by Lynn Byrne
Alessandra Branca’s apartment in this year’s Hearst Designer Visions Showhouse held at the architecturally significant Walker Tower was spectacular. How did Alessandra pull off such a triumph. What’s goes through her head when she designs?
I have some answers.
Her book, New Classic Interiors, provides plenty of insight. Here are 5 guiding principles that she lives by–and you can see them all at play in her comfortable and nuanced apartment for the Designer Visions Showhouse. So if you want to bring a little Alessandra to your designing, read on.
Alessandra says she is “obsessed with the details”, adding that if you can’t be trusted with the smallest detail, how can you handle the bigger ones.
Take a look. There is no such thing as a plain ivory lampshade. Indeed, every surface has a little something extra–be a custom fabric lampshade, fringe trim or nailhead detail on the sofa or 3 different fabrics used to upholster a headboard.
Alessandra thinks “a room should be open to all sorts of possibilities.”
In the Designer Visions Showhouse, she achieves flexibility in several places. I especially love how she designed the dining area off the kitchen. Steps from the appliances, the space was obviously meant for informal family dining, but by curtaining off the entire space, Alessandra allowed the dining room to function beautifully for entertaining as well.
So what happened to the space the builders intended for the formal dining room? Alessandra turned that into a cozy den plus home office area–more dual purpose.
3. Classic motifs
Alessandra asserts that she doesn’t “do period rooms,” but she does allow that she is “inspired by classical principals”. You can expect an Alessandra Branca interior to be sprinkled with classic motifs such as greek keys, chinoiserie, monograms, animal skins, intaglios and other timeless classics. They lend her interiors that special air of elegance.
4. Color and Pattern
Alessandra proudly proclaims that she has “no fear of color.” As for pattern, she believes that ”even elaborate patterns become almost neutral when used everywhere” and that layering and juxtaposing patterns create energy in a room.
Her deft touch with color and pattern is seen throughout her apartment in the Designer Visions Showhouse. She softened red in the living room to almost a blush shade with several different patterns in play.
In the master bedroom, Alessandra created serenity by swathing the room in her Anna Damask fabric for Schumacher in acid green–clearly illustrating her point that anything can become neutral if used everywhere.
5. Statement Pieces
A space designed by Alessandra Branca always includes distinctive pieces. Alessandra advises her clients “to be patient and not try to buy everything right away” adding that “good things are worth waiting for.”
In the Designer Visions Showhouse, she included wonderful items such as a fabulous Fornesetti cabinet, lamps attributed to Maison Jansen and a fun chair by Brooklyn artist Phillip Estlund featuring a decoupage collage on a vintage classic mid century chair.
Alessandra Branca says that she is “about detail, color, culture and comfort,” all of which she realizes in this gorgeous apartment. Follow her design secrets, shared here, to achieve the same in your own home.
If you are looking for more inspiration from Alessandra Branca, I highly recommend her book.
Designer Secrets is another new column for Decor Arts Now. Can you tell I am getting organized? As always, your feedback is most appreciated. Do you want to learn more designer secrets?
Credits: Except for the book image which is from Amazon, all photographs by Lynn Byrne for Decor Arts Now. All quotes and “design secrets” by Alessandra Branca drawn from her book, New Classic Interiors. Lynn Byrne is an Amazon affiliate. For more information head over to her “My Books” page.