Wednesday, October 23

My preview of the Designer Visions Showhouse: a gorgeous NYC apartment designed by Alessandra Branca for ELLE DECOR magazine

The seventh annual Designer Visions Showhouse 
is back and better than ever.  
This year, three designers create gorgeous apartments for Hearst--Alessandra Branca for ELLE DECOR; Jamie Drake for HOUSE BEAUTIFUL; and Carlos Aparicio for VERANDA.  
     Walk with me through Alessandra Branca's newly designed project in the Art Deco Walker Tower building in Chelsea. 
Custom Sectional--Andrea Velvet Strie. Throw Pillows, Marmo Fabric and Elizabeth Chintz Fabric, and Prestwick Wool Satin Fabric, Palermo Mohair Velvet Ninfa II and Villa Borghese I mounted prints by Lawrence Beck, from Sonnabend; Frames Coffee Table in Cast Bronze by Silas Seandel
This apartment's design illustrates Branca’s deep roots in European classicism and attention to artistry.  The gorgeous expansive home is a homage to Italy, color, Branca's gorgeous new fabric collection for Schumacher, and all the while she seamlessly integrates her designs with old world charm and new world vision. The pair of over sized framed photographs of Villa Borghese hang above the sectional sofa, transporting us to one of Italy’s great historic gardens.  The various layers of fabrics, colors and mixture of antique period furniture with new collections helps to create a  sophisticated space.  
Branca muses about an almost-empty nest couple from the Upper East Side, while designing the space as if they were to “hip it up” a bit and move downtown.  She articulates what their interior would look like in the space, using a real life couple as her muse.  

Let's walk into the living room to breathtaking, expansive Manhattan views. Even with the incredibly gorgeous vista the interiors are still awe inspiring. This thought leads me down a little pontificating path about what truly splendid interior design does for us?  It encourages us while eliciting  wonder, beauty, comfort to take away a little bit to our own abode. Even with all these crazy beautiful views, and the floor to ceiling windows everywhere, we are not distracted because the interiors equally entice, drawing us in.
I like the study because of the contrast from the large colorful living room to a moody, rich space where one could imagine snuggling up to read a book. 
Chesterfield Sofa Upholstered in Gainsborough Velvet;
Pillows: Continenti Fabric with Cambridge Cord with Tape by Samuel & Sons, Aronicum Fabric by Clarence House/Etro, and Branca Stripe Fabric 
Next, let's turn the corner to the warm kitchen and dining area, and it's understandable why she turned the apartment’s original space planning on its side.  She tucked the kitchen in the back to keep the emphasis on what Italians know instinctually–the kitchen is the most important room in the home.  The views in the cozy dining area keep it feeling larger than it truly is, and her space is versatile with convertible surround drapery to allow for a more intimate dining setting when needed.  

 Branca uses a narrow dining table, which is perfect for entertaining in the cozy space and offers a dramatic flair.  The neutral colors highlight Branca's own gorgeous Faux Bois pattern tabletop collection for Lenox, which adorns the table.  Faux Bois is seen everywhere lately in design, from wallpaper to tabletop, and it mimics our collective fascination with everything nature inspired. 
Custom White Lacquer Dining Table by Branca by Two Worlds Art; Six Napoleon III Style Dining Chairs; Custom Cone Pendant Light in Branca Marmo Marbleized Silk Charmeuse by Atelier Branca Collection 
Okay, let's head down to two of the three bedrooms.  In the Master bedroom, these gorgeous curtains show a wonderful attention to detail -- a nod to old world tailoring.

Branca Window Treatments in Anna Damask Fabric with Flange in Middleton Linen Fabric Schumacher, by Interior Dynamics; Kempner Canopy Bed in Carapace Finish with Headboard Upholstered in Sofia Diamond Fabric by Branca for Schumacher, by Michael Taylor Designs
Pair carved giltwood pineapple table lamps (Attributed to Jansen France, ca. 1940), from Atelier Branca
The navy second bedroom
is very stylish as well, and I love the color combinations of white, navy, red, hot pink

There's one more bedroom, stylishly appointed closets, and some of the freshest and sleekest bathrooms I have seen.  I encourage you to see for yourself.   Following the opening gala tonight (October 23), the Designer Visions residences will host a series of exclusive events through the end of the year. Each apartment will be featured editorially in its respective magazine in the fall or winter issues.  There will be a virtual tour and behind-the-scenes video, as well as feature interviews with the editors and designers, sponsor information, plus resources will be available online this fall at, and
To see more of Branca’s designs, stop into the 7th floor at Bergdorf Goodman where there are more beautiful collections of her wares.  Or, head on over to the Branca site to see her tabletop collection, or F. Schumacher to see her fabric collection (Ateliaer Branca Collectionrecently debuted.  For Schumacher, Branca  reinterpreted some of the company's classic historical damasks, toile and chintz fabrics while bringing her unique, fresh flair to the designs. The fabrics show her love of color, fastidious attention to detail and again, her love for travel and European classicism.   I left the showhouse inspired to creatively add Faux Bois, the color coral, and more luxury details to my home and designs! 

note:  Stop over to the IFDA NY blog on Friday for my preview of Jamie Drake's space at Designer Visions. 
 Happy Nesting 
XO Tamara