What Makes This Room Great?

What Makes This Room Great?

Sitting Area

There are a million easily overlooked details that make a room unique, from rope crystal fixtures to painted "backdrop." We took a gander at spaces by five distinct designers and chose the subtle elements that give these rooms that wow factor.

Room by Bunny Williams

Room by Robert Brown

•The upholstered specialty, which makes a close spot in an extensive room •A coffee table rather than another end table •No outline on the painting

Living Room by Steven Gambrel

Outdoor Room by Robert Brown

•Ceiling-to-floor sheers over the open curves •The full living room treatment in an outdoor room •Unpainted scored wood as the roof •Those sentimental floor lights without the shades

Kitchen by Steven Gambrel

Dining Room by Erin Martin

•Tone-on-tone chinoiserie dividers (what a help!) •White paint on the Chippendale piece •Pendant seat pads, with weaving •The present day roof light (reverberating the fretwork)

Bedroom by Erin Martin

•The one end to the other headboard •The dab detail on window ornaments •"Wallpaper" that is really paint •The casual chaise slipcover

Joe Nye's Beverly Hills Living Room

"Crowded and comfortable" is the way designer Joe Nye portrays his Beverly Hills apartment. The living room is moored by a book-filled étagère made of iron and wood. On top are three 1950s Los Angeles road scenes and cast-pitch shell figures. Billy Haines side tables are from Dragonette; the vintage couch, seats, and end table are from Downtown. The nineteenth century Dufour backdrop screen is from Marston Luce Antiques.

Must-Have Wallpaper

Claremont's George Spencer Palm Stripe backdrop was an "absolute necessity have," says Nye. "I needed something smart and crisp to work with the Travers chinoiserie draperies." He shrouded the headboard in a dhurrie floor covering and stacked the room with furniture, some of them enormous scale pieces like a smorgasbord by Frances Elkins and a nineteenth century lamp from Hollyhock.

Sitting Area

At the current year's Kips Bay showhouse, Bunny Williams blended decorations from her BeeLine Home accumulation with a dashing red Egg seat from Design Within Reach. Its bends shine against dividers painted Benjamin Moore's California Breeze, a blue reverberated in the Quadrille Veneto fronts and seats of rockers. Chairbacks are canvassed in vintage silk ikat. The brightening painting on the sisal mat is by Artgroove. The roof is Benjamin Moore's Cliffside Gray, cut with 75 percent white.

Room by Bunny Williams

•A table that is a work area toward one side and dining for two at the other •Tall topiaries that underline the high roofs •The blend coordinate play of the considerable number of seats •The TV that appears to be impeccably normal

Living Room by Steven Gambrel

•Back-painted bookshelves •The tremendous photograph over the amusement table •Antique design for a cutting edge carpet •Contemporary botanical and trellis fabrics

Kitchen by Steven Gambrel

•That rope ceiling fixture •Open racks •Blue cowhide pads on the burger joint stools •A wood floor with a characteristic wrap up

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