Aram, 866/792-2726,
    Blue lamp: Arteriors Home, 877/488-8866,, trade only.
    Chandelier; urn (vintage); chaise fabric; yellow painting (Printemps, by Eileen Kathryn Boyd): designer’s collection.
    Floor lamp: Origina, 416/752-6800 and 214/655-6141,
    Floor lamp: IKEA, 800/434-4532,
    Ceiling vinyl wall covering ("Cirque du Cirque Cycle’’ #G5324823): Wolf Gordon, 800/347-0550,
    Wall paint ("Himalayan Trek’’ #1542): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,

  • Bruce Buck

    Once they have launched their careers, many creative types stretch far beyond what they learned in school. But for Long Island-based Eileen Boyd, the fundamental principles she absorbed as a student at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan help her create a look that is striking and uniquely her own. "I like the recipes in geometry, which take me back to my college roots, where there are always procedures," says Eileen. "The basics always work for me."

  • James Carrière

    San Francisco Showhouse
    San Francisco, California

    Wild horses wouldn’t have dragged designer Geoff De Sousa and his assistant, Sarah Puls, from this challenging project, but the pair did draw inspiration from the steeds. The design duo transformed the ballroom of a grand 1890s San Francisco manse into an elegant living room for a modern-day family. Using a mix of opulent textiles, antiques, contemporary furnishings, and an eye-catching reverse-glass painting of galloping horses, they created a luxurious space that’s comfortable for both everyday living and formal entertaining.

    The handsome palette features an unusual combination of navy blue and rust, selected to give warmth to the north-facing room. The dark scheme mellows the architecture of what Geoff says was formerly "one hard, white box." Paper-backed silk fabric and heavy cornices applied to the walls also soften the room, as does crown molding painted a coordinating shade of navy that marries the walls to the ceiling.

    Because the onetime ballroom has generous square footage, the designers broke the space into two intimate areas by placing a modern hammered metal library table in the middle to set parameters. At one end of the room, the color scheme in a casual setting features a blue sofa, mismatched leather chairs, and a low bench where stacks of books reside. Matching modern chandeliers light and unite each area.

    Photography: James Carrière
    Produced by Heather Lobdell

    Interior Design: Geoffrey De Sousa and Sarah Puls, De Sousa Hughes, 2 Henry Adams St., Suite 220, San Francisco, CA 94103; 415/626-6883,

  • James Carrière

    At the opposite end of the room, three sets of French doors soaring close to ceiling height provide the perfect showcase for elaborate window dressings—pinch-pleated panels of wool appliquéd in velvet and blanket-stitched in cream—that hang from cornices designed to mimic original woodwork.

    Against the wall of French doors, a sofa in rust-colored mohair anchors a formal grouping that includes symmetrical pairs of bentwood chairs, tufted black-vinyl chairs, faux-bamboo side tables, and table lamps with leather-wrapped bases.

  • James Carrière

    To make the preexisting tall mirrors on the French-door wall look aged, a decorative artist gave them a gold-bronze rub.

    "The best way to build a room with personality is by mixing old with new to achieve a ‘collected over time’ appearance," says Geoff.  "Many of the pieces I use in my rooms are not old, but they have mystery and a story to them."

