This Leading Designer's NYC Home Is a Wellspring of Inspiration

Pilar Viladas

For architect Giancarlo Valle, designing the Brooklyn loft that he shares with his wife, AD’s Style Director Jane Keltner de Valle, and their two young children was about more than reconfiguring a space to suit a growing family. For Valle—who worked for A-list architecture firms like SHoP and Snøhetta (where one of his projects was the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)—before opening his own office in 2016, “This was the project that got me into interiors,” he explains. (Those interiors include a Manhattan townhouse for Barneys fashion director Marina Larroude and a Watch Hill mansion for entrepreneur Kevin Wendle.)

He and Keltner de Valle bought the loft in 2014, and Valle left the existing floor plan—with its open living-dining-kitchen area, enclosed den, and bedrooms—intact, while adding elements that defined the spaces. A wall of windows at the far end of the living area seemed like “unfinished space,” so Valle added a low pine screen that runs under the windows and becomes a bench. The screen’s wavy edge echoes motifs found in Art Deco and African art, and is also “a design tool on the computer,” Valle adds. In a corner of the space, he added bookshelves that create a backdrop for a desk designed by the Modernist master Pierre Jeanneret.

A 1950s French concrete vase sits on the marble island in the kitchen that Valle designed, along with the wood counter stools. The suspended lamps are Dutch, from the 1960s; a carved wood child’s chair from the 1920s stands in the corner, and on the counter are a pair of alabaster vases and a framed work by Ed Ruscha.
A 1950s French concrete vase sits on the marble island in the kitchen that Valle designed, along with the wood counter stools. The suspended lamps are Dutch, from the 1960s; a carved wood child’s chair from the 1920s stands in the corner, and on the counter are a pair of alabaster vases and a framed work by Ed Ruscha.

Valle gutted the kitchen, adding floor-to-ceiling maple cabinets that were meant to feel “like a giant piece of furniture” and a white marble island; he also designed the island’s Donald Judd–influenced pine stools. For the windowless den, Valle used “very strong, David Hicks–inspired wall details,” with a color scheme of midnight blue and Dead Salmon, a Farrow & Ball paint color. In the bedrooms, he added walls of closets and drawers made of plywood.

Throughout the spaces, furniture designed by Valle—like the upholstered chair with the curved seat that was partly inspired by the Ethiopian chief’s chair that sits nearby; or the wall-mounted light fixture, a collaboration with the designers Ladies & Gentlemen Studio that projects over the maple dining table, another of Valle’s designs—mixes happily with pieces by Milo Baughman, Line Vautrin, Gio Ponti, and other renowned 20th-century designers, as well as contemporary pieces.

Valle, who is at work on a renovation of artist Marilyn Minter’s upstate New York house, a house for artist-designer Fernando Mastrangelo, and whose smile chair, which sits in his living room, is being produced by the New York gallery Les Ateliers Courbet, says that designing furniture “has been really liberating.” For him, as for architects like Ponti and Frank Lloyd Wright, “space, furniture and architecture are inseparable.”

