Glamour magazine makeover guru Suze Yalof Schwartz is a font of bold ideas at work. But she was stuck in a style rut at home. Decorator Matthew Sudock helped channel Suze’s latent domestic flair into a cohesive, modern decor that’s totally her.
First, Suze told Matthew about her obsession with the color green, her love of sea coral and her vintage vase collection. She then scoured magazines, pulling pictures that spoke to her, and Matthew began assembling inspiration bulletin boards. He pinned up magazine pages, fabric samples and catalog picks, all within a distinct color palette. The boards served as evolving snapshots of each room as the design process progressed.
- I don’t know how to incorporate color.
- I need space to store stuff but don’t want it to look like storage.
- I crave child-friendly spill-proof fabrics that are elegant.
- I want my apartment to look as pulled-together as a boutique hotel, but still feel lived in.
From stroller parking to primping station
The entry hall now does double duty as a storage space and get-ready area. Matthew custom-designed the lattice-motif mirror and the console, where Suze stashes her stationery and photos. The lacquer tray, the geometric pattern of the mirror and the molding on the console all evoke mid-century Palm Springs modern. The blue lacquered umbrella stand gives a kick of energy to this quiet scene.
From makeshift office
to proper dining area
Since the dining and living areas share one big room, Matthew continued the green-and-blue theme with a panel of stretched Marimekko fabric on the wall and a dark blue chair that was already there. He kept Suze’s bookcase and table (Suze’s tabletop sprawl is now in boxes on the living area shelves), but he brought in new dining chairs. They tone down the table’s austerity and are more practical than they appear—the white commercial-grade upholstery fabric can be wiped down after a spaghetti dinner.
From desert of white to pop-y oasis
A piece of stretched canary yellow canvas doubles as art and a striking alternative to a headboard. To keep it from getting too girly, Suze and Matthew chose a navy-and-white theme for the bedding. Matthew found the nightstands at a thrift store and had them refinished; now things can be hidden behind doors. Since the bedside lamps had looked insignificant next to the king-size bed, Matthew replaced them with tall gourd lamps to balance out the bed’s expanse and add drama.
From mishmash to
Although the family room had served as both a work space and a television zone, it wasn’t set up to do either with ease. Matthew separated the desk and TV armoire that had been jammed against the same wall, creating distinct areas. He had a desk custom-made (doing away with a jerry-rigged slipcovered table) and grouped the sofas around an area rug near the armoire for cozier TV-watching. To cut the all-white color scheme, Matthew introduced red accents: the ottoman, lamp, coral and throw pillows.
tricks of the tradeMatthew Sudock reveals his insider techniques and secret sources.
stretched fabric panels make instant art
If you don’t have the right piece of art or just want a
fast fix for a bland wall, fabric is a great solution. Matthew buys stretchers at an art supply store and attaches the fabric with a heavy-duty staple gun. He recommends stretching the fabric over the frame as tightly as possible (pulling opposite, not adjacent, sides in tandem) and neatly folding the corners. Ever the perfectionist, Matthew even backs some frames with grosgrain ribbon so the staples won’t scuff the wall.
custom-made furniture is
This is a great option if you can’t find what you want or you need something to fit the exact dimensions of your space. It’s not necessarily cheaper to have a piece made but, depending on the shop, it can be reasonably priced.
area rugs bring definition to a room
An area rug gives character to an undefined space
and makes it feel more homey. Furniture should either
be on or off an area rug, not straddling it. When choosing
a size, consider the floor it will rest on. If you have wood
parquet, for example, you’ll want the rug to line up cleanly
with the tiling.