A Classic & Thrifty NYC Apartment
Hello there. You all know I am obsessed with all things home so I am SUPER excited to share with you a new series where we will be featuring fabulous real life interiors that really capture the individual living in them. This series will not only bring jaw-dropping eye candy (we love that) but it will also give us a little insight about the design process, the designer, how they came about completing the final reveal and many other interior design related topics. As many of you know, designing and decorating takes time, a bit of effort and money (usually, anyways) so I truly hope this series is fun, exciting and educational for all of you. Sit back, let your eyes roam around and your jaw drop so fast you won't be able to catch it on time.
First up we have the talented Peter Valcarcel who is an interior designer, stylist and home accessories designer in Astoria, Queens, New York City. He's worked for Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Calvin Klein all of which are outstanding brands with an apparent refined and classic style. There he worked on styling their interiors, an opportunity beyond his wildest dreams. It is such an honor to be featuring his very own classically curated home here on the blog for our viewing pleasure, so let's get right into it.
A Classically Curated Apartment
Go on... Read my interview with Peter while this girl swoons over the symmetry in that room! Just divine.
What's your design style?
My design style is very ecliptic and I have to say not always the same. However, I do arrange things with symmetry and balance always. For me a room needs to balanced, with furniture, color or texture. I also get inspired by different things in different places, in the city I like more layers of things and in the country or beach I prefer a lot less fuss and more function - I leave nature to be the star of the show.
How did you begin to design and decorate your home?
As soon as my one and only roommate moved out! Paper and pen come out and I started to plan what to get and where to put it - of course, over the years that vision has been morphing into other ideas, when you work in interior design your home is like your laboratory and so I try things at home that I later use at work. I also bring ideas from work that I use at home.
How did you manage to mix and match so many different vintage, thrift store finds and even items you found on the curb?
To me mixing things when decorating is part of life. I think at our core we are gatherers and so we love to collect and that is reflected in the things we keep at home. For my apartment in particular, I had one vision and I kept that vision until it was done, and so I only gathered things that fit that vision. I also think when mixing styles of periods the best thing to do is to start with very little and add until you think you have enough.
Your home feels very classic, warm and cozy, what are your tips for recreating this?
Texture! Mix textures before mixing colors and think about how would you feel if you were a guest in your own living room. Create areas within areas and fill the room with things that mean something to you and don't forget lighting. You can set the right mood by placing lamps and other sources of light in different parts of the room - it's best to have many light sources with low wattage bulbs than to have just one illuminating everything. Controlling light can be a wonderful thing.
What is your favorite space in the home and your favorite item?
My favorite place in my home right now is my TV room. I love to sit there and watch tv or read a book. Sometimes when I have friends over we use that room because it feels more intimate and because it has my favorite thing in my apartment, my fireplace! I don't get to use it often but when I do I feel I am somewhere outside NYC.
How does living in Astoria, NYC influence the decor?
I think the influence comes from NYC in general and being exposed to so many different things at the same time and seeing so much of the business everyday. I have been very lucky to work with extremely creative people, that I think you can only find in NYC. I do have to point out that there are a few great "previously owned furniture" stores in Astoria that are worth the trip.
You're an interior designer. How's it like designing other people's homes? The process from concept to completion?
Designing for other people is very regarding.
What element do you seem to always incorporate into each of the interiors you design?
Books. I love books and I think they tell a story of who lives in the home so I love to decorate with books in every room in the home.
What color palette do you seem to gravitate towards the most?
For a while I was very into grays, whites and cream - actually cream and white is one of my favorite combinations. Now, I find myself wanting a touch of color here and there, specially blues and greens. That is the beauty of interior design, it never stays the same.
What advice can you give to those wanting to start in the interior design industry?
To me the most important part for being in this industry is to maintain an open mind about all kinds of styles, even the ones you don't like. There is always something to learn. Stay involved in the arts, visit museums, read magazines and feed your creativity to the fullest.
You've traveled to Peru and even had your Astoria home featured in a magazine there by Sebastian Smith. How are the interiors there? How was the whole experience like.
Being in Peru was fantastic and very rewarding. I was invited by EXPODECO to speak at their fair and that created a media buzz that had me in many magazines and even a couple of TV shows. Interiors are no different than the ones you see here but of course since style is not only geographical but also personal you see the subtle differences. I can't wait to go back to Peru and see what other great projects I can start there.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
NYC is a great source of inspiration and that is why I live here, still. I think when you are creative you are inspired the moment that you wake up. Yes there are times when inspiration does not come easily and in those moments I run to the closest museum and spend as much time looking at art as possible, so far that has worked like a charm.
Only coming from such a talented and artistic person, you've created a beautiful line of rugs, pillows and throw blankets. We all love textiles. Tell us more about your line and what makes it special?
I was asked to create a line of rug exclusively for Framar (www.alfombrasframar.com) that would be my interpretation of the 60 years Framar has been in the industry in Peru and South America. I am super excited and very honored to continue my collaboration with them. In May 2016 my second line of rugs will debut in Peru during EXPODECO. The first collection was a throw back to what Framar has done for so many years but of course through my NYC eyes. My second collection is all about lines and where they take you, where they begin and where they end - it's a journey. My pillow and throw collection is a little different as they are done to order only and mostly sold to interior designers. In a way it's the best of both worlds, I get to create one of a kind things that are put in beautiful spaces but they are also used and enjoyed. I love designing home accessories because they are the jewels to a room but they also offer comfort, beauty and function all in one.
Photos By: Sebastian Smith
I am more than pleased with this first installment of 'Home Tours' here on the blog and even more honored to have featured Peter Valcarcel's home here too. It is an absolute dream. What do you think of his amazing use of space, texture, symmetry and just awesome items in his home? The dog sculptures throughout, anyone? What's your favorite bit? Did you notice how he organizes his shoes on that shelve unit in the master bedroom? So smart!