From the October/November 2012 Issue:

High-Rise Drama

    Writer: Robin Amster | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Designer: Karla Trincanello, allied member ASID |

Strong colors and unusual features bring an apartment to life

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enlarge | A zebra carpet inlaid in cream wall-to-wall carpeting makes a bold statement on entering the apartment. It runs the length of the living room into the den.
A color palette with generous doses of red and purple, animal print accents, an eye-popping lacquered red wall. Designer Karla Trincanello incorporated all these and more into her award-winning design of a two-bedroom apartment whose owner was ready for a complete departure from its former look.

“The previous design was contemporary with neutral tones, which was easy to live with,” says Trincanello, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Interior Decisions in Florham Park. “But a couple of years after her husband died, she decided on a more vibrant, colorful re-do that is more her.” Trincanello won an ASID Silver Award for her redesign of the apartment.

“My client is very stylish and sophisticated; an artist, a collector, a world traveler and a patron of the arts who loves bright, strong colors,” Trincanello says. “Dramatic and alive is so her.”

The apartment’s location in Verona’s Claridge House is dramatic itself. The well-known high-rise building occupies the highest point in town with views of Manhattan to the east and the mountains to the west. The apartment has windows to the east and west, so all rooms offer gorgeous views.

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enlarge | A custom Art Deco black lacquer credenza has silverleaf accents.
Lighting Is Key
Trincanello says the project grew out of a need for better lighting. “There was poor lighting over the table for the homeowner’s weekly bridge game—it was one of the areas needing attention and creativity,” she says.

With a concrete-and-steel ceiling, recessed lighting was not an option, so Trincanello created three dropped soffits and installed recessed lights within them. The soffits are curved to add a sculptural element to the space. Additional lighting is provided by a sconce, a torchiere and table lamps.

Trincanello calls the design “contemporary yet very classic with Art Deco overtones.” Art Deco is the client’s favorite design period, and it was important to incorporate her collection of sculpture and prints by the legendary Art Deco artist Erté.

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enlarge | An aubergine mohair sectional sofa and chaise with painted legs provides seating in the den. At left is a glass-topped game table and chairs. On this side of the apartment, floor-to-ceiling louvered sliding shutters offset the sun’s glare, provide privacy and form a backdrop.
Leading the Way
The apartment’s foyer, large living room, den and dining room form an open floor plan. Trincanello used a neutral background that wouldn’t fight with the deep red and purple accents and the standout animal prints. Anchoring her design is a zebra carpet inlaid in cream wall-to-wall carpeting. It runs the length of the living room to the den. In the living room padded grid block walls, upholstered in a pearlized leather-like material, create a sculptural backdrop. For visual balance, the same material covers the opposite wall behind a custom-designed Art Deco black lacquer credenza.

At the end of the living room there’s an unexpected—and sensational—feature: a faux-painted goatskin wall of red lacquer in the den, which is perhaps the apartment’s most dramatic space. The den includes a plush aubergine mohair sectional sofa and chaise with painted legs. A silver snakeskin ottoman sits between the sofa and chaise and balances a white swivel chair across from it.

In the living room, two black-framed occasional chairs are upholstered in a mini-bobcat print. Triangular aubergine pillows complement them, while red, purple and animal print throw pillows—on the living room and den sofas—add more punchy accents. Floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall shutters serve an aesthetic and functional purpose. They form a polished backdrop to the space while offsetting the sun’s glare and, when tilted, providing access to the view.

Trincanello incorporated much of the homeowner’s furniture in her design, including a bar with a silver metal tambour base and a black lacquer credenza. The dining room table and chairs with leopard-skin backs and an Art Deco chandelier also were the client’s and fit beautifully into the overall design. Trincanello added red accessories that connect with the red accents throughout the apartment.
Robin Amster, a regular contributor to Design NJ, is a Madison-based writer and editor.


Overall: design, shutters, lamps, accessories, Interior Decisions Inc. in Florham Park; Living Room: custom carpet, J. Herbro Corp. (T) in Fairfield; walls, upholstered by J&J Upholstery in Linden with fabric from Joanne/J.F. Fabrics in Tonawanda, New York; black lacquered credenza, Jimeco SA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; game table, Brueton Industries in Freeport, New York; black-framed upholstered chairs and game chairs, Swaim Furniture in High Point, North Carolina, with fabric by Kravet in Bethpage, New York; homeowner’s sofa and bar stools, upholstered by J&J Upholstery with fabric by Kravet. Den: faux-painted red wall and silverleaf console, Scenic Surfacing by Allie Broadhead in Jersey City; console fabrication, Woodlite Finishing by Norman Holtzman in Jackson; custom ottoman, fabrication and upholstery, J&J Upholstery; sofa and chaise custom upholstery, Kravet Furniture; leopard pillow fabric (on sofa and chaise), Clarence House Fabrics. Dining Room: all furniture and chandelier, the client.

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