Photo Gallery: Interiors From Expressive Modern
Draw inspiration from Amy Lau’s book.
“When walking this site in upstate New York, we picked up red, orange, and yellow leaves, and the house’s earthy colour scheme was born,” says Lau. The home’s large glass windows create a wallpaper of foliage that transforms with the seasons, eliminating the need for excess colour indoors.
This New York City living room had loads of natural light but not enough personality, so Lau punctuated the penthouse with these patterned wool drapes. Textile designer Judy Ross and Lau came up with an undulating pattern stitched in rust-coloured silk. They left them unlined so sunlight could still filter through when drawn. Simple hardware and one continuous rod lets the pattern take centre stage.
Lau took on the task of warming up this 4,000-square-foot West Chelsea loft — formerly an art gallery. An earlier conversion had created two bedrooms, a kitchen, and an office, but the homeowner wanted the remaining raw space to feel more comfortable and intimate. Lau used exposed brick with natural hemp and wool rugs throughout, inviting furniture, and art displays.
Grey wool upholstery sobers a Hans Wegner chair enough to tie into the rest of this loft’s palette, while adding a moment of playfulness to the 4,000-square-foot space. The homeowner’s passion for reading means that this reading corner will be used often enough to justify the chair’s price.
In jewelry designer Barbara S. Gross’s New York City apartment, Lau covered the living room walls with ebony plaster, the perfect foil for the metals and other reflective media the artist uses in her work. Once Lau top-coated the walls in wax, they took on a reflective sheen, as if they were lined with satin ribbon. To marry form and function, she chose a large lacquered coffee table with recessed niches and cubic side tables with sides that lift up like garage doors to uncover inner shelving.
In the same apartment, Lau incorporated pops of colour through fabrics, accessories and furniture. Rectangular patterns on the studded facade of a lacquered American sideboard from the 1970s are continued in a pair of Italian table lamps from the same era.
Although the rest of Barbara S. Gross’s midtown Manhattan apartment is dark and dramatic, her guest bedroom exudes a playful, feminine style. Painterly cherry blossoms printed on Clarence House wallpaper add a chinoiserie element. Wallpapering all four walls and the ceiling makes a large room seem small and cosy.
In this Chicago townhouse, dot patterns both overhead and underfoot lead the eye down a long hall, enlivening what is normally a merely functional space.
In this serene principal bedroom, raised striations on the duvet are reminiscent of a sandy beach, complementing the ocean-inspired wall colour. A five-armed Serge Mouille sconce, meanwhile, loosely resembles the form of a starfish.
In this central park west apartment, Lau covered the bathroom walls with highly polished metallic tiles in a linear pattern to visually expand the space and bring in reflective light.
For more gorgeous design book interiors, browse photos from Pale & Interesting (2011 Ryland Peters & Small).