Design by
Design Duemila (Roberto Nicolai)
Interior Design and Build Contract
Private residence
New York, 2015

Long Island comprise the easternmost part of New York state. The two countries of Nassau and Suffolk offer a high quality of life, with sophisticated urban infrastructure. On this project, the task was to renew and restructure the building both internally and externally.

The private residence, a Georgian mansion that stands on a hill overlooking the sea, dates back to the early part of the twentieth century.

The property conforms to precise mathematical proportions: these determine both the footprint and the elevation of the building. Within this arithmetical scheme a decorative language is deployed that comes from the Graeco - Roman tradition: is a language that, fittingly enough, tends towards regularity and symmetry.

The external walls are faced with dark brick - a material typical originally of northern European architecture that was later adopted in the United States. Decorative elements in white - cornices, pediments, pilasters and entablature - emphasise the doors and windows, tempering the effect of the monochromatic brick, and generally lightening the building's façade.

The terraces around the house are conceived on entirely rational lines, yet retain the harmony of classical forms. An impressive stone staircase, its two flights of stairs a mirror image of each other, leads down to a lawn furnished with chairs and tables. This is an area where guests can be received, and the raised pool can be accessed.

The interior is designed to meet the client's brief, to recreate a Georgian milieu but to make it richer and more sophisticated.

On the ground floor are found high prestige rooms in which visitors are greeted by an opulent pageant of decoration: stucco ceilings featuring naturalistic designs, stucco walls finished in gold, floor inlaid with intricate wood parquetry, monumental marble fireplaces, furniture similarly embellished with marble, richly upholstered armchairs and sofas and imposing crystal chandeliers.

The palette chosen for these spaces is predominantly white, with golden detailing. This is a scheme that makes the most of the pale northern light, while also emphasising the room's formal grandeur.

The residence's reception rooms lend themselves to a more reserved mood, with walls and ceilings clad in natural wood and more subdued fabrics used in the upholstery and curtains, which helps to create a more intimate feel.

In the library, bookcases occupy the entire wall spaces between the windows, which are framed with pilasters, while the lightly ruched curtains filter the light from outside, helping to preserve the quiet intimacy of the room. Other elements of the design - the deeply upholstered blue armchairs and the coffered ceiling - confirm that this is a private spae, made for solitude.

The biliard room, meanwhile, has a distinctly masculine air. Various shades of green dominate, taking their cue from the carpet and the baize of the table. The walls, floor and ceiling are all clad in natural wood, while the lamps and the chandelier express a hunting theme, adding a slightly frivolous note. The result is a room that resembles the meeting room of a rather special gentlemen's club attended by a very few well-chosen members.

The kitchen area, a spacious and multifunctional part of the house, is a place to cook, of course, but also feautres and American-style breakfast bar with high stools: it is a space to be as well as a space in which to eat. Its style could be termed 'refined English'. Appliances and kitchen equipment are in a sophisticated retro style, while the dark marble floor and worktops provide an eye-catching contrast to the white walls and cupboards.

The colours chosen for the master bedroom and its bathroom are simple and elegant: taupe and white, elements of natural wood. At the centre of the bathroom, featuring very delicate plaster festoons on the walls, stands a padded ottoman decorated with fold trimmings. The bathtub itself has a definite retro feel, with its slim feet of gilded brass.

Wooden features lend a rhythm to the line of the walls of the master bedroom, which are quilted in a simple diamond pattern, and thi underscores the spaciousness of the room. The deep and generous upholstery of the sofas and the soft inlay of the carpet help make this intimate and private room an oasis to which to retire at the end of the day.