Through the years with the talented and versatile Eric Cohler
Long a favorite designer of Traditional Home readers, Eric Cohler is known for a highly intuitive approach that is both cerebral and sensuous. His mix of classical and contemporary styles—enhanced by jolts of unexpected color and pattern—results in interiors that are elegant, warmly welcoming and the epitome of comfort. Apparent in Cohler’s work is a keen sense of history; he holds a Masters Degree in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University School of Architecture and a certificate in design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Evidence of his versatile, 360-degree approach to creating beautiful spaces include his lighting designs for Visual Comfort and his fabric collection for Lee Jofa. His work has appeared in our pages many times, always to the delight of our readers.
For a Holiday House Showhouse in New York, Cohler—working with his sister, Jennifer Mason—created this glamorous dining room with Mother’s Day in mind. Sleek, high-gloss indigo paint provides a dramatic backdrop to timeless architecture, emphasizing the room’s paneling and moldings.
Chic gray-and-white upholstery on silver dining chairs and eye-catching light fixtures dramatically ramp up the style of the formal setting.
Inviting Book Nook
A chaise longue beckons by a bank of windows. Note the way the colors of the rug are picked up by the pillows and draperies. The flowers and bird allude to the natural world, always an important element of a Cohler design. This is in the New York City apartment Eric designed for his mother (pictured here), Jane Supino, an avid collector of folk art.
Horses and Houndstooth
This is the living room of a Manhattan apartment that Cohler designed for his neighbor, Rosanna Scotto, an anchorwoman for Fox News. The oversized houndstooth pattern on the chair glimpsed in the foreground, “Heavenly Hound,” is from Cohler’s own fabric collection for Lee Jofa. Every room needs something to make you smile, and the exaggerated shape of the club chair does just that.
To celebrate Traditional Home’s 100th issue, Eric Cohler was commissioned to design a loft in a renovated commercial building. We love the sleek, updated James Bond look he gave the space; it has a formality that works well with the living area. The Japanese lantern-style light fixture is an unexpected touch that keeps things from feeling too somber, enhanced by the white tulips. See the next image for the dining area.
Shaken, Not Stirred
Wouldn’t this be a great place to sip a martini? The dark mahogany-stained dining chairs over the blue patterned rug provide a stylish transition from the dark finish of the kitchen to the lighter tones of the living room. The marble tabletop and the Greek key pattern of the rug allude to classicism. See the next image for the living area.
In the living area, the scale of the rug’s pattern complements the shape of the original brick on the walls. The airy glass coffee table gives the small room a larger appearance, while the floral pattern on the easy chair confers a hint of old-fashioned gentility that warms the space.
Aloft in a Loft
In the aisle of the closet, a rolling library ladder makes even the highest cabinets accessible while adding unique charm.
In the master bedroom, the poodle portraits add personality. The neutral rug promotes synchronicity; the armillary is a classical touch.
The patterned but sheer window treatments in the loft’s bedroom allow plenty of light to stream in, giving the window a polished look.
Something More Than Kin
In contrast with the mod look in the previous few slides, Cohler gave a much warmer vibek to the urban apartment of his mother, Jane Supino, whose folk art finds adorn her home. New Mexican santos on the mantel create a focal point with a pair of circa-800 Anasazi pots and a 1934 Karl Knath Abstract Expressionism canvas. Cohler’s inventive recycling provided continuity from Jane's previous homes. Curtains in different colorways from different windows in her last place were taken apart and re-sewn together to drape the current apartment's extra-wide living room window.
A Drapper Dan trade-sign figure points to the bedroom’s wall-mounted collection of frakturs (illustrated documents written in calligraphy).
Gorgeous Grandfather Clock
In the dining room, a rare mid-1700s Swedish clock, another one of Jane’s fabulous finds, anchors the corner. Years after purchasing the clock as a newlywed, Jane learned that her clock was a rare Swedish Mora, with a twin in Stockholm’s Royal Palace!
Zounds: It’s Zebra
The zebra rug in the library was the springboard for the room’s ethnic vibe. A linen Roman shade trimmed in Greek-key tape is a neutral backdrop for the library’s lively patterns.
A Meeting of the Minds
It’s little wonder that Stephen Elrod enlisted Eric Cohler to help design his Manhattan duplex, meant to be a test ground for Lee Jofa’s fabrics and rugs; Elrod is vice-president and creative director of the fabric house, and Cohler has created a line of fabrics for Lee Jofa. Here pillow fabrics bring graphic interest to the library sofa’s blue-gray wool-blend tweed. The same fabric in a different colorway cushions a pair of 1960s Swedish Neoclassical chairs.
