Home Lifestyle Design This Leading Designer’s NYC Home Is a Wellspring of Inspiration

This Leading Designer’s NYC Home Is a Wellspring of Inspiration

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For architect Giancarlo Valle, designing the Brooklyn loft that he shares with his wife, AD’s Style Director Jane Keltner de Valle, and their two young children was about more than reconfiguring a space to suit a growing family. For Valle—who worked for A-list architecture firms like SHoP and Snøhetta (where one of his projects was the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)—before opening his own office in 2016, “This was the project that got me into interiors,” he explains. (Those interiors include a Manhattan townhouse for Barneys fashion director Marina Larroude and a Watch Hill mansion for entrepreneur Kevin Wendle.)

He and Keltner de Valle bought the loft in 2014, and Valle left the existing floor plan—with its open living-dining-kitchen area, enclosed den, and bedrooms—intact, while adding elements that defined the spaces. A wall of windows at the far end of the living area seemed like “unfinished space,” so Valle added a low pine screen that runs under the windows and becomes a bench. The screen’s wavy edge echoes motifs found in Art Deco and African art, and is also “a design tool on the computer,” Valle adds. In a corner of the space, he added bookshelves that create a backdrop for a desk designed by the Modernist master Pierre Jeanneret.

A 1950s French concrete vase sits on the marble island in the kitchen that Valle designed, along with the wood counter stools. The suspended lamps are Dutch, from the 1960s; a carved wood child’s chair from the 1920s stands in the corner, and on the counter are a pair of alabaster vases and a framed work by Ed Ruscha.

Valle gutted the kitchen, adding floor-to-ceiling maple cabinets that were meant to feel “like a giant piece of furniture” and a white marble island; he also designed the island’s Donald Judd–influenced pine stools. For the windowless den, Valle used “very strong, David Hicks–inspired wall details,” with a color scheme of midnight blue and Dead Salmon, a Farrow & Ball paint color. In the bedrooms, he added walls of closets and drawers made of plywood.

Throughout the spaces, furniture designed by Valle—like the upholstered chair with the curved seat that was partly inspired by the Ethiopian chief’s chair that sits nearby; or the wall-mounted light fixture, a collaboration with the designers Ladies & Gentlemen Studio that projects over the maple dining table, another of Valle’s designs—mixes happily with pieces by Milo Baughman, Line Vautrin, Gio Ponti, and other renowned 20th-century designers, as well as contemporary pieces.

Valle, who is at work on a renovation of artist Marilyn Minter’s upstate New York house, a house for artist-designer Fernando Mastrangelo, and whose smile chair, which sits in his living room, is being produced by the New York gallery Les Ateliers Courbet, says that designing furniture “has been really liberating.” For him, as for architects like Ponti and Frank Lloyd Wright, “space, furniture and architecture are inseparable.”

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