This Family Home in Tribeca Is Not Afraid to Be Playful

Bridget Cogley

When designer Olivia Stutz was tasked with transforming a condo in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood into an art-driven, colorful home for Elle Langston, the founder of local nail salon Paintbox, and her family, she was pleased her clients were so trusting of her vision to make the space colorful, creative, and just a bit different.

Olivia, who moved to the city three years ago from San Francisco to launch her studio, designed the three-bedroom apartment using textures and colors in unexpected ways, with pops of structural and metallic pieces to reflect Elle's passion for putting two unexpected colors together, something she harnesses at her nail studios in SoHo and on the Upper East Side.

The living room—a big space with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows—features a colorful rug custom made by New York artist Alex Proba. Alex worked with Olivia to develop the home’s concept.
The three white Stairway bookshelves are stacked together and filled with accessories from CB2, Urban Outfitters, and Zara Home. Eye spy: a copper bowl by Brooklyn studio Fort Standard, JWDA table lamps by Danish studio Menu, and a burnt orange lamp by Entler.

“Styling was a big part of [the project],” Olivia says. “It's not just that you place furniture, but you get the flowers, even the accessories, and you turn the table a little bit.” Olivia worked around Elle and her husband's existing furniture, including several dark velvet sofas, a Gubi dining set, and a pair of Milo Baughman chairs, when styling the home. “It's all about your eyes, about how you're seeing these things, and it truly matters,” Olivia adds.

Sculptural and metallic pieces enhance the room, including a tubular steel chair by local design studio Jumbo, a matching chrome piece, a geometric floor lamp, and a white structure in between the couches. “Everything was used as an art piece. I love putting my interior design skills to use with an art focus,” Olivia says.
“I took inspiration directly from Ettore Sottsass and the 1980s Memphis movement,” Olivia says, which clearly lights up our hearts. She found some of the wow pieces, like Faye Toogood's pink Roly Poly chair and the Elemental glass coffee table, at a sample sale in the city.

The lounge off the living room was designed like a palette refresher, with neutral tones for a serene feeling with its white sofa, white rug, and a driftwood photograph by Keith Ramsdell. The master bedroom, too, was designed as a break from the rest of the home’s boldness with its white and cream linens that soften the gray upholstered feature wall.

Palette refresher doesn't mean boring. No matter the room, like the lounge here, there's still an element of playfulness.
The black side tables have oak drawers and tie in with the hardwood floors, with custom white lamps on top by local ceramist Kassandra Thatcher.
Texture, pattern, and color strike at every moment. We love the marble meets sheepskin meets angular edges.

More metallic and geometric pieces were used around the apartment, even in the kids' playroom, which doubles as a guest room, to tie everything together. “I wanted to use this project as a way of highlighting all of the amazing artisans we used,” Olivia says.

Here in the playroom/guest room is a golden Half Moon Mirror by Ben and Aja Blanc that has both whimsy and chic.
The dining area's round, black marble dining table and green Beetle dining chairs are both by Danish brand Gubi, and were already owned by Elle and her husband.

💡 Do It Yourself

Use rugs as art to add color. Oftentimes homes have too much wall space or too many windows, making it hard to decorate with art. Instead of trying to figure out which art to buy and how to place it, rugs can be a great alternative for adding color and personality. Olivia believes rugs can make a powerful impact, and should always be a priority.

Metallic surfaces enliven rooms. Objects with silver, gold, and bronze finishes catch the light and your eye. They also pop against wood and painted surfaces, and add a contemporary touch without much effort. Try placing small metallic objects like vases and bowls alongside other more natural accent pieces, including books.

Buy two of the same couch, instead of a sectional, for flexibility. Instead of going all out for one big sectional, consider buying two of the same couch for the same effect. This option can fit the same number of people, if not more, and works great if you tend to move around easily and never know which L shape will suit you long-term.

Opt for structural accents. Floor lamps with geometric lights and other tall accent pieces, including sculptures, are a great way to add height and architectural detail to your home. These details can be in simple colors, such as black and white, because their shape alone will be provocative enough.

Combine different textures and surfaces for contrast. Wool blankets look great against velvet cushions, just as matte surfaces pop against cool marble and metal tops. Pair contrasting surfaces together in rooms, instead of sticking to everything being the same.

🛍 Shop It Out

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Goober Candles by Areaware, $26, comingsoonnewyork.com

Terracotta Vase by Zara Home, $50, zarahome.com

Bear Chairs by Oeuf, $226, oeufnyc.com

Construct Nightstand by Blu Dot, $799, bludot.com

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest