Steven Gambrel Time and PlaceContemporary Living Room, New York
Excerpted from Steven Gambrel: Time & Place (Abrams, 2012). Photography by Eric Piasecki.
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In this space, the brass chandelier and table lamps give a dramatic, glamorous glow to the black-and-yellow palette.Budget tip: Glamorous lighting options can definitely be budget-friendly. Some crystal ceiling fixtures can be found for under $200. For gilded table and floor lamps, look to big-box stores for eye-catching styles under $100.
3. Mixed with metallics. The opposite of the design dictum “less is more” works well when one strong element is matched and balanced by another — in this case, glossy black walls and furniture with burnished gold accessories and finishes. The lacquered gold ceiling in this sumptuous living room is complemented by the gold-toned rug and velvet sofa, with an effect that’s highly glamorous. Both the walls and ceiling bounce light from the window around the room, ensuring a look that’s anything but dark and dreary. Why it works: An all-gold room would be overwhelmingly bright; the black walls and furniture diminish the intensity. Plus, the black and gold elements complement each other, mostly because they’re used in equal measure. Tip: The striped curtains tie the palette together beautifully, breaking up the solid blocks of black and gold and creating a decorative bridge between the two.
8. Two-tone standout. As “light and airy” rules the day, renowned designer Steven Gambrel dares to be different with a grounded gentleman’s club vibe featuring two-color gloss (did you notice the ceiling?) plus patent leather chairs. It’s an updated take on the now-maligned “heavy” interiors of yesterday.
Creating this look requires some serious wall preparation. Most walls will first need to be skim-coated, where a layer of joint compound or plaster is applied, before priming. During painting, you may need to layer three, four, five or more coats of color to achieve the effect you are looking for. Pros spray rather than brush on the paint for an ultra-slick look.
4. High shine. Shine is key in an art deco home, so search for lacquer, glass, mirror and chrome to accent your space. Many art deco fabrics have a reflective quality too. The right lighting can make all of these materials glow. Get this look: For affordable shine, add a high sheen to one or all of your walls. If you’re feeling really brave, add a clear coat of lacquer on top of your wall color for some serious gloss.
Note that the chandelier in this room is not on. Combine this with the fact that colors look different on different computer monitors, and what you see in the photograph is at best close to what the room looks like in person.
Imperfections will be magnified. If you plan to lacquer a surface, make sure it’s in impeccable shape. Even barely discernible bumps, nicks and ripples will stand out sharply, highlighted by the sheen. You may need to skim coat walls, patch divots, repair unevenly taped drywall and more.Tip: Hold a flashlight parallel to the wall and play the beam slowly over the surface to pinpoint imperfections.