interiors & styling

Design Eye Training : 105

We’re long past due for a Design Eye Training post, and I know how much everyone loves these (myself included)! Today I have a real treat for you, as we’re analyzing and admiring one of my favorite spaces by the talented Gil Shafer of G.P. Shafer Architect. Step into Gil’s stunning, 900 square foot parlor-floor apartment with me in Greenwich Village. It’s layered with antiques, textiles, design treasures, and the Greek Revival architecture is absolutely stunning. Click through to take a little tour and chat all things interior design with me… 

In our “Design Eye” series, we observe and admire design fundamentals like scale, texture, pattern, material use, lighting plans, color, floorplan & layout, and a variety of intentional styling & interior moments pulled together by the pros. It’s an exercise I used to practice often in design school, and one I still enjoy today. By discussing and breaking down well designed spaces in greater detail, you’ll begin to train your “design eye”, build upon the design fundamentals, and can apply some of these things to your own home, if they appeal to you. I also feel like this series can really help you hone in your personal aesthetic, determining what you like and dislike.

The first thing that really jumped out to me in this apartment was the gorgeous Greek Revival architecture. From chunky crown moulding, ceiling medallions, heavy window & door casing, architraves, and even ionic columns- the architectural backdrop is nothing short of beautiful. I also noticed forms and shapes seen in the millwork that have been repeated in other design elements throughout the space- like the area rugs and light fixtures. Repeating shapes, patterns, or colors throughout a room is a great way to create cohesion.

The timeless neutral color palette also works very well here because of the amount of decor used… it provides a layered look, plenty of texture, color, and warmth. I’m actually hoping my home office renovation takes on a similar effect, as my color palette feels pretty close to what we’re seeing here. It’s warm, but also bright and inviting. Anyway, this apartment definitely has a maximalist feel to me, that is nicely curated and styled. There is much to discover and interesting vignettes in every corner.

I also stopped to admire the nero marble fireplace in the back corner, and the use of accent furniture in this space. My rule is that every seat should have a table nearby or a place to rest a drink, and Gil does such a great job of floor planning in a way that feels intentional and functional. I really enjoy the way he styles with plants as well! There is so much life in this space and those little moments of greenery really add life to this open concept apartment.

Did you notice the beautifully layered rugs? While all of the textiles in this space are neutral, they have a lovely, graphic antiqued look to them. The black and white Iranian flatware carpet adds a fun high-contrast punch to the traditional period details. You know I’m all about mixing aesthetics… modern patterns or profiles paired with traditional antiques will forever be a winning combination! I also really enjoy the art installations throughout the space and the way they’re layered and stacked. Did you observe that all of the artwork is modern? Again- it’s a smart move to install modern art against such a traditional backdrop, like the Greek Revival millwork. One more thing to admire- those doors with the original brass hardware that has a fantastic patina going.

I also wanted to share some design / millwork / architecture history with you, since we have such a nice closeup of the column to analyze. This is an Ionic column, which is one of the three column styles prevalent in Greek architecture (Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian). The Ionic order is usually the most narrow, is slender and more ornate than the masculine Doric style. Ionic columns have an ornate shaped scroll on the capital, which sits at the top of the column. These are often fluted and have such a beautiful balanced shape. If you’re going to install a column in your home and are going for a classic, traditional Greek look- this is the way to do it! I’m not sure if this one is purely decorative or offers support, but I love the way its integrated. It works well with the soaring 13 foot tall ceiling that make this small apartment seem far larger than it actually is.

There we have it… another Design Eye post in the books. Did you enjoy this one? I can’t wait to hear the things you noticed and admired in this wonderful apartment! Did you find any inspiration that can translate to your own home? That’s always my favorite part. I hope you’re having a good week so far!

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    May 5, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Apparently I enjoy a neutral palette when it’s done in a maximalist style! You certainly can’t miss that amazing millwork and those stunning doors (that grain?!). Is there a name for the way the door casings sort of have epaulettes? I noticed so many natural materials and textures-sisal, leather, linen, marble, terra cotta, mother of pearl, stoneware, hide, and the lovely greenery. The architecture is strong and linear, but lots of the furnishings and accessories have curves or softness. That fourth image mesmerizes me; all that graphic glory. Yes to all the modern art and its interesting placement. High marks also for integrating technology and necessities in a low key manner; I think I see a radiator cover, air vents, the tv and speakers, but I’m not distracted by them. Also, did you notice the barley twist lamps and bobbin/spool trim on the cabinet in the last image? So many details in this space! I think I keep coming back to textures…that’s what my home needs. (In addition to fluffy, of course.)
    Thanks, as always, for an inspiring, informative and beautiful start to my day! Let’s go, Wednesday!💜

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 5, 2021 at 5:57 pm

      Right?! I love it, too. I feel like I should remember the name of that specific type of casing joint, but it’s escaping me. I’ll pull my design & architecture books out and look it up! Emmett calls it a “key”, but I know that isn’t correct. I liked reading all of your material observations. That apartment is jam packed with the beautiful finishes. I also noticed the technology styled in a low key way. It felt functional, but still beautiful. I am VERY into barley twist right now, so I spied all of those pieces. I’m still hunting for some cool vintage things to pop up on FBMP in my area… no luck yet. I also enjoyed all of the texture in this apartment. Well done, Gil! Hope your Wednesday has been a beautiful one :) xo

