Nick Olsen’s New York Home Tour

“Don’t you feel like you’re at the bottom of a crystal clear ocean?” Nick Olsen asks of the sparkling baby blue he selected for a client’s living room ceiling. “I insisted a lot on that. The walls had this off-white cream color with a pink undertone so I knew it would work. This is the destructive instinct – and infectious energy – of a designer who makes a name for himself by working vivid colors in just about every project he takes on. And not just for fun.

Thomas loof

Take this blue ceiling, which unites an original mix of furniture and bounces daylight from tall windows to the other side of a 40-foot room. “They’re definitely not afraid of color,” says Olsen of the owners, a couple with three kids who commissioned him to breathe life into their contemporary 3,540-square-foot Manhattan townhouse. There were of course parameters. The house’s plasterboard walls and open floor plan would require some ingenuity to warm up. And “she didn’t want intense colors in every room,” Olsen says of the bride. With so many open public spaces not clearly defined by partitions or doors, Olsen couldn’t cover every wall in bold hues. “I didn’t want him to feel locked in or crowded,” he says. So he created reflective color areas throughout, guided by a particularly useful purchase. “It all started with the carpet. It is the literal foundation of the whole house. I had a few plans worked out, but I worked everything out when I found the Oushak Pale Aquamarine and Nantucket Red area rug, ”he recalls.



In the open living-dining room with the blue ceiling, where the rug reigns, the furniture with eclectic origins seems to be taken directly from its color palette: a neoclassical-inspired French-inspired limed oak desk, a B&B Italia chaise longue upholstered in Colefax coral and Fowler linen, a custom tufted sofa by Luther Quintana Upholstery in blue velvet, as well as various side tables, pillows and contemporary artwork in bright colors.

Blue bedroom with bird print tapestry and four-poster bed

Thomas loof

The same playful elegance permeates the rest of the home. In a child’s bedroom, the lemon-yellow stripes on the ceiling are reminiscent of parasols in the summer sun, and the playful La Fenêtre Ouverte fabric by Scalamandré (translation: “the open window”) perfectly complements the twin beds. In the den, which doubles as a guest bedroom, bamboo wallcovering is paired with a plush green linen velvet daybed and a Japanese screen purchased at auction. “It’s a fancy house, but it’s also easy going,” says Olsen. “They don’t like anything too formal or fussy with a capital F.”

Stylist: Robert Rufino



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