It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint and a massive reorganization can do. HOVEYDESIGN.com is all spiffed up, our work and (staging, interiors and product design) projects sorted! Many thanks to Graham Weatherly for all the hard work to get this baby going. We still feel like we're in the midst of a week-long cyber housewarming party. Now, onto the brick and mortar HQ...
One day in early August, I looked over the the industrial stairs leading to my bedroom and thought, wow, that white looks a little dingy. So, in typical fashion, instead of settling on a good scrub and a little touch up, I figured they'd be completely better stairs if covered with...animals.
So, I did scrub them and then started painting a snake.
The snake took form about two hours later and I stared at it for another two with pride. That snake covered one half of one riser. But I was so pleased with myself, that I kept looking at it with pride for another week without painting another dot. Porter wasn't as proud. "Don't you love the snake?!" "Yes, but I know you. We're gonna have stairs with one snake for the rest of time." A challenge!
So I painted another snake and developed grand visions of a whole staircase menagerie. Bird wings! Cheetahs! A whole Noah's ark. Something like this Amristar pictoral rug from India that Sotheby's is auctioning off on Oct. 1.
The wallpaper (and the marble!)! That was exactly what the snake needed.
So, I started making squiggly shapes and painted them in. Where a snake with a very nice highlight down its back takes about two hours, random shapes are somehow like the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
I forced myself to knock off the ridiculous detailing, which was akin to painting with a single hair, and scribbled in the main bits. I actually liked this loose version more - like a poor man's Le Corbusier/Jean Cocteau! - but I'd already started with the Type A mania, so I soldiered on with the micro brush.
Painting stairs sounds fun and simple, but the hardest part is contorting your body. I laid across them, kneeled on them, three quarters-bottom rested on them. Every maneuver starts like a nice yoga move. After about 10 minutes, blood circulation is lost, percentages of the body you never thought could tingle are tingling, and your posture is like Quasi Modo's. Not fun, but it gives you an excuse for multiple-day breaks between little sections.
In the midst of working on the Sistine Chapel portion, I pondered the next level and knew it had to be pink, dusty, rosy pink, like the Raf Simons for adidas Stan Smiths that I'm dying to get next spring (if I don't get the bronze). I thought pink marble might be fun, but agate would be even better. I found a beautiful quartz one and there was level two.
Ever since my Vienna trip last year, I've wanted to create a Klimt-like pattern with highlights of gold leaf. Gold acrylic paint is much easier, so I went with that and painted stripes of random thickness with a raw umber band across the top. When finishing the left half, I fell in love with the masking tape lines, so I ended up recreating those, painstakingly, with peachy paint. Damned masking tape.
And for the bottom stair, I looked left to my mini-bar that sits on top of a slab of Italian marble that I found at a junk shop for $50. In the end, that one ended up being the simplest and my favorite of the four. Of course.
Check out the @hoveydesign instagram feed for some very simple DIY tip videos that show how easy it is to marbleize like this! Now that I've conquered the stairs, I might be onto the doors...or FLOORS!
Over the next few days, we're take everyone on a tour of our favorite semi-affordable things (you know, stuff you could get for less than the cost of a Celine bag) hitting the block at auction houses this fall. First up, Bonhams' Art + Decor Including the Estate of Gloria Reese, August 17 at 9 a.m. PDT.
The fact that Porter and I got the opportunity to even step inside the Dakota (the entrance is easily New York's most intimidating. Fire! Gates! Multiple doormen!) makes us giddy; getting to stage an apartment inside it still seems completely unreal.
This unit, 28AB, used to be two, and now includes three massive rooms - one living and dining area and two others, which we made into bedrooms. Two rooms (the living/dining room and former master bedroom) had floral and leafy wallpaper that had to stay, so we embraced it: This, in our minds, had been the pied-à-terre of a world renown Scandinavian naturalist who adored the building for its history and stone's-throw proximity to the American Museum of Natural History. Yes! (In reality, it belongs to the estate of a very notable television star from the '70s, '80s and '90s).