  • Reply
    Lauren
    May 5, 2021 at 6:25 am

    I notice the juxtaposition of black with the natural wood tones-it is so soothing in this space. My favorite architectural feature is the doors-the wood grain is dreamy, with that pop of black in the trim detail, and the beautifully aged brass hardware. Of course you can only sit in awe of the stunning millwork. I love how the rug mimics the corner detail so beautifully. The necessity features of the room are done well here; you see them, but they disappear into the room such that your eye doesn’t recognize them as “out of place”. One feature here stands out as translating well into my own home-the use of curved shapes to soften the very angular architectural features. The rounded chair backs, the round ottoman as a side table, the oversized round pottery on top of the built ins. All of this helps soften the hard angles. I’m taking notes! I did notice that all of the artwork is modern. This blend of traditional and modern seems to be a theme I love. While this space is a bit maximal for me, I do love all the layers. That level of texture and dimension plays well with my eyes. The antiqued look of the textiles draws me in even further; I did notice that detail, but you put word description to it. I love how it gives the entire room a more antique and authentic feel. Did anyone else peep the skull on the fireplace mantle? Oh how I love curiosities in decor! The very last picture is one we have all seen before-I’m not sure what post series it was in (but I think maybe a 10 pins post)-still love that vignette! We all loved the lamp and the Nero marble top to that console table. So gorgeous! This apartment strikes the balance I hope to find in the finishes of my own home, and displays quite well how powerful greenery can be in a space. This series is the best! Have a happy Wednesday everyone!

    • Reply
      Peggi
      May 5, 2021 at 7:37 am

      Good morning, Lauren! I did notice the skull! Such an edgy little note in this overall sophisticated space. Love it!

      • Reply
        Sarah
        May 5, 2021 at 5:50 pm

        I didn’t notice it!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      It really is a soothing space that feels very functional and designerly. Those doors are just insane- I LOVE them. Your observations are spot on, Lauren! I’m with you on mixing modern in traditional spaces- that’s super appealing to my eye. Somehow I missed the skull! You’re right about the last image… I’ve shared it before in a 10 Pins post. You have an incredible memory. I love that you used the word “balance” to describe this space. I had the same thought. I think that’s why it evokes feelings of calm. Happy Wednesday!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    May 5, 2021 at 8:10 am

    I really enjoy your Design Eye Training posts- I feel like I’m taking a mini interior design course! And this space that you chose to highlight is amazing. I love the room’s intentional curated look that doesn’t come off as cluttered or too busy. It’s literally “just the right amount of wrong” ;)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 5, 2021 at 5:50 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Jennifer! It definitely takes me back to design school. I oddly miss art & design critiques. Gil is so incredibly talented. I’ve loved this space for a long time! It’s definitely just the right amount of everything :)

  • Reply
    Danna F
    May 5, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I enjoy your Design Eye Training posts. I too like all the neutral colors. There is a lot of wood but with all the other aesthetics: metal, fabric, pottery, etc. the wood isn’t overwhelming. The brown paint (or wallpaper) on the walls in the last picture was nice. This entire apartment reminds me of one my mother lived in while I was in college with the columns and very high ceilings. At the time it was a very old apartment complex with swinging doors to the kitchen, parquet floors in the dining room.
    The architect did a great job with the bookshelves and styling them with a computer and speakers that aren’t distracting. Love the picture lighting above them. He did not style the room around the fireplace like most do and I actually really like that too.
    Have a great day Sarah!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 5, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      I love them too, Danna! I also enjoy all of the things you pointed out. I really like that it reminds you of your mother- that’s so special! Isn’t it funny how rooms have a way of transporting us or remaining us of someone? I’m a fan of parquet floors! Your apartment sounds really beautiful. I didn’t even notice the fireplace not being the focal point- that’s a great observation. Hope your Wednesday was a good one! :) xo

  • Reply
    Paige
    May 5, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Stacked art, real books, large plants …..it hits all the right notes from that aspect. In real life (not photos) I wonder how yellow all the neutrals read. I am so color sensitive that too much yellow undertone is anxiety inducing. Love it in a landscape, not so much in my living room. Too much blue literally makes me feel cold. Why couldn’t I get a cool superpower like invisibility instead of hyper color awareness?

    I love all the mix of brown wood tones. I think brown tones, including cherry, is coming back in a big way.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 5, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      It really does, Paige! It’s so tough to tell on the computer monitor, but it’s reading with green undertones (rather than yellow) on my screen. Invisibility would definitely be better than hyper color awareness. Haha! I’m not convinced I have any superpowers, so at least you have one thing going for you. Lol! I also think cherry is making a comeback- but in a different way than we used it in the 90’s. Should be interesting. Awesome point!!

  • Reply
    Melissa D
    May 6, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Oh my goodness, I could stare at these photos all day. This apartment is to die for! The first thing that caught my attention was that amazing door! It’s stunning, and the trim around it just sets it off so perfectly. The millwork and architectural features in general throughout these photos are beautiful. The main points I noted in my design eye training – the neutral palette that reads very warm and inviting thanks to the layers of texture, and it feels very natural. I appreciate the antiqued edge that everything has, along with the modern art (although modern art is not usually my taste). It works together well to combine a cohesive vision that doesn’t read too old and stuffy. I also noticed and really appreciated the way that electronics were worked into the bookcase without being annoyingly in your face or out of place. I love the wood tones. Oh, who am I kidding? I love everything about this space!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 6, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      Isn’t it so gorgeous?! Those doors are unique and absolutely stunning. Your observations are really good, Melissa! I totally agree on the electronics and the bookcase. It adds a lot of warmth and makes a great place for the tech. Thanks for sharing :)

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