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Design Osmosis

Charlotte Moss designs a fashion-forward home that puts family first

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer
  • Werner Straube

    Charlotte Moss and Jennifer Marsico may not come from the same blood line, but they’re still family. Having decorated multiple homes for Jennifer’s parents and acted as her employer and mentor, Moss holds a special place in Jennifer’s heart.

    “When I moved to New York City after college, I was young and had so much to learn. Charlotte was a mother figure to me,” Jennifer says.

    Now living in Denver to be near her parents, Jennifer, the mother of three daughters, knew exactly who to call to redecorate her family home. She does, after all, have design elite on speed dial.

    And while she wasn’t necessarily looking for full-on traditional, it was the obvious place to start. “Jennifer was raised in a traditional environment,” Moss says. “It apparently seeped in by -osmosis, but she’s now developed her own style—it’s more -fashion-forward. I suppose you’d call it the new traditional. It’s the best of the past and the best of today.”

  • Werner Straube

    The classically inspired living room is proof that traditional can, indeed, have gusto. A playful mix of blue-and-white patterns—some flirtatious, others bodacious—graces windows and a trio of upholstered pieces. Emboldened against a whitewashed ceiling and simple sisal rug, the palette feels classic yet kinetic.

  • Werner Straube

    On the room’s periphery, an ebonized console and an enigmatic photo by acclaimed fashion photographer Rodney Smith inject dollops of visual magnetism, offsetting the otherwise ethereal palette. The art is one of a handful of recognizable pieces in a growing collection of fashion photography—a passion Jennifer credits to both her father and Moss.

    “When I worked with Charlotte, we traveled extensively,” Jennifer says. “Those trips were so memorable. We went to galleries and antiques markets, and I’d watch Charlotte dig until she found what she was looking for. She taught me to find something I love and to collect it.”

  • Werner Straube

    A related but strikingly different collection adorns the walls of the adjoining den. Here, colorful Hermès scarves are framed and hung as art, reinforcing a jewel-tone scheme that includes garnet and emerald green.

    Unexpected pairings offer a jolt to the traditional elements here. A Louis XVI-style chaise in a delicate blue-and-white fabric provides respite between a high-back amethyst-sheathed sofa and draperies in an audacious pattern with a nod to Jennifer’s traditional roots. A sassy bamboo ottoman becomes a jaw-dropper when clad in violet leather. It’s a room that caters equally to -myriad moods—from romantic and candlelit to bright and airy.

  • Werner Straube

    The same could be said for the neutral-and-white kitchen and breakfast area. Caramel-hue grass-cloth walls, overscale lanterns, and a mix of upholstered pieces—from a striped banquette to creamy bar stools—unify to create a space that feels low-key and luxurious at the same time. Upholstery looks like leather, but it’s actually family-friendly woven polyamide. Altogether, the room is as fitting for a peanut -butter-and-jelly sandwich as a gourmet meal served on Jennifer’s collection of Aptware.

  • Werner Straube

    Perhaps the most unmistakable nod to Jennifer’s fashion-forward version of traditional is the dining room—a space that honors the interiors of her childhood while simultaneously turning them on their ear.

    Rooted in tradition, elements are lovingly yet steadfastly thrust into modern day. An immediate conversation starter, dining chairs are painted glossy white and covered with lipstick-pink upholstery. Wing chairs in an amped-up pink-and-orange flame-stitch fabric unapologetically temper the classically pretty wallpaper. One of Jennifer’s favorite things—a watercolor of the Botanical Garden of Brussels—hangs above a mirrored console.

    “Dining rooms do not always have to be peaceful and serene,” Moss says. “A little drama and playfulness go a long way to creating a room you look forward to entertaining in.”

  • Werner Straube

    Jennifer’s office—a treasure trove of refined pieces with a fresh edge—cheerfully proves Moss’ theory. A silk Fortuny chandelier, playful blue-and-white trellis wallpaper, and a custom-made desk with a lustrous blue leather top create an elegant amalgam. A tufted slipper chair in a sophisticated pink-on-pink fabric infuses a glimmer of girly into the other-wise cool palette.

    “This is one of my favorite spaces in the house,” Jennifer says. “I can escape here. It feels intimate and homey.”

  • Werner Straube

    The ultimate retreat, however, may be the unabashedly feminine master bedroom. The slightest flicker of pink—on silk Roman shades and bed linens—offers warmth to a silvery-gray chinoiserie used on walls and as draperies. Black bedside tables give weight to a mirrored bed with a gray suede headboard.

    “Early in my career, I remember designer Keith Irvine saying every room needs a bit of black,” Moss says. “It’s true. Here, it adds a punch and a necessary bit of contrast. It’s a dose of traditional next to that very glamorous bed.”

  • Werner Straube

    Yin to the bedroom’s yang, the powerfully pretty master bath makes pink the hero, balanced by hints of gray. A black-and-white photograph by Lillian Bassman pairs with a mirrored chest and skirted slipper chair to create a glamorous, Bette Davis-worthy dressing area.

  • Werner Straube

    Shades of pink carry into Jennifer’s eldest daughter’s room, where the hue is amplified and paired with orange. Overtly girly, the pattern-on-pattern canopied bed is tamed by symmetry—flanked by quatrefoil mirrors and modish nightstands. A writing desk, brightly upholstered chair, and graceful balloon shades create a corner as curated for homework as daydreaming.

    “The girls all picked their color palettes,” Moss says. “They wanted to be a part of the process, and they should be. It’s a happy space. The whole house is. It just feels good to be here.”

  • The Sidecar, price available upon request from Moore & Giles [1-800-737-0169]

    This beautifully crafted bar cart, The Sidecar by Moore and Giles, is a great way to store liquor, glassware, bar tools, and anything else needed to complete your own miniature bar. The cart, made of Virginia black walnut, birch, leather, aluminum, and brass, is wheeled to make sure the party can travel with you. Perfect for drink-lovers without the space for a full bar.