We wanted the third room you see here (previously a large office painted a pinky red) to feel completely
refreshing and allow the potential owner to walk through the apartment
in a progression of light to dark.
The great geometric side tables are the Tyreso from France & Søn. The flowers are faux from our go-to floral haven CFD in the flower district.
We took our mom's framed Hermes scarf from our living room and placed it over the working fireplace and flanked it with each of our porcelain cockatiels, Christmas gifts from our Aunt Rita a couple years back.
We used an expensive (it kills me how expensive good shades are) oval mint shade from Just Shades and added a jade leaf finial to an Ikea lamp.
Our dad's oval leather-topped desk also made it in, to sit below an abstract expressionist oil painting that I found in Williamsburg. The chair is from Organic Modernism.
Here you can see the progression into the cozy darkness (and the incredible floors).
The living/dining area was our biggest challenge. Beyond all the wallpaper, the room is dominated by the most massive, heavy fireplace and mantelpiece in the history of fireplaces and mantelpieces. So, we had to choose incredibly simple furniture that wouldn't compete or clash. In a miracle of ebay, we found a meticulous collector of fine, original Danish mid-century furniture in Brooklyn who was selling off a good portion of his collection. We started off with the coffee table and ended up buying the dining room table, the dining chairs, the arm chairs, the JL Moller side chairs and the brass lamp that sits in the other bedroom.
I've fallen in love with the work of the incredible Aboriginal artist, Tatali Nangala. We were desperate for a large piece of art to fill the main wall, so I painted a version of "Kaarkurutinytja, Lake MacDonald" that belongs to the Museum Victoria.
We found the leather rhino at Erie Basin in Red Hook. The sleek couch is the Cleveland-B from Organic Modernism.
Good omens in the fireplace, it seems.
The former master bedroom needed a major spiff. There was aged wall-to-wall carpet and the back wall was off white, which didn't quite match the leaf wallpaper. To give it some weight and balance, we opted to expose those beautiful floors and go dark with Benjamin Moore's Artichoke. I copied (and tweaked) Sonia Delaunay's Color Rhythm from 1946 to add a "modern" and feminine touch.
I love these little quartz finials, too; a another feminine detail.
How fun is Organic Modernism's Flamingo table here in this otherwise very traditional vignette? The little Swedish portrait of a mom and her son from the 1920s is one of my prized possessions and quite lovely in here, I think.
The kitchen is pretty teeny, but full of mirrors and chrome. We opted to paint it all dark so the objects inside would pop, much like a Dutch still life.
Below are the official fish eye real estate pics to give you an idea of the full rooms...and some actual historical info:
Extraordinary opportunity to own a two bedroom, two bath
home at the historic Dakota on Central Park West; one of New York City’s finest
residential addresses. In addition, this offering presents a very large
basement studio with high ceilings and full marble bathroom that could be used
as an art or work studio, home office, storage or more. This splendid home is
ideally positioned in one of the Avenue’s premier white glove buildings across
the street from Central Park and all the best the area has to offer.
residence in this historic building is special and unlike anything else in the
city. Apartment 28AB boasts remarkable scale and detail that is truly unique to
Grand proportions are showcased by over 14-foot ceilings and huge
arched windows in every room while keeping the home bright and airy throughout.
An expansive formal room creates enough room for both living and entertaining.
Elaborate details include blended patterned hardwood floors, two hand-carved
wood-burning fireplace mantels with marble hearths, extra tall solid wood doors
with original fixtures and etched glass, stunning moldings, original sunburst
copper grills, marble window sills, built-in window shutters and contoured
Abundant storage has been created by the combination and each
bedroom features a full en-suite bathroom; both bathrooms in excellent
condition. This remarkable apartment offers an extraordinary opportunity to
create a home of your dreams in a superb Upper West Side location in a landmark
The Dakota, is a premier prewar cooperative building located within
the Central Park West Historic Area. Truly a unique New York architectural gem
and perhaps the most well-known apartment building in Manhattan, its air of
elegance and luxury has not changed since its opening in 1884.
For more details, see the full listing for 1 West 72nd Street, Apartment 28AB here.