Designer Stacie Flinner distills the principles behind this enchanting room.
Interior designer Stacie Flinner was drawn to her New York City apartment for its good bones. The 1854 Italianate brownstone she shares with her husband features all the historic flourishes one could wish for—robust moldings, a French marble fireplace and almost 10-foot high ceilings. But when it came to decorating the space, Flinner took a spirited, modern approach. “I use the phrase all-American glamour a lot when describing my style,” says Flinner, whose website, stacieflinner.com, offers not only examples of her stunning professional work, but an eye into her travels and personal style. (She recently completed a fourteen month, around-the-world trip with her husband, David, visiting 70 countries across six continents.)
“It’s always a temptation to take something a little too ‘grandma’ because I’m really drawn to things with a lot of history,” admits the designer. Yet, a look at her living room reveals her talent for mixing-and-matching eras, patterns and textures in a way that feels thoroughly fresh. A classic brass-and-glass La Barge coffee table comingles with a leather couch and modern art, while the room is brought to life via Farrow & Ball’s alluring “Calke Green” paint and a light-catching Annie Selke custom rug. “My husband and I have lived in urban spaces throughout our entire professional lives. And we’ve also moved roughly every year, so we really collected a foundation of furniture that adapts to a number of small spaces,” says Flinner. Whether your home is grand or cozy, let Flinner’s clever decorating tips help you craft your own enchanting space.
Flinner’s living room is 14×20, so the designer had two options: Go for a custom rug or opt for two smaller rugs. “I just really love how the large scale of the custom rug pulls the room together,” says the designer of her neutral Annie Selke Fleck rug. “It has a high wool fiber content, which makes it spill resistant, despite its light color.”
“I saw Tory Burch has this incredible New York apartment with deep green upholstered walls that I absolutely loved. I found a very similar match with Farrow & Ball. The color, Calke Green, was the starting place for having this slightly gardeny vibe to a very urban Manhattan apartment. We can see a lot of greenery through our windows, and I wanted to bring that leafiness into the room.”
Flinner’s tiered chandelier adds a lovely bit of shine to the space. “I really love that the chandelier is large scale and has presence, yet isn’t heavy,” says the designer. “I wanted something to anchor the room, but that would retain that feeling of lightness and airiness.” While the design is fairly traditional, the slightly squared off bends of the arms makes it feel modern and introduces a sculptural moment.
The genius of this leopard spot-inspired rug pattern is that it reads as a neutral and pairs beautifully with classic brown and white furnishings. “My husband and I have spent a lot of time observing leopards on safari. I just love leopard print – so I have to be careful I don’t pick too much of it,” admits the designer. Here, the pattern is understated enough that it doesn’t clamor for attention. Says Flinner, “I already had a beautiful velvet leopard ottoman in the room, so I just wanted to touch on that, but not take it too far.”
“I love to change my pillows seasonally,” says Flinner. “The fact that the rug is really subtle gives me lots of freedom to switch out the pillows. I go for brighter floral and botanical patterns in the summertime, and bring in more texture, like gray nubby pillows or plaids, for a cozy fall and winter look.”
The abstract painting over the fireplace is Flinner’s own handiwork. “A couple months after getting married, my husband had a great job opportunity in San Francisco, so he ended up moving out there a couple months ahead of me and I joked that it was a representation of my sadness for being separated from him,” reveals Flinner. While it could pass as a museum-quality piece, the designer made it with leftover wall paint, and admits that she was heavily inspired by a Richard Serra painting that Kate Spade had hanging over her fireplace in her New York apartment. “It’s funny, people either love it or hate it, and I kind of do, too,” she says. “But when I move, I try to continue to use what I have and find the best new place for each piece.”
The designer is an expert in mixing textures—gilded elements mingle with more rustic ones in this space. “I love brass lighting fixtures, like the chandelier and the floor lamp and sconces, and the coffee table,” says Flinner. “I love a mix, the warm sense of leather and the sparkle and shine of the brass.”
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