This Leading Designer's NYC Home Is a Wellspring of Inspiration

In the living room, Valle designed a low wood screen along the window wall that turns into a window seat. The wood is stained a rich red; the fabric on the cushions is from Le Manach.
In the living room, Valle designed a low wood screen along the window wall that turns into a window seat. The wood is stained a rich red; the fabric on the cushions is from Le Manach.
Valle’s Smile chair (foreground) was inspired in part by the Ethiopian chief chair near the windows; Schumacher window panel fabric. An artwork by Jayson Musson hangs above the custom sofa, with its Holland & Sherry fabric, and a vintage coffee table by Milo Baughman; wool rug from Stark. A Ron Rezek lamp sits on the 1950s French butcher-block side table. Valle designed the folding screen and the window seat; its cushions are covered in the same Le Manach fabric that is used on the top of Valle’s velvet side table.
Valle’s Smile chair (foreground) was inspired in part by the Ethiopian chief chair near the windows; Schumacher window panel fabric. An artwork by Jayson Musson hangs above the custom sofa, with its Holland & Sherry fabric, and a vintage coffee table by Milo Baughman; wool rug from Stark. A Ron Rezek lamp sits on the 1950s French butcher-block side table. Valle designed the folding screen and the window seat; its cushions are covered in the same Le Manach fabric that is used on the top of Valle’s velvet side table.
Valle lined a corner of the living room with bookshelves. Pierre Jeanneret desk; André Sornay desk chair from Donzella, and 1970s Italian desk lamp from George Champion. The metal wastebasket is by Mathieu Matégot, and a photograph of Yves Saint Laurent’s office by Gilles Bensimon sits on a shelf behind the desk.
Valle lined a corner of the living room with bookshelves. Pierre Jeanneret desk; André Sornay desk chair from Donzella, and 1970s Italian desk lamp from George Champion. The metal wastebasket is by Mathieu Matégot, and a photograph of Yves Saint Laurent’s office by Gilles Bensimon sits on a shelf behind the desk.
A 1950s French concrete vase sits on the marble island in the kitchen that Valle designed, along with the wood counter stools. The suspended lamps are Dutch from the 1960s; a carved wood child’s chair from the 1920s stands in the corner, and on the counter are a pair of alabaster vases and a framed work by Ed Ruscha.
A 1950s French concrete vase sits on the marble island in the kitchen that Valle designed, along with the wood counter stools. The suspended lamps are Dutch from the 1960s; a carved wood child’s chair from the 1920s stands in the corner, and on the counter are a pair of alabaster vases and a framed work by Ed Ruscha.
Valle designed the maple dining table and, with Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, the wall-mounted mobile lamp. The painting is by Christopher Astley.
Valle designed the maple dining table and, with Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, the wall-mounted mobile lamp. The painting is by Christopher Astley.
In the plaster-walled master bedroom, a Marilyn Minter portrait of the couple’s son hangs above the Jasper Morrison bed, with its canopy of Schumacher fabric, custom bedspread of Belgian linen from Cowtan & Tout. Valle designed the straw marquetry light, and the blue chair is by François Azambourg. Stark rug.
In the plaster-walled master bedroom, a Marilyn Minter portrait of the couple’s son hangs above the Jasper Morrison bed, with its canopy of Schumacher fabric, custom bedspread of Belgian linen from Cowtan & Tout. Valle designed the straw marquetry light, and the blue chair is by François Azambourg. Stark rug.
Under the Marilyn Minter portrait, the Milo Baughman bedside table holds an Italian vase and a 1970s limestone lamp by the French designer Alfred Tormos, from Glen Dooley Antiques.
Under the Marilyn Minter portrait, the Milo Baughman bedside table holds an Italian vase and a 1970s limestone lamp by the French designer Alfred Tormos, from Glen Dooley Antiques.
In the bedroom sitting area, an 18th century Italian silk tapestry hangs behind a Facett sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Ligne Roset, a vintage bamboo side table, a tapestry-covered chair by Valle, a vintage Stilnovo lamp, and a painting by Katherine Keltner.
In the bedroom sitting area, an 18th century Italian silk tapestry hangs behind a Facett sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Ligne Roset, a vintage bamboo side table, a tapestry-covered chair by Valle, a vintage Stilnovo lamp, and a painting by Katherine Keltner.
One of Line Vautrin’s Talosel resin mirrors, from Glen Dooley Antiques, hangs above the master bedroom’s 1960s teak desk, with its Italian globe lamp and 1950s French iron chair.
One of Line Vautrin’s Talosel resin mirrors, from Glen Dooley Antiques, hangs above the master bedroom’s 1960s teak desk, with its Italian globe lamp and 1950s French iron chair.
A 1950s French iron chair stands in front of the master bedroom’s stained plywood custom closets and drawers.
A 1950s French iron chair stands in front of the master bedroom’s stained plywood custom closets and drawers.
The son’s room, which is painted Lulworth Blue from Farrow & Ball, has a custom canopy bed accented by a decoupage lion’s head from John Derian.
The son’s room, which is painted Lulworth Blue from Farrow & Ball, has a custom canopy bed accented by a decoupage lion’s head from John Derian.
Valle used the wavy edge motif from the living room for the shelves and drawers in his son’s room, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Lulworth Blue.
Valle used the wavy edge motif from the living room for the shelves and drawers in his son’s room, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Lulworth Blue.
In the den, which is painted Dead Salmon from Farrow & Ball, with navy blue trim, a painting by Tamuna Sirbiladze (courtesy the artist and James Fuentes) hangs above a Restoration Hardware sofa with a Viso cashmere blanket. Marble coffee table by Gae Aulenti on a vintage Native American rug. Valle designed the tapestry chairs, and the painting at right is by Katherine Keltner. Speaker by Bang & Olufsen.
In the den, which is painted Dead Salmon from Farrow & Ball, with navy blue trim, a painting by Tamuna Sirbiladze (courtesy the artist and James Fuentes) hangs above a Restoration Hardware sofa with a Viso cashmere blanket. Marble coffee table by Gae Aulenti on a vintage Native American rug. Valle designed the tapestry chairs, and the painting at right is by Katherine Keltner. Speaker by Bang & Olufsen.
Valle, with a 1760 Aubusson tapestry and a pair of Gio Ponti chairs.
Valle, with a 1760 Aubusson tapestry and a pair of Gio Ponti chairs.

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