October 28, 2017
Hazel Collins Partners with Dorothée Mathieux of Maison Gerard to Outfit a Greenwich Village Home
Pressed for time with a baby on the way, a couple and their designer turn to a renowned gallery two blocks away to outfit their home.
by Jorge S. Arango interior designer Dorothée Mathieux & Hazel Collins /Maison Gerard photographer Jean-Francois Jaussaud
Often, renovation timelines are little more than wishful thinking. But when they involve a landmarked 7,500-square-foot Greenwich Village townhouse, they seem predestined for overruns. Case in point: this 19th-century townhouse's rear addition, relocation of a staircase and other alternations pushed the project past its finish date. When the time came to decorate, the clients—a thirtysomething couple in the wellness products field with one toddler and another baby on the way—didn't have the luxury of time.
Buying "off the rack" would be necessary, but their desire to build a collection of important furnishings disallowed using commercial retail stores. "I have always loved Maison Gerard, and it was right around the corner," says designer Hazel Collins, who had worked on various projects for the wife's family. So she partnered with Dorothée Mathieux, the gallery's design director of five years. "Dorothée is a great designer," says Collins. "And since I was based in London, it was perfect having her there."
"It's very different from other galleries in terms of choice," says Mathieux, noting that Maison Gerard's range extends from French Art Deco through contemporary design. "I know the inventory so well. And as soon as I saw the townhouse I knew right away specific pieces would be perfect for certain places." A dining area, for example, practically ached for a red lacquer Leleu cabinet, Mathieux recalls thinking.
For her part, says Collins, "I love Ayala Serfaty and the work of Hervé van der Straeten." Et voila: Serfaty's table lamp landed on a Carol Egan console in the center hall, while a van der Straeten mirror now hangs over the bedroom fireplace and one of his pendants hovers above the dining table.
Despite the sophistication and prodigious provenance of many pieces, says Mathieux, "They didn't want a showcase that looked like no one lived there." Occasionally, contemporary furnishings like a Moroso sectional trumped vintage specimens (in this case, a Leleu settee and chairs originally designated for the family room). "For anything we upholstered," adds Collins, "we picked fabrics that could be wiped down or had a color that wouldn't show stains."
Collins also notes that "We did a simple backdrop so we could introduce color in the materials and finishes of the furniture." And also, as it turned out, in the artworks the couple acquired with consultant Roxanne Cohen. "They're just starting out," concludes Collins of their clients. "It's a house they can live with as it is, add to
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