Once in a while, a house comes along that stops your heart. For me, that house will usually open with a green, hand painted, Chinoiserie papered foyer, and expand into a gracious Georgian with lots of classically proportioned spaces, full of wonderful millwork, covered in luscious fabrics and beautiful prints, inhabited by iconic furniture and antique pieces, all whipped up together in that fabulously English combination of opulence and restraint.
And, boy, does this manse in Long Island's fabled Locust Valley by Christopher Maya fit the bill!! Created as a Chinese-American family's first home in the US, this stunning Georgian perfectly blends eastern and western elegance.
Yes, you guessed it. I'm over here peeling myself off my own floor. Obviously, this space is all about the green Gracie paper ("ggp"), but let's not overlook the arched door, real console table (with only two front legs, resting against the wall), and that precious tape-trimmed pelmet hiding in the back left.
The grand living room is swathed in a sunny, buttery yellow. The sunny hue really makes this imposing room bright and friendly. Obviously, this is a room filled with gorgeous, impossibly high end pieces, but, don't you just want to throw yourself on those happy pea green velvet sofas? I can actually see that ottoman tray being removed and a raucous post-dinner game of Scrabble going down here! And, that ol' Audubon flamingo print never fails to make me smile.
Although I appreciate we can't really call anything in this home "clean-lined," this side gallery has a sense of streamlined classicism with its plain, untrimmed, yellow slipper chairs, slim banquettes (clad in the La Manache fabric famously covering Lee Radziwill's living room), unfussy demilunes topped with single jars and simple round mirrors, and the quick shock of the black casement french doors. Obviously, that triple ribbon trimmed center table is making my heart beat faster. And it would be criminal not to mention those totally dreamy limewashed door surrounds.
As a self confessed "red hater", I am actually loving this library. In his House Beautiful interview, Maya explains that the house has several, subtle nods to eastern tradition, particularly the inclusion of red, the Chinese color of good luck. And I just want to applaud this whole design team for making this library a light, knotty pine-clad space with red soft furnishings as opposed to the much more obvious all-red paneled library.
The breakfast room is pure Americana country elegance, a nod to the Sister Parrish influenced aesthetic of this uber patrician part of Long Island.. The space is draped in a beautiful floral which contrasts wonderfully against the geometric painted floors.
The second floor landing is a vignette straight out of my dreams, complete with dog portrait! The cheeky yellow ikat on that Louis XVI chair makes this whole space.
The master bedroom is a calming, creamy, tonal space. I love how the whispers of olive green and cobalt blue present in the floral on the armchairs is pulled right out for the bedding trim, ceramic lamps, and that fierce little tufted sofa!
This utterly charming turquoise explosion of a daughter's bedroom is an elegant, sassy, teenage dream. Quadrille's "Henriot" fabric is employed beautifully on the headboard and fluffy relaxed balloon shade. The floral's old school look is balanced by the animal inspired spot wallpaper, also by Quadrille. And if you're missing the punctuating blue trim around the window and along the mouldings, you're missing the whole point.
The back sunroom, clad in crisp white treillage overlaying bright, pure sky blue walls is a masterful example of how to make an imposing, formal space utterly happy and charming. The matching, blue, pagoda-inspired lantern is stealing my heart. And the nubby, braided, sisal rug, anchoring the rich center table, gives the space such a shot of relaxation. A treillaged (yes, I verb-ed it) sunroom is always a welcome sight, and this one has such an interesting balance between traditional formality and cheery friendliness.
So, yes, this incredible Georgian style manse is filled to the brim with gorgeous, crazy expensive, super traditional furnishings and finishing, BUT, at the same time, I can't get over how really happy and friendly the whole scheme is. Old world elegance can be achieved with taste and training (and budget), but making it someplace one could actually live is a whole 'nother thing.
You can check out the original House Beautiful story, and interview with Christopher Maya here.