Designing a home for a young couple is always a challenge, as meshing the two individual design styles in a cohesive way involves a lot of back and forth. For Homepolish designer Crystal Sinclair, however, the biggest challenge had more to do with creating a space that fit the bohemian, light vibe the couple was searching for.
“Having just moved back to the States from Africa, they were yearning for something that would have some elements of Africa while keeping true to NYC,” says Sinclair. “My take on this was modern edge with lots of texture and graphic patterns. They wanted something that was fun, light (nothing serious), and easy, while being cohesive and refined.”
The result is a combination of bold patterns with more neutral tones that were still different enough to inspire. This starts with the botanical wallpaper in the entryway—a statement-making choice regardless, but even more so when you see it’s been placed on the ceiling. A neutral mirror and muted carpeting allow the ceiling to really be the star, without being too garish.
“[My clients] wanted something bold, fun, and unique—so that’s what I did, but with a bit of elegance,” says Sinclair. “I think an entry needs to have a touch of elegance, as it sets the tone for the rest of the space, and greets you with calmness after a long day. The space also needed to be functional, so we installed hooks for dog leashes, handbags, and the like. The grass rug will wear well over time, and hide the fact that it may be a bit dirty from all the traffic it sees.”
The warm, calming hues carry over into the living room, with the shaggy rugs, cozy furniture, and nature-inspired accessories (including Sinclair’s favorite Outli Floor Lamp, which has a tree-like base) adding an organic feel to the space. The floor-to-ceiling windows let in tons of natural light—and offer a stunning view of downtown Manhattan—while the blush and peach touches give the area a bit of glam.
“My first rule of decorating—do NOT block the view!” insists Sinclair. “We didn’t want to hang a ceiling fixture as we didn’t want to block the light or the view. We kept the space open, allowing the light to fill on both the upper and lower floors. The white allows the light to bounce off the walls, creating a well-lit room with no need of additional lighting in the daytime. With the water right outside the windows, it creates a soft, relaxing vibe, even with the bustling concrete city on the opposite shore.”
Other touches, like a corner dining area complete with a colorful, floral rug, and open shelving in the contemporary hardwood kitchen add to the breezy, bohemian feel the couple was going for.
“The entire space really spoke with me—it felt so organic, in such an urban setting,” says Sinclair. “I wanted to play off this tying the bold-glam with the organic, with the modern. I love the concept of layering, and this space is perfect for that. Pulling the organic elements out and pairing them with something not so expected—wood stools with a modern glass table, the brass accents in the chair, and sofa with the faux fur seating and shag rug. I wanted to keep the space relatively neutral, letting the organic elements steal the show.”
The high ceilings in the great room are highlighted with a stunning grand piano that (naturally) needed to be the star of the room, with luxe pillows in a variety of textures, tufted marigold chairs, and a peacock-printed rug adding more character to the space—quite a departure from the neutral living room.
Sinclair explains, “The whole apartment starts calm, gradually builds with bolder colors and textures, climaxes with the great room and den, and then calms again in the master bedroom. So, for the great room, the teal is the first go-to as it’s the base color in the rug. We wanted to pair the teal with a second color; something not so expected and a bit bold. Both husband and wife love the color yellow, so this is where we used it. We wanted the great room to be a playful room that would welcome guests for a night of fun, but also be a place of solitude on a rainy day with a good book. The Grasshopper lounge is one of my favorites.”
Another dramatic ceiling brings an interesting element to the den, which has a more muted color palette. “We had the grey sectional to work with, so we played with grey elements to keep on track with the rest of the home—all by using lots of texture,” says Sinclair. “We added a plush grey shag rug and grey grasscloth paper on the walls for texture. To give this room edge and bite, we opted for brass accents—the floor lamps, the coffee table, and ceiling paper.”
She adds, “To keep the room from feeling overdone, we kept it simple by playing only with the textured greys and the bolder, smoother brasses. We needed a slight dash of color, and that’s where the velvet navy chair comes in—a little pop in a sea of grey and gold.”
However, Sinclair understood that as much as those eclectic elements added so much personality to the shared living spaces, the master bedroom needed something a little more subdued. “I try to avoid themes, and more strive to bring out the clients’ personalities within a space. Teal and texture are the threads that pull the entire apartment together, so we worked with those elements,” says Sinclair. “However, we wanted this room to evoke a more calm and sexy feel, so we kept things a bit more simple and added elements that have sex appeal on their own, like the curvy glass chandelier.”
Sinclair also made use of the natural light by keeping the room bright and playing off the large windows, with a creamy, textured wallpaper, a pale teal rug, and a soft blue ceiling paper. Some cacti in baskets sourced from Africa add a natural element.
Finally, with an upcoming baby on the way, the nursery was an important space for the young couple to really play with color and texture. It fully embraces the teal color found throughout the home, and the rug, walls, and statement lighting give it a mod feel.
“I designated only two walls for the paper in the nursery, while keeping the other two white—this keeps the room from feeling too busy, giving the eye a place to rest,” says Sinclair. “The white linen drapes were used to add texture and soften the harsh lines from the window and outside. We had custom shelving built into a corner nook for toys and books, which kept the smaller room more open: An added piece of furniture for storage would have made the room feel a bit claustrophobic.”
By mixing playful elements with textured neutrals, Sinclair created a space that allowed for both cozy vibes and energy-boosting areas—allowing aspects of the couple’s personalities to shine through cohesively throughout the space.
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