A young family with a summer home in Quogue, New York, recently turned to to design a space where they could entertain summer visitors, many with young children in tow. The result is a perfect embodiment of Lawrence’s style—an aesthetic that he calls “magical yet livable,” in a space that doesn’t feel out of context with the property yet manages to show off some whimsical features. To wit: a mural inspired by Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, as well as a ceiling that mimics the iconic sky painted overhead in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.
“I look for serenity in spaces,” Lawrence says. “One of our primary goals with this project was to have moments of whimsy throughout the home, but not to feel overwhelmed.” Lawrence, who previously worked for Paul Siskin of Siskin Valls and spent seven years working with ELLE Decor A-List designer Thom Filicia, founded his own firm in 2006. He has decorated apartments on Park Avenue, pied-à-terres overlooking Central Park, and lofts in TriBeCa, as well as a standout sitting room in the 2019 Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse.
Here, Lawrence talks about his inspiration and approach to designing this beach house for both children and parents alike.
ELLE Decor: What were your design goals with this home?
Rodney Lawrence: The client had just finished another home in the same area and wanted to create a comfortable space to receive family guests during the summer. The only design restriction we got from the client was not changing the footprint of the house. The original floor plan had a multitude of small, disjointed rooms, so we chose instead to create fewer and larger rooms. For instance, we intentionally eliminated a formal dining space, as meals would be primarily outdoors or in the main property. I wanted the design to look fresh but timeless. The walls were painted an off-white shade, creating a neutral canvas for the colors and textures of the furniture and other finishes.
ED: Right when you walk in the door, there is this incredible floor treatment and color in the foyer. Tell us about that.
RL: There is a Moorish design undertone throughout the house. The foyer floor is composed of tiles inset into the wood flooring to look like an Oriental rug. The latticework design in the sidelights on either side of the entry door and the mosaiclike quality of the wallpaper also nod toward Moroccan design.
ED: What inspired the living room ceiling mural?
RL:爱博体育下载 During the construction, in opening up the main living space, we found ourselves with a very large and bare tray ceiling. The client has a passion for astronomy, so I suggested that we do our own version of the ceiling at Grand Central. There is color throughout the house, but it asserts itself best as surprising moments—when looking up or through passageways from one part of the house to another.
ED: The living room mural isn’t the only part of the house where your eyes are drawn to the ceiling. There is also an incredible glass ceiling mosaic.
RL: Years before this project, at the closing of Tavern on the Green, I had attended an auction with the clients for the sale of all the interior decor. We purchased a rose window composed of Tiffany jewel glass that eventually made its way into one of the ceilings of this house. I think it is one of the most magical things about this home.
ED: And children must feel the magic in this home, too. How did you decide to use scenes from Where the Wild Things Are to cover the walls of the kids’ bedroom and playroom?
RL: Our client has a young family, and they mentioned that many of their guests would most likely have children with them. We wanted to incorporate spaces that would make children comfortable. Where the Wild Things Are爱博体育下载 is one of their children’s favorite books, so it seemed like an easy choice.
ED: What’s next for you?
RL:爱博体育下载 We have been busy working on projects in New York City, Connecticut, and South Florida. We’ve also been working on a couple of corporate projects and started a conversation about designing a few pieces of furniture and lighting.