An Art Deco-Inspired Home Glimmers on the Waterfront

Designer Ron Marshall designs a home filled with Art Deco finds.

Photographs by Keith Scott Morton and Eric Richards

Good shoppers are artists. To have watched interior designer Ronald Marshall and his client shopping together at Manhattan antiques stores was to have witnessed artists at work. “We’d go shopping for something we knew we needed for a room, perhaps a desk or a lighting fixture,” explains Marshall, “but every time we were in an antiques store and found that ‘thing’ we wanted, we were always surprised. What we’d envisioned in our mind beforehand was different than what we actually found—and what we found was usually better. When you go shopping and can pinpoint certain pieces and see them amid all the other stuff around, that’s an art.”

For this client and her husband, the art of shopping involved seeking a specific kind of art. So, it was only necessary that she embark on regular shopping expeditions with Marshall. Admittedly, lunch breaks were often not included.

With Marshall’s admiration of Art Deco, the client soon realized that she, too, embraced the style—in everything from armchairs to lighting fixtures. To add, her husband had been smitten with sculpted figures of women from the 1920s and ’30s for years. She refers to them as “my husband’s Art Deco girls.”

While the couple made architectural changes to the house on the exterior, they kept everything inside intact. The dining room, for instance, featured a wall fresco depicting a tranquil landscape. To literally jazz it up, Marshall found a faceted, jewel-like octagonal mirror. Over a sinuously-lined Deco cabinet, the mirror immediately transforms the traditional scene into something out of the Jazz Age.

White Kitchen Design

Photographs by Keith Scott Morton and Eric Richards

For the kitchen, the client wanted a room that felt both more glamorous and homey at the same time. So, Marshall configured comfortable seating stools at the island, upholstering them in a Deco-inspired fabric from Clarence House. The designer also added a handsome lighting fixture from the late 1920s above. Colorful 1960s Murano glass vases serve as accent pieces to finish the space. The design reflects the clients liking for Modern objects from later decades perfectly.

Indicative of the rapport Marshall established with the client on their shopping trips, he surprised the couple with an abstract Art Deco sculpture. Upon their return from vacation, the surprise was waiting on a stairway landing. “The moment my husband and I got back from the trip and saw it, we thought the piece was fabulous,” says the client. “Exactly the right piece in exactly the right place. That’s what Ron does. He knows how to surprise me.”

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Period Perfect.
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