While one-of-a-kind items are fabulous, there’s something to be said for timeless touches as well. We asked three designers to share their favorite pieces that work in any setting.
“There’s so much that artist and designer Mattia Bonetti makes that I love, but his Poppy chairs are a particular favorite. I’ve used eight of them around a formal dining table or used them as accent pieces in a hallway or transitional space. You can do them in a custom fabric, but they often come in a beautiful woven horsehair, which is a textile you don’t see used very often. They’re really special and make a big impact—I think they strike the perfect balance between function and form. They’re so unique and sculptural in their design, but they’re also one of the most comfortable dining chairs I’ve ever sat in.” —Nicole Fuller, New York, Los Angeles & London
Can’t Argue With a Classic
“The Saarinen table seems to find its way into a lot of my projects. I recently used it in an office, where it acts almost as a conference table. Most frequently, I’ve used it as a dining table in both elliptical and round shapes. I’ve changed out the top for clients depending on their needs. For example, one family didn’t want a marble top because they had kids and they knew there was a potential that it would stain, so I had it done in a laminate. Clients tend to like it because you can have a big dining table but with fewer legs; the elliptical shape is great for high-traffic areas where a rectangle would make a space feel tight. It’s timeless, intrinsically good-looking—and even clients who aren’t design buffs recognize it as a notable piece.” —Jean Liu, Dallas
The Scenic Route
“For me, wallpaper murals are a way to instantly bring life to a room. You can do that with fabric, of course, but a decorative mural has more impact—it has a way of transporting you to another place. In one project where the dining room was in the middle of the house, completely windowless and dark, we turned to a Gracie mural to transform the space. Rooms without great architecture need a wow factor, and I find that the bigger and less architecturally interesting a space is, the bolder you can go with something like a mural. Gracie and de Gournay are my go-to manufacturers, but it can take a trusting client to invest in them, as they aren’t inexpensive. I love that you can customize them, because they’re painted by hand and made to order. I’m working on one for my own home that is based on a beach trip my family took, and I’ve had my kids painted into it. That’s the magic of it: A decorative mural can be whatever you dream up.” —Andrew Howard, Jacksonville, Florida
Homepage image: A room by Andrew Howard features dazzling hand-painted chinoiserie. | Noe DeWitt