NYC-based fashion brand Leota creates clothes for the modern woman—flattering silhouettes, unconventional color palettes, and creative designs allow for versatile pieces any busy woman can work with from day to night. So, when it was time to transform her one-bedroom NYC apartment, founder Sarah Carson wanted to play off that fun, feminine vibe. Seeking the help of Homepolish designer Amy Courtney, the pair worked together to create a home that embodied Carson’s ethos.
“Sarah wanted an uber femme space with an edgy twist, so I was going for surreal and playful feminism—playful luxury, if you will,” explains Courtney. “I played with shapely furnishings, a wild color palette, and silky textures.”
As the Hell’s Kitchen space itself offered sweeping views of the city and plenty of natural light, it served as the perfect blank canvas for some experimentation. The white oak floors, stained a muted dark grey, and white walls gave the whole living area a gallery-style feel punctuated with pops of color, including dusty pink chairs and a wall-size piece of art that literally has every color of the rainbow.
Carson is an avid art collector, so they focused on incorporating all her favorite pieces together in a cohesive manner before planning out the rest of the home, where colors were picked that complemented the paintings.
“I never like to be too matchy-matchy,” says Courtney. “While there were hundreds of colors to choose from in the art, I wanted the place to feel serene—which is why I chose to go with the more neutral colors the art had to offer. This is where the dusty pink came in. From there I brought in more neutrals: metallics, blacks, whites, and grays.”
Bold statement pieces are abound in the living area as well—including Bartholomew, a life-sized bronze peacock who shares valuable living space with an oversized lucite hand, a bird-leg table, and a hat feather display.
“Though there are several bold pieces throughout the space, they were carefully selected because of their harmonizing features,” explains Courtney. “If you look at the furniture pieces and most of the objects on a stand-alone basis, they are neutral in terms of color palate, though they certainly have curious and striking characteristics. That neutrality helps balance the environment.”
And as for Bartholomew? “He definitely wears pink!” laughs Courtney. The work of Mexican sculptor Sergio Bustamante, Courtney admits to always being obsessed with including something of that stature in her work.
“I remember apprehensively showing this to Sarah by sending a lonely link in an email with a note trying to explain how fabulous this piece is, who the artist is, and where the peacock might live (which was simply anywhere it feels right that day),” says Courtney. “She immediately responded ‘YES,’ and that’s when I knew we were soul sisters!”
According to Courtney, that allowed the rest of the design to flow organically, using parts of Carson’s life to inform the decor of the space. Case in point? The stones placed below the marble and metal entryway table, which were actually from Carson’s hometown in Michigan.
“She stacks them as a method of meditating: I was in awe of these when I first met Sarah, and used them as an additional source of inspiration,” says Courtney. “The console is really special because I took an ‘off the shelf’ but really cool base, and had a custom top made out of a special Italian stone, Calacatta Viola.”
As Carson doesn’t have a formal dining room, Courtney knew that creating a little nook in the colorful living room would be the ideal solution. Serving as both a breakfast area and dinner table, the interesting shape pays homage to Carson’s love for soft stones, while the statement light adds a special touch. “I selected the shape of the table because of our artsy, feminine theme,” says Courtney.
As for the light? “I saw it, and thought ‘That’s the epitome of uber femme with an edge.’ The slinky chains are very feminine feeling, but they’re also a little risqué–and that’s something we wanted, too.”
The bedroom takes on a decidedly more neutral edge, as it’s the space Carson works and dreams in—so it had to be more of a sanctuary. “A lot of the colors in the bedroom came from the soft artwork over the bed,” explains Courtney. “Opposite to the living room where I didn’t pull a lot from the art, I chose to in this space—pulling the navy blue, rust, pink, and cream to highlight the subtle accents in the art.”
The side tables and desk, while simple, play with a soft dimpled look that still lends interest to the space.
A particularly fun story? The headboard, which feautres soft pink tones similar to the plush chairs in the living area. “When I met Sarah, she had just purchased a white metal bed frame without a headboard—not so femme,” says Courtney. “Since we had the frame, I thought, ‘Let’s have a headboard made and clamp it to the bed. Sarah, the best client in the world who loves all of my crazy ideas, agreed. We chose from a number of different blush mohairs, and had a simple headboard made to work with the art above.”
The overall look is therefore super fun, but still refined in a way that elevates the space. “My personal style is pretty eclectic—I love interesting pieces and I think everything should have a story,” says Courtney. “At the same time, I balance the funky pieces by making sure they are refined and timeless.”
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