Soho Townhouse by Studio Giancarlo Valle

  • Soho Townhouse by Studio Giancarlo Valle

    In a young family’s Manhattan home, colour defines the mood for each room.

    An unassuming five-storey Manhattan townhouse provided a blank canvas for acclaimed New York-based designer Giancarlo Valle, where he transformed the existing white walls and generic details into a rich tapestry of bold coloured rooms, peppered with unique furniture and finishes. “They trusted us completely and bought into the idea of creating a mood in each room from the beginning,” Giancarlo says, whose brief was to create a cool collective for the young creative family.

    The designer worked closely with his clients who had strong opinions about colour, so the palette was the starting point for a lot of the rooms. “The colours were set very early on and we built up from that,” Giancarlo recalls. “My clients requested dark burgundy for the dining room where weekly dinner parties are hosted, and this captured the spirit of what they wanted,” he says. The colour wheel exploration plays out in the warm terracotta den, in the lettuce green kitchen, and in the aubergine bathroom. “The idea of the dark blue master bedroom came from having a dark space to sleep in and we just kind of ran with it,” Giancarlo adds.

    The spaces, although varied in colour and style, are unified by handcrafted details. “Each room had to have its own feel, but it was important to make sure we did not lose the continuity of it feeling like one family and home,” Giancarlo says. Traditional Moroccan Zellige tiles add a defined texture to the fireplaces in the living and dining rooms and vanities in powder rooms, while plaster lines the walls of the living room and sculptural staircase. “The plaster stair is a palette cleanser in many ways, while each room is saturated in its own distinct way,” Giancarlo explains.

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    The living space features a custom baby blue sofa, vintage Chan coffee table by Philip and Kelvin Laverne and chairs that are the result of a collaboration between design studio Green River Project and fashion label Bode. Artwork by Martin Kippenberger features on the left of the Moroccan-tile clad hearth, and a piece by artist Robert Bittenbender on the right.

    Giancarlo’s distinctive design language weaves seamlessly throughout the home, creating a subtle cohesiveness, where bespoke furniture like the sculptural burled oak dining table form the centrepiece of many of the spaces. “We didn’t want it to feel like a conference table so we carved the table to create two zones at either end so it could also be used for smaller parties and not feel empty,” Giancarlo says.

    The custom components move from the macro to the micro, from the sinuous shelving in the children’s rooms to the joinery handles throughout. “There is a thinking that we have a lot of ingredients we like to use but we are always tweaking the recipe,” Giancarlo says. It’s this unique approach to the project that ensures an unexpected outcome, tailored for the client yet exemplar of the unmistakable handwriting of the studio.


    This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue #43.

    “The colours were set very early on and we built up from that…”


    – Giancarlo Valle

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the look