When it comes to designing an interior, it’s rare that Pre-Columbian vessels and exotic masks would play well with the spirit of a seven-year-old child. Such was the task at hand for Chicago interior designer Amy Kartheiser and her recent design project of a Tribeca loft.
The clients – who are both international lawyers and global travelers – had a simple edict, “make the home a chic, modern and sophisticated Manhattan loft that would showcase all of their art and still be a home for a seven-year-old,” notes the designer. Taking her design cues from a collection that included a mix of art purchased in galleries as well as artifacts discovered on their travels, her first order of business was to “unwrap all of the wonderful pieces of art that had been hidden under a table wrapped in bubble wrap for years. My vision became this art wall I designed, as well as special placements for each curated piece.” The discoveries included a Dogon door from Marrakech, an early 19th-century Chinese round millstone and various rugs and tables from Morocco.
Kartheiser, recognized as one of Chicago’s top contemporary designers, was also influenced by the architecture of the 4000-square-foot loft that was located in the historic Grabler Manufacturing Company (known for pipe fitting), a condo conversion from 2008. For the furnishing selections, she notes, “I took cues from the architecture, playing feminine against masculine. The sofas and cocktail tables reiterate the curves of the windows while the leather daybed suggests the strength of the columns that run the length of the condo. The end product balanced refined pieces working with the primitive artwork – one enhancing the other.”
A Holly Hunt mohair sofa, kidney table from Bradley USA, lamps from Arteriors and Jean de Merry rugs are just a few of the furnishings that are simpatico with the soft color palette and eclectic art collection. “The palette is soft and pretty, like the sky views throughout the loft, with materials ranging from lacquer to mohair to leather.”
No stranger to the world of design, Kartheiser learned the business through osmosis. “My mom was an interior designer,” she reflects, and her childhood was one spent going through her books of wallpapers, fabrics and fringes in the office basement. After a career in sales, she opened her own design firm, specializing in residential projects from D.C. to Houston, as well as her home base of Chicago.
Known for her keen eye for detail, unique use of layering and modern-meets-traditional environments, her signature aesthetic is best described by the designer herself, “I love a chic mix of modern elements and traditional touches. Old and new balance each other out, and I believe that relationship in a room makes the space interesting. I love rooms that are layered, eclectic and full of personality. My end goal is to create inviting persona and livable environments by collaborating with my clients on a shared vision.”
With the Tribeca project, Kartheiser can also add designing chic, functional family-friendly interiors to her list as well. And at the time of this writing, the artifacts are all intact. Mission accomplished.
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