The giant hot pink snail sculpture in the front yard is a total shock to the system. It’s daring and whimsical, and completely different from the typical neighborhood white picket fences. Just beyond the gigantic gastropod is a blue-gray home, and despite the relatively subdued exterior, the interior is anything but. Instead, this home is a haven for art and design, with an emphasis on bold color.
Designer Denise Davies of D2 Interieurs has nicknamed this house the Pop Palace in honor of the homeowner’s mid-century modern aesthetic and love of pop art. After decades of collecting paintings, furniture and other objects, the homeowners needed a space that showcased their collection, while still functioning for a family with three young children. “Usually the art is one of the last things to go into the home. But for this project, I decorated the home around the art, rather than the other way around,” explains Davies. “The hardest thing about the Pop Palace was restraint…finding the perfect pieces that were going to work in this house and work for this young family.
“Throughout the home, clean lines, bold architecture and a stark color palette anchor the contemporary design and create a flow,” says Davies. The bright white walls act as a blank canvas, giving way to original works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and others. D2 Interieurs incorporated the homeowners’ Saarinen Womb Chair and Eames’ Egg Chair and Rocker, all iconic examples of mid-century furniture design.
A thirty-foot-high vaulted ceiling and large curved windows, original to the house, flood the main level with light, further highlighting the play between color and stark white. “Use color thoughtfully,” Davies says. “Don’t be afraid of color, but make sure you’re using it in the right way and not overusing it. If you look at our designs, most of our primary rooms are very neutral, and we add pops of color.”
Now full of bright museum-worthy pieces, the home itself has an interesting and artistic past. The property was originally owned by Leopold Godowsky Jr., a musician and co-creator of Kodachrome Film, and his wife, Frances Gershwin, a singer and the sister of Ira and George Gershwin. Their main residence was next door, but they used this house to entertain some of the great artists and glitterati of their day. The homeowners who followed the Godowskys maintained the lively atmosphere with a disco ball in the main room, a wet bar on every floor in lieu of a full kitchen, and a spa and steam room that took up the entire lower level. Although Davies kept the steam room in her design, she removed the other unique features to make way for a family-friendly space. “We had to be mindful of how we use the space because of the three children,” explains Davies.
The main floor is a multiuse space for both adults and children, with open sight lines from the kitchen and dining room to the living room and television for easy adult supervision. The living room has “one big circular sofa and two chairs—and that’s it. The kids pull their beanbags out and watch television. They go to town, and when they’re done, the beanbags go back in their place.” The lower level has been transformed into a fun and casual family hangout spot. Individual desks allow each child to work and create, and a large sofa is there when it’s time to unwind as a family.
Thanks to Davies’ keen eye, every room in the house expertly balances punchy hues and statement-making art with sophistication. Davies notes that “classic and current intersect in this home, a mix of old and new, and it feels modern and fresh.” And so, the home has successfully fulfilled the needs of the owners, acting as a showcase of modern art while being a comfortable space for the family to relax and grow in style.