It was blue-eyed Grace Kelly, really, who put this sparkling spot along the French coastline on the map for us, when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956, stopping the hearts of fans who loved her in Hitchcock romantic thrillers, including “To Catch a Thief” and “Rear Window.”
Though Monaco is known for upscale casinos, a deep blue, yacht-lined harbor and the Grand Prix, residents still crave quiet elegance and serenity when they unlock the doors to their homes – in this case, the door to a three-bedroom, three-bath apartment in a luxury high-rise.
That’s where designer Sandra Hinton stepped in. “The city has always been a part of my life. My mother was born and raised there and my grandmother is still there. I visit regularly and lived in Monaco in 2005,” Hinton recalls. “I market my business as a European design studio based in Los Angeles.”
“My clients have an almost unobstructed view,” notes Hinton. The sweeping eye candy takes in the palace, the stunning harbor and Jardin Exotique, a botanical garden built into a cliffside.
The clients found Hinton through a family connection and hired her to furnish their empty rental. Works of art and photos inspired much of the design. The goal: To combine some antiques and contemporary art and make it all feel balanced, cozy and comfortable, not overcrowded or overwhelming.
The antiques are from the husband’s Dutch side of the family. The art is from the wife, who was a photography expert at Sotheby’s in the 1980s and has collected photos ever since.
“The couple was thrilled that I was able to incorporate the family antiques and modernize them without bastardizing them. The wife was not a huge fan of her husband’s antiques until I got my hands on them,” reveals Hinton.
The living room and dining room are adjacent in the open plan; the blue couches, dressed in a fabric as lovely as a Princess Grace gown, were inspired by the Enoc Perez oil painting of Lovell House in Los Angeles, built in the late 1920s.Sofas from Meridiani Louis Up Collection upholstered in fabric from the Travel Memories line. Shagreen-top coffee table from JNL. Bookshelf, Holly Hunt. Fabric for drapes from GP & J Baker.
“I wanted a palette that complemented the painting. Hence, teal Meridiani sofas, pastel-green armchairs and soft pastels in the carpet. It took some work to convince my clients; the wife was concerned it would be too ‘matchy-matchy.’ She gravitates toward reds and warmer colors,” Hinton adds.
In the dining room, the sailboat photo is a projection from the “Golden Hours” video installation by Gonzalo Lebrija. Blue tie-ins – on top of the tall wood cabinet – include 17th-century Dutch Delft, which the husband inherited from his family, and Venetian, Lalique and even some Ikea vases.Dining table with dark marble top from Casamilano. Chairs from Promemoria. Carpet, The Rug Company.
“The modern pieces update the look and juxtapose nicely with the antiques,” explains Hinton. The cabinet, for storing tableware, dates to 17th-century Holland and belonged to the husband’s grandmother.
In keeping with the soothing, subtle palette, for the bedroom, Hinton upholstered the tufted headboard in rich gray velvet. On the night table, antique silver – polished to a sheen – adds shine and plays on the stone-colored tones.Decorative pillows custom-made with fabric from the Meridiani Travel Memories Collection.
“It doesn’t rain much at all in Monaco,” concludes Hinton. “It’s generally sunny and warm.” And the forecast inside this apartment is always clear and calm, not a cloud in the sky.
Photography by Richard Powers.
Like what you see? Get it first with a subscription to ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.