Friday, December 7, 2007

Members Only

I had a fun evening at Soho House recently and although it looked like they might have relaxed the membership standards just a bit, I was surprised at how great the place still looks after four years. The interiors created by Ilse Crawford are modern and elegant and yet at the same time have that relaxed European feel. I have to come to think of that as her trademark and a style that I have loved since profiling her work for the Grand Hotel restaurant in Stockholm recently.


Crawford retained much of the building's original brick walls and timber beams. "Without those great bones, it would have been impossible to create the mix of amazing modern furniture and amazing vintage pieces." She also explained that her design was predominantly driven by an emotional reading of the Soho House clientele. "It's a happy, sexy place. You can have fun—but also do quite serious business."

The hotel rooms feel more like lofts than the usual hotel accommodations. Crawford created studies in contrast, energetic juxtapositions of ornate oversize French marriage beds, vintage armoires, modernist sofas by Piero Lissoni, and freestanding concrete tubs by Boffi.

In the library, Warren Platner's wire-frame seating and a velvet-upholstered sofa meet a floor lamp resembling an overblown desk lamp. The lamp's origins weren't given but you can find similar floor lamps from Design Within Reach and more reasonably priced at White on White.

In the Cinema Bar or White Room is just that. White. And modern with zebra skin rugs and white Moroccan poufs and also glamorous with it's mirrored bar.

The sixth floor displays a distinctively laid back edge. The restaurant boasts salvaged pine flooring, a new pressed-tin ceiling, and crystal chandeliers. Crawford likens the mix to wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a knockout pair of shoes. "It's boring to wear entirely fabulous things," she maintains. "I prefer to see the personality, not the decoration." The chesterfield sofas are also reminiscent of those she used in the Grand Hotel restaurant.

Crawford purposely waited to finish off the interiors with flea market purchases. On the rough painted brick wallsin the Drawing Room, she spontaneously decided to leave test patches of colors ranging from peacock and teal to petrol blue-green. "In my experience as a magazine editor," she says, "I learned that you need to combine the planned and the unplanned." The plastic armchairs are 1960's Italian.

The Library's cheeky custom wallpaper by Deborah Bowness serves as a backdrop for a Swan chair by Arne Jacobsen, twin armchairs by Jeffrey Bernett, and a conical chair from a New York flea market.

A Playhouse room's leather-covered chesterfield backs onto a stenciled wall above.

Aluminum chaise lounges line the teak decking of a rooftop pool area that made famous in an episode of Sex and the City. The roof also has fantastic views of the West Village and the Hudson River. Membership certainly has it's privileges!

19 comments:

Brilliant Asylum said...

A rooftop pool in New York City has to be one of the most extravagant things ever. Why can't all buildings have them?

Habitually Chic said...

BA, good question. There are some pools but you either have to be a member or sneak in. There was a great story in New York magazine about that.

I also feel like we need more outdoor decks, patios and terraces in general in the city. I love how in Europe they sit outside all winter long under heating lamps. Now that's chic!

Topsy Turvy said...

Funny, I've just been looking at Ilse Crawford's book again lately ("Home Is Where The Heart Is"). It's one that hasn't grown old for me, not only because of the gorgeous interiors and photos, but also the thoughts included. Seems like it's the thinking person's approach to interior design and how it affects our lives, and how our lives affect our interiors.
The book would be a good Christmas or Valentine's Day gift because of the beautiful red fabric cover.
Thanks for bringing her work to our attention.

Alice Olive said...

Beautiful. All of it. But I particularly love the hotel rooms - those freestanding concrete bathtubs are fabulous. I love how luxurious it looks while also quite stark.

Habitually Chic said...

Topsy Turvy, I have been meaning to pick up Ilse's book for a while now and you convinced me to buy it today! I really love her interiors and would love to see more!

Habitually Chic said...

Alice, I forgot to mention that the hotel rooms are available to the public, that is if they aren't already booked by members. I was looking this week and the place is booked solid and probably because the rooms are so beautiful.

Topsy Turvy said...

I definitely recommend it. Although it still leaves me wanting to see more of her work. :)

Jennifer Ramos said...

these are so great!
The rooftop pool in NYC i think ive seen it before ....

Jen Ramos
'Earth Friendly DESIGNER Cards'
www.madebygirl.com

nunu pepe' said...

I really like the part about mixing the unplanned with the planned, the paint sample sections give the room a sense of evolution. Thought I was familiar with her style your post has opened my eyes, thanks :)

lissa said...

Her studio link was oh so posh. They designed the concept for the Swarovski Crystal Branch chandelier that Gwenyth Paltrow displays in her dining room... God, I love British design.

Habitually Chic said...

Jennifer, the pool is very famous in NYC so I'm sure you've seen it before.

Habitually Chic said...

Nunu Pepe, I think people sometimes overplan their interiors, especially when they hire a professional. I love that Ilsa has a plan that she leaves open to chance.

Habitually Chic said...

Lissa, I need to read more about the chandelier concept. I too love British design. I always say I'd move to London if the weather wasn't so yucky. Oh well. I guess I'm just going to have to keep going to Soho House ;-)

Jacqui O said...

Interesting that she has used stencils as part of the design for one of the rooms. They seem to have gone out of fashion but I think they are a cost effective way of creating a unique room. I noticed that the winner of the Domino decorating contest used them extensively and created a beautiful theme.

Iheartfashion said...

So great! I've had my eye on one of those Boffi oval tubs forever, and would love to paper a little powder room in that library wallpaper.

Anonymous said...

You work in interior design yet you don't recognize an Arco lamp when you see one??

Habitually Chic said...

Anonymous, we don't use Arco lamps in our designs and without seeing the base, you can't tell if it's vintage, Arco or a White on White knock-off. Hence the links I added to the different types available.

Habitually Chic said...

Jacqui O, perhaps stencils will make a come back. The ones she used are beautiful.

Habitually Chic said...

I Heart Fashion, In one other photo of the library wallpaper, it really looks like a wall of books. It's so cheeky!

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