May 2, 2017

Lisa Melone, of Melone Cloughen Interiors, Guest Blogs on Life in the Design World

Melone Cloughen Interiors is primarily a residential design firm specializing in sophisticated, nuanced interiors.

by Lisa Melone

Melone Cloughen Interiors
Melone Cloughen Interiors.

Melone Cloughen Interiors is primarily a residential design firm specializing in sophisticated, nuanced interiors. I believe good design meets at the intersection of functional and luxurious comfort that is in harmony with my clients' lifestyles. The aesthetic is realized through the use of subtle, yet rich color palettes layered with a variety of textures, sculptural forms often found in nature, the client's personal talismans and artwork, antiques or vintage pieces.

For a recent project you see here, the clients' directives were fairly straightforward. They wanted me to incorporate a sense of glamour and sophistication set against a neutral color palette. The wife appreciates an edited and refined environment that is devoid of jarring elements, be it bold color or too many design elements vying for attention in the space. Definitely a "less is more" mindset. In order to achieve the glamour component, we looked to the Art Deco period for inspiration. I would consider the design of the apartment to be a modern riff on the period. The couple also enjoys entertaining with friends and family, and they requested that the furnishings be comfortable and easy to pull up if need be.

Melone Cloughen Interiors
Melone Cloughen Interiors

They love travel, art, and music and it was not difficult to incorporate their passions into the design. The apartment is home to many photos and momentos from their travels and artworks in the form of paintings, prints, and small sculptures are located throughout the home. In fact, I had quite a discussion with the contractor regarding the wet bar shelving. He felt it should extend to the other wall and I adamantly felt it should not so we could accommodate more of the art collection. Easy win for the paintings! For the music component, the clients worked with an audio specialist that constructed and installed a fabulous sound system throughout the apartment, allowing it to be controlled by room.

Yes, the green lady is very special, and no, we did not design the room around her. We did, however, paint and glaze the dining room in an olivey, grey shade that picks up the gold leaf in the painting and the frame.

Melone Cloughen Interiors
Melone Cloughen Interiors

I love designing homes for clients that have a strong appreciation of art. In all cases it is about showcasing the art in a livable environment specific to the client's preferred aesthetic sensibility. I don't believe that all artwork is best displayed on white walls and often a deeper wall color enhances the work. Additionally, I look at how a piece is matted and/ or framed and how those elements relate to the piece as well as other pieces in the space. Sometimes, I do recommend re-framing and possibly re-matting a work or two so that all of the design elements resonate in the space and enhance the artwork.

That is a tough question since there were so many elements to love about this renovation. If I am going to focus on one aspect, it would have to be all of the paint color selections and the development of the decorative finishes and glazes used throughout the apartment. All of the main rooms have glazes and decorative finishes giving the space a luxurious cohesive sensibility. It took a fair amount of time and several samples per room to get them just right and it was definitely worth the effort.

The clients worked with an architect to re-size the entrance which was an unfortunate space prior to its metamorphosis. I did choose the Afyon marble for the flooring and it was cut from slabs on-site. For the hallways off of the ellipse, I had the marble masons cut and lay a herringbone pattern and it is subtle, beautiful and and unexpected. We also had the decorative painters do a very light Venetian plaster finish on the walls and completed it with a silver leafed ceiling and a 1940's Orrefors pressed glass light fixture. The Picasso over the console table isn't too bad either!

Melone Cloughen Interiors
Melone Cloughen Interiors

Creating the sparkle and glamour within the context of a neutral palette was actually a fun challenge! It really is about combining textures,finishes, sheens and shapes to create a elegant, subtle aesthetic. The living room vignette almost reads as a sculpture if you will. The mirror is set above a beautifully pedestal in the form of a mantle and it is further grounded by the pair of gilded benches. The "sculpture" is offset by the symmetrical windows draped in silk taffeta. Extending the concept of glamour in the space, I layered the space with cool and warm tones of silks, velvets and linens and then added accents in the form of metallic occasional pieces, beveled mirror, rock crystal lamps and a custom wool and silk rug. Ultimately, the owners' art collection is the statement and the icing on the cake!

The kitchen is a very functional galley configuration and we were able to carve out enough of an area to create a breakfast "room". The clients prefer to have breakfast casually in the kitchen even when they have guests, so a defined seating area was necessary. From a design point of view the clients wanted the simplicity and brightness of a white kitchen. The countertops are Thassos white marble coupled with a mirrored backsplash and polished nickel hardware to complete the look.

Melone Cloughen Interiors
Melone Cloughen Interiors

Yes, I did source the majority of the furniture and fixtures in the apartment. We did use several of the clients' pieces such as the J. Robert Scott sofa and the Nancy Corzine chairs and I had them refinished in a pale grey lacquer and reupholstered in a silk/cotton velvet. Frankly, I love a lot of the pieces and I'd say the white gold leaf Cosette chandelier from Paul Ferrante, The John Saladino silk taffeta armchair, and the custom, wool and silk rugs from the Rug Company are just a few of my favorite pieces!

I think overall they love that we achieved the glamour and sparkle in the apartment coupled with comfortable, inviting spaces. From a pure, "Wow!" factor, they do love entering the apartment and immediately seeing the Starburst living room vignette.

Currently, I am doing some consulting for a developer and I hope to expand that segment of my business. I am also working on a line of occasional furniture that is fills a void in the market. It is still be developed and I will begin the prototype phase in the next month or two!

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