March 9, 2015

Pol Theis Designs a Space With Breathtaking Views

Designer Pol Theis frames an iconic view by exploring the universe that lies between black and white.

by Jorge S. Arango interior designer P&T Interiors photographer Peter Rymwid


It's a peculiarly contemporary urban conundrum: how do you design a space so dominated by breathtaking skyline views, especially when they're glimpsed through floor-to-ceiling glass? Luxembourg-born designer Pol Theis discovered the best solution was surrender-to a point, that is.

His thirty-something clients-an entertainment executive and his doctor wife, whose first child arrived as the project wound down-"wanted modern and comfortable." Theis began by devising a palette that flowed harmoniously throughout the 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath residence. "We agreed pretty quickly on blue-gray because I like bringing the outside in," explains Theis, who deployed Benjamin Moore's "Dior Gray" as an accent wall color to define the dining area in the main living space opposite the windows. Versions of this shade also grace the furnishings, a Paola Lenti felt rug, and a custom fireplace finished in matte lacquer that "optically separates the dining area from the sitting area."

The scheme works with the cityscape instead of against it, but its saturated tones and rich materials (silk, lacquer, and white oak floors and paneling that add the warmth of natural wood) create an embracing tactility that balances the vastness of glass and concrete outside. The island sofa by Living Divani allows for an interior or exterior orientation according to mood. "You can walk completely around it and sit in all directions," says Theis. "And the backs are not much higher than the window sill so they don't interfere with the view." Refusing to submit completely to that vista, however, Theis upholstered one of three Utrecht armchairs in an insouciant red.

Theis varies this basic theme throughout. In the entryway and the library/office, the white oak has a more substantial presence. In the latter, the Osborne & Little gray cashmere-flannel blend on the B&B Italia sofa skews more toward blue than the living room's tones, and Theis personalizes the space with a custom wallcovering by Tracy Kendall scattered with pockets for family photos. In the master bedroom, the gray moves closer toward a soothing beige.

And that's the brilliance of the design. Though you never lose sight of the city's indelible silhouette, you always feel nestled in the comfortable elegance of a home.