The Detailed Interior | Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis

We all know that the devil is in the details and in The Detailed Interior, Elissa Cullman and Tracey Pruzan of Cullman & Kravis, share the magic of the vital smaller elements and detailed components that contribute to the success of the bigger decorating picture. From elegant New York City apartments to spacious country estates to sophisticated ski houses, you’ll learn how the talented team at Cullman & Kravis assembles this tapestry of coordinated details to create beautiful and balanced spaces.

CullmanSometimes it’s the geography, fabric or emotion that inspires the details but in this stunning New York City pied-a-terre, it was the owner’s passion for vintage photography. Inspired by French Deco design and the stylish interiors of movies from the 1940s, the apartment was transformed into a luxurious modern aerie with a connection to the past. Neutrals set the tone in the elegant entry as an understated luxe background for the photos. Rich Venetian plaster covers the walls topped with a gilded dome ceiling, picking up the details in the brass bordered marble and onyx floor and Jacques Adnet oak and gilt-bronze console table. I love how the mosaic circle on the floor echoes the dentil detail on the ceiling and etched band of the Art Moderne mirror.

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In the study, Deco masters Ruhlmann and Leleu inspired the custom designed desk and chair, specifically made to accommodate the small space. High-gloss walls inset with leather panels, a marble and brass light fixture and glass paneled pocket doors with gilt details continue the luxurious cream and gold theme with sumptuous textural subtleties.

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Bespoke details in the gorgeous powder room continue to tell the story of deco inspired luxury. Metallic thread grass cloth is the perfect foil for the impact of the black and white photos. And the geometry of the custom vanity with faux metal gilded molding relates not only to the mirror and light but back to the design of the pocket doors and cabinetry in the study. And note how the interplay of circles and squares is one that helps to unite the spaces.

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For a new Georgian style house on one hundred acres in New Jersey, the firm had to conceive of a decor that was fitting for its stately proportions yet still accommodated modern living. Like the many thoughtful architectural details that lend the house a sense of age, this vignette in the dining room feels timelessly elegant.

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And I love how Cullman & Kravis used stenciling on the floor in the enviable china hall. Its pattern is so complimentary to the millwork and elliptical shape of the room, adding a high country warmth to the formality of the home.

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The breadth of their work is impressive as can be seen in this amazing mountain house in Colorado. An upscale rustic chic is achieved through a sophisticated mix of western references interwoven with English and French pieces. The enormous living room, for example, features Jean-Michel Frank style sofas with a cowhide-upholstered Irish oak chair and antique wing chairs upholstered in weathered leather. It’s impressive yet cozy and comfortable.

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And in the connecting barn, the architecture and decoration takes on an even more rough hewn spirit with antler chairs and large stone hearth.

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And finally, departing in another design direction, is this opulent Palm Beach house (pictured on the cover) filled with wit and whimsy. In a landmark 1931 house, tradition meets its modern match with an eclectic mix of art, eras and materials. In the entry, a Regency style bone veneer bench is paired with the bold color statement of the art.

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And in the master bedroom, a similar blue and green color scheme results in a fresh contemporary rendition of Palm Beach chic. A gold leaf bed and gorgeous antique chinoiserie beside cabinets add a luxurious layer to the room.

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And the four grandchildren must love to visit and stay in this charming bunk room, with marvelous built-ins and nautical accoutrements. High and low meet from fish-embroidered custom linens to Mr. Potato Head.

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This is just a peek at just a few of the projects, many never published before, included in this lavishly photographed volume. And do make sure to get a copy of the October Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, which includes my piece on a conversation with Ellie and Mario Buatta about their books, each other and the state of design. For even more from the distinguished duo, look for a video visit with the designers and editorial director D.J. Carey at the eminent antiques emporium Florian Papp, set to debut on the Cottages and Gardens site next month.

photos of NYC apartment, NJ and Palm Beach houses by Eric Piasecki; photos of Colorado house by David Marlow

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5 Responses to The Detailed Interior | Decorating Up Close with Cullman & Kravis

  1. I have always loved Cullman & Kravis for their timeless evolving design aesthetic–the book brings it all together.

  2. Franki says:

    This one left me breathless (never wordless.) These renditions are so incredibly well thought out and executed it is just…perfect. The attention to detail, etc. I loved every element. franki

  3. Their attention to detail is spot on. What a varied body of work and each example well thought out!

  4. What wonderful designs, so well balanced and interesting but they don’t look “done”.

  5. The Brown House: Antiques, Art, Comforts of Life says:

    What a wonderful compilation of both classic and modern form/ arrangement and complementary neutral and vibrant color. Thank you for sharing! Always enjoy your posts…Charles

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