Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Night and Home to Remember!

I belong to a design group that meets once a month and this week interior designer Steven Gambrel graciously opened his home to the group. Needless to say, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience his designs in person. I urge you to pull out your January/February 2009 issue of Elle Decor if you need to refresh your memory and while you are looking, let me tell you that it looks 1000 times better in real life!

The four story house that was built in 1827 is located in the West Village and Gambrel and his partner, Chris Connor, first had to restore the building to it's former glory before they could move in. For the party, they had set out pretty Asian lanterns to welcome their guests.

From the minute all of us walked in the door, we were drooling over the details! Everything is perfect and since it was recently completed, everything is perfect. There is not one thing out of place or even a corner with a nick in the paint!

I loved the striped paint in the entry that the Elle Decor article mentions was inspired by the administrative offices of the Amber Palace in Jaipur, India.

What's hard to tell from the magazine photos is the scale of the rooms. Many of them are small and cozy which is probably the size they were originally. I think a lot of other owns might have been tempted to blow out walls and open the house up front to back but the small rooms allow for a surprise around corner!

The dining room is directly to your right when you enter the house and even though it photographs more blue, it's actually more grey. Many of the rooms are also painted in custom high gloss paint which I've mentioned before is especially nice in small spaces because it reflects a lot of light.

Gambrel designed a lot of the upholstery too and there are a lot of deep built in seating that would be perfect to curl up on. During the party, it also served as a bar area.

You can get a better look at the high gloss walls in this photos and the natural floors. We noticed them while were at the party and remarked that other homeowners might have stained them dark which would created a much different look.

This little area was so interesting and sits past the dining room on the first floor. It's hard to tell but there is a jib door on the left that leads to a powder room. I really loved the red trim that runs along the cabinetry.

I only glimpsed a little of the powder rooms which all had great printed wallpapers.

Up the stairs to the left is a small little area that sits above the horse walk which is a covered walkway that leads back to the carriage house. When I looked down it as we were leaving, it reminded me of the photos of Paris buildings that I had posted earlier. The first area is the "mudroom" where they hang coats and also the washer and dryer that are hidden by doors lined with chicken wire and antiqued mirror.

At the end of the little hallway is the little bedroom with walls upholstered in ikat from Uzbekistan. Luckily, it has a window to the front street so it feels more cozy that small.

When you continue up the stairs to the second floor, there is another cozy room that serves as an office.

We were all wondering where Steven had found all the art because it all worked perfectly together and not just within each room but the entire house!

Again, there was a deep built in sofa that would be perfect to curl up and read on a rainy day!

It's interesting to see the home photographed during the day because when we were there at night, it was lit with candles that made it look dark and swanky!

The library/bar area was a little jewel box room right off the living room.

It was in the living room that runs the length of the front of the house that every designer at the party decided that they needed to go home and immediately redecorate! I won't name any names but there were a lot of big designers at the party and one whose own home you have oohed and ahhed over also mentioned wanting to redecorate while another said it made her feel like she still lives in college!

Of course we all felt a pang of jealousy but more importantly we also felt admiration because we all noticed the incredible attention to detail. It definitely inspired everyone in the room.

When I went back to look at Elle Decor, I noticed that the drapery trim was air brushed off the cover. It might have made the cover too busy or interfered with the typeface.

The pattern of the rug was custom designed by Steven after the pattern of a cable knit sweater of owned by Connor.

The landing of the third floor has a hanging light fixture that was the talk of the party. It's hard to tell but it looked to be hung from an anchor and had dolphin motifs.

The walk in closet/dressing room was also the talk of the third floor tour! There is a shelf at the top that holds new and vintage suitcases. What I loved was the gorgeous wallpaper on the ceiling!

The thread of blue that weaves through out the house continued in the master bedroom.

All through the house, the furniture placement is perfect such as this beautiful chair that sits next to the dresser and outside the bathroom. It's nice to have places to sit things where you need them.

When I saw the photo of the master bedroom in Elle Decor, I was wondering how they showered with no curtain or door so it was nice to learn that there is a bar with a curtain!

I also really loved the third floor guest room. It was neutral and soothing but not devoid of interesting details. The closet door on the right has inset panels of antique mirror which make it look like it has been there forever.

The fireplace in the corner of the room adds a cozy touch.

Every table and dresser was perfectly styled as well.

The hall bathroom was another jewel box of a room with the brighter tile and collection of etchings.

You can see in this photo that all the light fixtures are interesting and different than what you would expect.

A sofa on one side of the room allows for guests to sit and relax while keeping the cook company.

The lower level or basement luckily has windows so it's not too dark.

The kitchen had a very European feel and I could imagine it also being very cozy during the winter with the fire lit in the original cooking hearth.

I'm so glad there was a photo on Gambrel's website of the little terrace that sits outside the landing between the main floor and the basement. It was also styled with topiaries for the party and looked like a great place to eat dinner or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.

I really want to thank Steven Gambrel on behalf of everyone who attended the party for inviting us into his home. It was very generous of him to open it up to a big group and I think I speak for everyone when I say that it was truly inspiring and motivating and I know we all hope to get to his level someday!


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