A New Decorating Book Celebrates Expert Style Mixing

This selection of 16 projects by Stephen Sills will give your coffee table elegant touch and teach you hundreds of lessons on how best to mix styles with careful editing. Sills is one of America’s premier interior decorators, and the novel features his projects from Aspen to the Hamptons, in addition to his personal labour of love and also design laboratory: his house in Bedford, New York.

Though the book features houses where the sky appears to be the limitation concerning budget, there are many lessons to be learned from them. Additionally, the stunning photos, by Fran├žois Halard, make the book a joy to pick up if you feel like performing any daydreaming.

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Raised in Oklahoma, Sills moved to New York City in the 1980s and honed his unique ability to equilibrium classical and modern elements. He is also an extremely keen shopper, collecting antiques and art from all over the world.

Calming yet energetic, traditional yet avant-garde, his style has been awarded the ultimate compliment: Karl Lagerfeld asserts if he purchased a house in America, Sills would be his choice as the interior designer. (He has also done work for very discerning style divas such as Anna Wintour, Vera Wang and Tina Turner.) Below are a few key design classes from the book which can be applied to almost any home.

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Make an effect in the entrance. Yes, I know, the entrance in this Gilded Age–inspired home is larger than a great deal of our whole dwellings, but the mix of elements is a lesson. The house was decorated with the owners’ extensive modern art collection in your mind, together with classical decoration supplying a background to enhance the pieces. Museum-quality antiques complement the museum-worthy paintings.

Sills made the unique rock and wood flooring after a middle-of-the-night revelation which the keys required to go in different directions. Architectural details such as the molding, French doors and arched elements include classical refinement.

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From the kitchen, consider work first, then equilibrium styles. This kitchen has modern purpose, complete with a large island, two sinks, two dishwashers and a table. To create a rustic, comfortable European-inspired farmhouse design, the subsequent elements mix in harmony. A neutral palette featuring biscuit-white paint, and warm wood flooring, tie them together.

European design: Rustic wood beams, a large vent hood, antique plates hung on the wall and a simple square tile backsplash.

Farmhouse design:
Bin pulls, an apron-front ceramic sink and Shaker cabinets.

Modern elements: Stainless steel appliances, a pot filler over the cooker, tulip-style dining chairs and a faceted pendant lighting.

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Play with scale until you get it right. This Fifth Avenue apartment has amazing classical proportions which required furniture to match.

High ceilings and huge windows with transoms that extend virtually all of the way to the ceiling highlight dramatic height in this bedroom. This meant the bed required to highlight these proportions as well; its warm metal complete and striking shape make it a focal point, while its elevation stands around the high ceilings. Swing-arm reading sconces keep the area about it uncluttered. Additionally, easy window treatments brought right up to the crown moldings highlight the window.

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“Modern living can be achieved in classical backgrounds,” writes Sills. This 1908 Renaissance revival landmark building in New York City, The Apthorp, was sliced up and revived; Sills was tasked with bringing it back to its original glory while adapting it for modern lifestyles. Excavating through renovations which had happened over the past century to get down the initial bones, Sills prioritized restoring the building’s first classical proportions and architectural information.

To upgrade the appearance, he bleached a few of the dark paneling and added modern lighting fixtures to “lift the whole thing up,” he says. In this event a habit gilded cage adds feel round a midcentury modern world light. Carefully placed antiques and a great deal of space lead to a pleasing balance. Items such as the French wooden display add depth, texture and color to the light-colored room.

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Create versatile spaces, especially if you entertain a great deal. Within this dining area, Sills used four square black lacquer small tables which can be pushed together into one big dining table or split apart for more intimate seating arrangements.

That is in the same building since the previous photo. The mid-century light fixture has been crafted by artist Christopher Trujillo from paper plates.

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Look to Europe for garden inspiration. Back in the day, architects, designers and landscape architects used to go to Europe to get “The Grand Tour,” gleaning inspiration in the excellent gardens of England, Italy and France. Now we can have a virtual Grand Tour free of charge, thanks to the Internet and the public library.

About Sills’ land in Bedford, New York, boxwood hedges, pathways, walls and patios create distinct backyard rooms and vantage points. Antique objects such as the obelisks in the end help specify different spaces, draw the eye and create driven perspective.

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At the end of the pool, American columns topped with French urns create a border between the pool area and the woods.

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Relaxed country style doesn’t need to imply classic Americana. Sills approached this traditional 18th-century saltbox house with his clients’ desire to get a lighter and more austere take on the age. American colonial architecture, European antiques and midcentury modern furnishings play nicely together.

Bleached oak plank flooring and a Swedish painted tea table include Scandinavian country simplicity. A classic French display and modern stools include unique character. Oversize green glass bottles having big leaves play with scale, and extensive windows bring the pastoral views to the room.

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A mirror is just one of the easiest ways to make a big design effect. Sills seeks large and unique mirrors for his design projects. While the remainder of this transitional area is tailored, this intricate Roman mirror is a standout among most of the clean-lined geometric bits, including the bronze fireplace surround below.

Sills frequently puts a mirror over a fireplace, so the full tableau becomes a focal point rather than just two strong elements dueling for focus.

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Permit a favourite work of art determine the colour palette and tone of a room. This home in Aspen, Colorado, is filled with iroko wood and hot neutrals, but a painting by Joan Mitchell amps up the colour palette. With his careful editor’s eye, Sills played the reds and blues with a few other colorful pieces scattered around the area.

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Stephen Sills: Decoration – $41

Stephen Sills: Decoration premiered October 22, 2013. If you are feeling generous, it would make a superb gift for the design enthusiast on your life.

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