On Wednesday evening, October 23, the seventh-annual Hearst Designer Visions Showcase held its official grand opening event at Chelsea's Walker Tower. This year’s designers—Jamie Drake, Alessandra Branca and Carlos Aparicio—each represented a Hearst Design Group magazine: House Beautiful, Elle Décor and Veranda, respectively.
Top row from left: editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, Michael Boodro with Branca; Aparicio with editor-in-chief of Veranda, Clinton Smith. Bottom row from left: Drake with Hearst Design Group publishing director, Kate Kelly-Smith and editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, Newell Turner at the opening night party.
The three designers were asked to imagine muses for their designs, with the goal being that the finished apartments feel very personal, as if real people actually live there.
Below is a description of each space, provided by Hearst:
Guest bedroom by Branca
Library by Branca
Master bedroom by Branca
Branca’s apartment for Designer Visions reinvents the idea of downtown living and incorporates a relaxed, chic uptown vibe, embodying the owners’ Upper East Side roots. The home contains an elegant blend of family heirlooms with pieces from the owners’ favorite shops including Gerald Bland, Maison Gerard and David Duncan Antiques. Branca’s design seamlessly integrates her signature red palette with a unique mix of cultures, styles, and time periods—from a painted console from Alpha Workshops, Louis XVI fauteuil in Elizabeth Chintz from her collection with Schumacher, to an African-style lacquered stool and an empire opaline gilt bronze lamp, all against the breathtaking backdrop of floor to ceiling views of Manhattan and the Hudson river. The master bedroom suite is an upholstered oasis of acid green Anna Damask, reminiscent of airy, springtime splendor. An exotic Michael Taylor lacquered four-poster bed is combined with Fromental framed painted Chinese panels, which plays off the Jansen sofa and club chairs, upholstered in taupe wool and luxurious velvet.
Daughter's bedroom and dining room by Drake
Foyer and media room by Drake
Drake imagined a time period that was exuberant, forward thinking, and luxurious. He believes Josephine Baker embodied this era, breaking barriers in a provocative and glitzy fashion. Drake envisioned his muse as Josephine’s granddaughter, to convey her as a “woman of today” in the same way Walker Tower exhibits original Art Deco elements within the modern New York skyline. The jewel tones, luxury, glamour, and vibrancy of the apartment reference the historical period, but also the colorful nature of Josephine’s knack for pushing the boundaries. Deep teal doors painted with sponsor Benjamin Moore’s semi-gloss Aura carry throughout the apartment and connect colors within the rooms. The ceiling and trim throughout the apartment are white with just a hint of coral, called Opal, which creates a warm and soothing luminance against the traditional baseboards and ceiling elements. The furniture in the apartment is a combination of new and invigorating pieces, seen in the bronze, lacquered wood and metal striations of The Lipstick Console from Hudson Furniture, with timeless and elegant antiques, like the original Art Deco dining chairs from Hutton Home, upholstered in a Pierre Frey fabric. The residence also features unique, vintage family heirlooms passed down from Josephine to her granddaughter.
Dining room by Aparicio
Guest bedroom by Aparicio
Living room by Aparicio
Intrigued with the opportunity to explore the theme of collecting, curating, and eventually living with a private collection, Aparicio and his team synthesized the character of the “gentleman collector and dealer” as the muse for his Designer Visions apartment. To establish an elegant and harmonious backdrop for the collection, Aparicio specified the same understated finishes throughout the interiors. Taking a cue from the Old Master technique of painting a grisaille before applying the glazes of color that would eventually complete an artwork, luminous grays were applied to all painted surfaces, including walls, trim and ceilings. Benjamin Moore’s “Perspective CSP-5” was the shade used for most of the interiors, specified with the company’s “Aura” base to achieve a maintainable matte finish throughout. Within the serene and light-filled environment, the collection itself is arranged in groupings dictated by function and aesthetics, and also by a thread of playful commentary. Aparicio integrates a diverse selection of pieces throughout the apartment, including a 1950s industrial iron bed by Mathieu Mategot, the iconic bateau daybed in parchment by André Arbus, and a one-off Arts and Crafts masterpiece of a chandelier in hammered brass and crystal by Carl Westma—three of the stars in the owner’s collection.
In addition to the decor, the apartments also feature the latest collections from two iconic fashion brands: Roberto Cavalli and Brunello Cucinelli. The closets in the master bedrooms are so spacious that Hearst approached the fashion brands to take over the spaces and use them to showcase their latest looks.
Top row from left: Elle Decor and House Beautiful closets. Bottom: Veranda closest.
Cavalli styled the ELLE DECOR closet and Cucinelli styled the closets in the House Beautiful and VERANDA apartments.
The Designer Visions residences will host a series of exclusive events through the end of the year and each of the apartments will be featured editorially in the magazines in fall or winter issues.
Previous Designer Visions designers have included David Rockwell, Steven Gambrel, Matthew Patrick Smyth, John Saladino, Celerie Kemble, Thom Filicia, Richard Mishaan, Charlotte Moss, Antony Todd, Heather Moore for Jed Johnson Associates, and Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller for Carrier and Company Interiors Ltd., among others.
Photo Credits: Reprinted by permission from ELLE DECOR, copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Douglas Friedman, photographer; Reprinted by permission from House Beautiful, copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Jonny Valiant, photographer; Reprinted by permission from VERANDA, copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Max Kim-Bee, photographer.