October 18, 2015

Thomas Jayne Creates A Setting for Art

In an Upper East Side home, New York-based interior designer Thomas Jayne creates the perfect setting for a couple intent on displaying their art collection.

by Nicole Haddad interior designer Jayne Design Studio photographer Pieter Estersohn architecture Ben Olson Architect

Living With Art

When this couple approached interior designer Thomas Jayne to decorate their one-bedroom, Upper East Side home, there was an instant meeting of the minds. "They have an appreciation of our ability to display art in a setting that is not all white," says Jayne. And they should, as one half of the couple is an art curator who has amassed a collection of artworks by artists ranging from Warhol to Hockney. With the help of architect Ben Olson, the space gained definition: the kitchen was remodeled, the dining room became a sitting room, and the living room became a place to entertain and dine. Jayne, who has an innate sense of how to mix materials, textures, and furniture forms, painted the walls a sunny yellow and arranged miscellaneous furniture (including an African stool under a David Hockney work) for function and sculptural effect.

Interior Designer Thomas Jayne
The client's north-facing terrace has views of Central Park to the west.

"I think decoration in the 21st century is analogous to collage," says Jayne. "And the design of this home is somewhat like a collage in the sense of arrangement." This makes sense as both the designer and the homeowners felt the art was the impetus for design. While the warm, comfortable decor skews contemporary—striped Claremont silk curtains pair with a sisal area rug and a Giacometti-style gilded floor lamp in the living room—it still has some of the stricter idioms of the mid-20th century. The sitting room melds a Chinese garden seat with a plywood Alvar Aalto chair. In the bedroom, Baldessari lithographs, Chinese table, and Scandinavian chairs pop.

In the end, the homeowners arranged their own pictures (eschewing the typical large piece of art over the sofa in favor of smaller works), for which Jayne provided the perfect backdrop. "The quality of the apartment is the works of art," says Jayne. "In this case, the decoration is subservient to the art." We would say they go hand in hand. As for Olson's thoughts? "It's a lovely design. Thomas did a great job of layering old and new together—and the artwork just shines," says Olson.

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