Study in Brown
Cohler designed this mahogany bureau for Lee Jofa. The English Deco sconces are from the thirties. And how cool is that James Dean portrait?
MBR with Monograms
Ikat-style silk curtains trimmed in black rickrack freshen the master bedroom. The neutral palette is soothing, with monogrammed pillows adding a personal touch.
Space Saver with Attitude
A snappy polka dot-upholstered bench behind the table is a space-saver in the kitchen of New York news anchor Rosanna Scotto.
Cohler called Scotto’s master bedroom “a complete retreat.” Walls and headboard, both covered in chocolate-brown fabric, blend together. Custom demilune bedside cabinets with shagreen inserts and mercury-glass tops add to the “ahhh” factor.
Splash of Orange
An orange swivel chair rolls up to the built-in desk and livens up the study in the Ocean’s 3 Showhouse designed by Cohler. To the right of the desk, a wall-mounted TV hangs above a leather-wrapped server. Cohler wanted to stay away from a trite beachy look in this Hamptons showhouse, instead endeavoring for a Eurocentric theme with a carefully curated collection of fine art and a library rather than a media room to give the design more depth than might be expected from a typical American beach house.
The powder room on the first floor pays homage to the sea with a blue-themed palette. The space is dramatized by a backsplash of glass tiles.
Serene Sitting Room
Cool sand colors are worn in the sitting area. A Greek-key motif jazzes up a settee covered in rich chocolate-colored fabric. The blue porcelain vase punctuates the space.
Pretty in Purple
Wide-stripe painted walls create a happy, youthful backdrop for the green and purple ottomans and fuchsia chair in a girl’s room.
Chocolate and Turquoise
The bench at the foot of the bed in the guest bedroom suggests old world elegance. It also helps to articulate the room’s brown and blue palette.
The pair of vanities in the master bedroom appear to be suspended against a wall of silver-leaf glass tiles.
Urbane, Even on the Beach
“I wanted the bedrooms to feel urbane and elegant, even though they are in a beach house,” explains Cohler. The sophisticated master bedroom is true to his vision of a space that defies being typecast due to its setting. The secretary to the left of the bed creates a stately presence.
Do Not Disturb
The master bedroom’s private patio overlooking the dunes is an idyllic vacation refuge.
Glass Dining Room
“The reason I used grids and mixed them with the plain glass was that I wanted to have a dissolve, not only between the interior and the exterior, but also between traditional and contemporary architecture,” Cohler said of his renovated contemporary home in Connecticut.
Jane Austen Would Be Right At Home
A worn Chippendale chair next to the fireplace exudes coziness. It’s the perfect buffer area between the galley-style kitchen and the living room.
Wood Counter Kitchen
The cheerful kitchen offers gorgeous views through its strategically placed windows. The custom-made mahogany island, though, is the center of attention.
Chinese Characters Give Character
In the library, Cohler added the two large windows as well as niches for a couple of African masks, books, and the television.
The master bedroom is intentionally sparse, allowing the poster bed to float in the middle. The only other furnishings are an antique English table, a Sheraton tray table, and an antique hall chair. The vase of blowsy peonies softens the look.
Lighthearted Living Room
The living room in Lou and Blair Rosenfeld’s renovated Manhattan apartment is proof that a formal setting need not be straitlaced or overly serious. Here, all it took was a lighthearted painting of dancers onstage to put the room at ease.
Dining in Style
The dining room beckons with its elegant domed ceiling, a stunning 1920s Murano glass chandelier, upholstered walls, and an interplay of traditional and contemporary artwork. The fabric on the seats — silk shot through with twine — tempers the formality of the Biedermeier chairs.
View to Kitchen
To accommodate Blair’s love of cooking, Cohler designed a chef’s kitchen complete with heavy-duty professional-grade appliances, wet bar, and double wine coolers.
There’s a Kind of a Hush
The master suite is a sanctuary where the bed is dressed in body-pampering linens. The luxurious bed is embraced by mahogany screens fitted with antique mirrors, and the wall behind the headboard is upholstered in channeled silk to muffle noise from the street below.
Reinterpreting Classic Fabric
When developing a collection of fabrics, Lee Jofa recently opted to go to the archives rather than the drawing board. The result was the aptly named Heritage Collection. Cohler was asked to reimagine one of the company’s classic fabrics and bring it to life in a room-like setting. Drawn to the design by its "painterly quality," he chose to reinterpret a fabric called "Treyes Handblock." Feeling that it would be "beautifully presented" on glazed cotton, Cohler brought it back to life as a true English country house chintz.