Westchester House

Westchester House

The clients, empty nesters with a house in Westchester, New York are passionate and discerning art collectors. Modest in size, superlative in quality, their collection includes works by Cy Twombly, Joan Miro, Jim Dine, Edvard Munch, Jean Dubuffet, Richard Serra, Robert Motherwell, Henri Matisse, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg and Frank Stella.

We sought to create a setting for these pieces that would display them prominently yet without ostentation. It was the clients’ desire truly to live with art, meshing seamlessly the works on the walls with fine pieces of twentieth century furniture, to live in the comfort of understated style, design originality and quality.

As many of the art works are from the mid- to late twentieth century, we countered this emphasis with furniture of the earlier to mid- part of the century, designed by Mies van der Rohe, Pierre Chareau, Carlo Scarpa, and in the manner of Jean-Michel Frank, with accents by Hans Wegner and Eero Saarinen. As always, we did not limit the furniture repertoire to Modernist icons, but introduced earlier finds–even of the Colonial era– of comparable simplicity, along with his signature emphasis on wonderfully comfortable custom upholstery and rugs. Altogether, this residence–calm, considered, above all comfortable–flashes with excitement from the seminal works of art which punctuate its rooms.

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The living room is a study in soft greys and mellow burgundies, with sofas by Jonas Upholstery. The stool is 19th century, made from whale vertebrae, from Amy Perlin; the tree-trunk table is of petrified wood.

1920’s stools by the legendary designer Pierre Chareau vie for attention with a work on paper by another legend, American artist Cy Twombly in the living room.

Glenn must have made a thousand decisions. We don’t regret any. We worked together in a collaborative way. He made suggestions and we discussed them. Nothing was forced. The final result was a warm comfortable modern interior, esthetically pleasing, simple not cluttered. The ultimate compliment came from many visitors, including art patrons on a house tour, who said “I would love to live in this house.”

– Client

The cerused oak dining table and chairs in the manner of Jean-Michel Frank represent Frank’s gift to the twentieth century: elegantly plain furniture that bears the discrete neo-Baroque curve. Above hangs a faceted pendant lamp by Pierre Chareau. The startling scarlet of the walls is Donald Kaufman custom paint, its color inspired by Jim Dine’s painting, “Bathrobe” which hangs against it.

A long Colonial bench with original paint, almost modern in it simplicity, is surmounted by a series of eight self-portraits by Jim Dine.

The cerused oak dining table and chairs in the manner of Jean-Michel Frank represent Frank’s gift to the twentieth century: elegantly plain furniture that bears the discrete neo-Baroque curve. Above hangs a faceted pendant lamp by Pierre Chareau. The startling scarlet of the walls is Donald Kaufman custom paint, its color inspired by Jim Dine’s painting, “Bathrobe” which hangs against it.

A nineteenth-century chair, modern in its angles, is accompanied by an etching of Edvard Munch.

Quality and patina attend this smallest room: the countertop is of limestone, supported by legs of polished nickel, with vintage style faucet in the same finish. The antique round mirror is from J. Garvin Mecking, the vintage style wall sconce, from Urban Archaeology.

In a corner of the family room, we created a lively dialogue between pieces of 1950s furniture–including Eero Saarinen’s famous ‘Womb’ chair and ottoman, a crisp white “Akari” floor lamp designed by Isamu Noguchi, later works of contemporary fine art, and a suite of boldly calligraphic works on paper by Richard Serra. The platform bench is by George Nelson.

The rustic patina of the Kitchen is in sharp contrast to the elegance of the other rooms. An antique oak farm table is surrounded by antique 17th century rush-bottomed chairs, all lit by a single pendant from Urban Archaeology. The sheer simplicity of the farm furniture presages that of the 20th century pieces used elsewhere in the house.

Soft neutrals suggest repose and subdued luxury. Etchings by Henri Matisse set the mood, expressed further by the pale, rosy beiges of the fireplace surround, bedclothes and leather upholstery of the Mattaliano side chairs and sleek X-framed stools, and the curtains framing the French doors.

Above the upholstered headboard, two vibrant prints by Joan Miro, and at the bedside, a classic Louis Poulsen lamp.