    Blue sofa ("Frank #1’’): Mattaliano through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883,
    Sofa fabric (Mohair/Charcoal #3762/18): Myung Jin Textiles through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Cocktail table in front of blue sofa ("Farallon,’’ cast bronze with leather top): Tuell & Reynolds, 707/669-0556, Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Chandeliers ("Lumière’’); painting (Seven Horses, by Jean de Merry); leather wing chair ("Aland’’); leather (#9 with light distressing): Jean de Merry, 310/289-0991,, trade only. Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Black chair: discontinued.
    Chest behind wing chair ("French Deco Moderne Walnut Chest’’ sold as pair): Robollo Home, 415/575-1776,
    Painting above bookcase (Golden Head, by Nathan Oliveira): John Berggruen Gallery, 415/781-4629,
    Floor lamp ("Leather Wrapped Tripod Floor Lamp’’ by Adnet, France, c.1950s): Monument, 415/312-4065.
    Floor lamp (Italian, brass-and-glass): Ed Hardy San Francisco, 415/626-6300,, trade only.
    Bookcase (antique, "French Double Arch Steel’’): De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Bench (weathered): Coup D’Etat, 415/241-9300.
    Library table: Odegard Inc., 800/670-8836,, trade only.
    Bronze heads (by Nathan Oliveira): John Berggruen Gallery, 415/781-4629.
    Antique rug: Peter Pap Oriental Rugs, 415/956-3300,
    Rust-colored sofa ("Christoph’’ ); chairs flanking sofa ("Frank #4 Rockefeller’’): Mattaliano through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883,
    Sofa fabric ("Town Nubuck’’/Roan): Dualoy Leather, 212/736-3360, Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Rust-and-blue pillow (Italian, 1960s linen velvet): Epoca, 415/864-6895.
    Blue-and-charcoal pillow (wool sateen and mohair velvet appliqué/Glacier): Holland & Sherry, 212/355-6241. Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Custom embroidered fabric panels ("Trellis’’ in Copper, Dijon, and Gray, chain stitch embroidery): Judy Ross Textiles, 212/842-1705,
    Welt ("Town Nubuck Suede’’/Roan): Dualoy Leather, 212/736-3360, and panels available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Table ("Conrad’’ in Maccassar Ebony): Mattaliano through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883,
    Crystal box ("Wavelet’’): Baker, 800/592-2537.
    Black vase: designer’s collection.
    Side tables flanking sofa: Epoca, 415/864-6895.
    Black table lamps (antique, Danish wallpaper roller table lamps): Coup D’Etat, 415/241-9300.
    Barrel chairs (antique): Coup D’Etat, 415/241-9300.
    Table between barrel chairs ("Ramille Occasional’’): Mattaliano through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Chandelier ("Lumière’’): Jean De Merry, 310/289-0991,, trade only. Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Sheers ("Istra’’/Cashew #7305/06): Romo Fabrics, 800/338-2783, Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Drapery panels ("Sateen Linen’’/Caramel #SQ11114); appliqué fabric ("Concierto Cotton Velvet’’/Camel #DE10377): Holland & Sherry, 212/355-6241. Available through De Sousa Hughes, 415/626-6883.
    Drapery fabrication: Horner & Co., 415/564-2385.
    Fabric on walls ("Titan Silk’’/Navy #139): Bart Halpern Textile Collection, 212/414-2727,, trade only. Available through De Sousa Hughes, 416/626-6883.
    Floral arrangements: Joseph Andrade Floral, 415/863-8000,
    Mirror: Paige Glass Co., 415/621-5266.
    Pedestal and urn: M B Jessee Painting & Decorating, 510/655-7000.

  • James Carrière

    Designer Geoff De Sousa approaches rooms as if they were sculpture gardens, featuring interesting shapes that work with the other players to create a dramatic look. "I prefer furnishings and accessories that are sculptural—with their own personalities so they can stand on their own."

  • Bruce Buck

    Mansions and Millionaires
    Lloyd Neck, Long Island

    To interior designers, an empty room is a laboratory for testing great design. For Keith Baltimore, interesting furniture ensembles and a modern approach solved the dilemma posed by the cavernous space of a traditional living room with classic architecture. "Scale is important in every room but must be played with especially carefully in a large space," says Keith. "There were tricks I used in this space to make a statement about geometry and scale."

    To ensure the picturesque views through the windows wouldn’t be obstructed, Keith picked tailored furniture with low backs for the large space. Three matching 90-inch-long sofas upholstered in natural-colored linen and piped in contrasting chocolate brown play off the dramatic red sateen accent at the bottom of the drapery panels.

    Photography: Bruce Buck
    Produced by Bonnie Maharam

    Interior Design: Keith Baltimore, The Baltimore Design Group,  35 Main St., Port Washington, NY 11050; 516/944-2400; fax, 516/944-3009, E-mail:

  • Bruce Buck

    Furniture ensembles similar in scale and style but incorporating different shapes are grouped at either end of the room: A pair of chaise longues in linen fabric that matches the sofa rest on either side of a long marble-topped coffee table. Both furniture arrangements are defined by textural sisal rugs, one positioned on the diagonal.

  • Bruce Buck

    Beyond the exaggerated drapery hems, injections of red pop up throughout the room, tying elements together. Just one example is atop the intricately molded fireplace mantel, where a row of silver mercury glass vases containing small bunches of red roses are simple in concept but deep in graphic impact.

    "The repeated red forms give the idea of rhythm and motion," explains Keith. "Especially with a large room, you want people to get constant reminders of what the entire space is about all the way through."

  • Bruce Buck

    Near the door frame, two side chairs with delicate carving on their backs flank a Chinese-inspired stainless console table base where a painted black wood box rests.

    Furniture and accessories (unless detailed below): The Baltimore Design Group, 516/944-2400.
    Beige drapery fabric: Robert Allen, 800/333-3777,, trade only.
    Red drapery fabric: Beacon Hill, 800/333-3777,, trade only.
    Sectional sofa; sofa fabric; coffee table; black end table; leather ottoman; chaise; chaise fabric; marble-topped coffee table: Swaim, 336/885-6227,
    Floor lamps: Visual Comfort & Co., 713/686-5999,, trade only.
    Area rugs: Merida Meridian Inc., 800/345-2200.
    Paint ("Decorator White’’): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,

  • Bruce Buck

    There are plenty of opportunities for bold surprises in a room, but designer Keith Baltimore prefers to create interest with a twist on subtle, classic details. "With the large scale of this room, oversized furnishings to fill the space would have been expected," says Keith. "Instead, I played with the lines of the fabric and kept the furniture simple so the fabric could get the attention."