The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.
The talent you need isn’t always near the work you have. No matter: This is a big, beautiful, connected world that allows the eyes and voice of your preferred creative travel to—and even sculpt—places their bodies have never been.
Such was the case with Lauren A Balkan’s commission to design the interiors of a Delray Beach, Florida, home while working out of her New York studio. Collaborating with the homeowners via FaceTime, a photo tracking system, and endless texts and calls, Balkan made the most of a remote connection to the space and a tall client order.
Asked to humanize and family-proof the sometimes delicate and often very mature midcentury modern aesthetic, Balkan responded with personalized strategies for individual spaces, varying textures throughout, and furniture and fixture forms reminiscent of Eames, Knoll, and Noguchi—but with proportions generous and relaxed enough for modern living. It’s a take on mid-mod you can sink into—and a place worth visiting IRL.
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Blueprint: The homeowners purchased the land in December of 2015, and the house was completed in December of 2018. Their goal was to build a midcentury modern home that fit their family’s needs and lifestyle with two young kids. We agreed to work together via modern-day technology to furnish and decorate the house long-distance. It was such a fun and exciting collaboration!
Materials: The project goals were to maintain the overall look and feel of a midcentury modern home but to tailor it to the needs of a young family of today. We wanted to keep it modern but warm and inviting. There is definitely a blend of styles throughout, so as to make it unique to their family. We wanted to select interesting lighting, furniture, and wall treatments that would make an impact in each room, but still feel cohesive as you move from one space to another in the open floor plan. Overall the house is a blend of chic neutrals, but there are so many textures that it adds warmth to some of the more modern furnishings. Many of the sculptural lighting and furniture selections double as art.
Challenges: The clients and I worked long distance the entire project and truly collaborated throughout. I was able to see the house during construction phases via a photo tracking system even though I was never physically there to feel the scale and proportions of spaces or to see the lighting at different times of day. We worked together to select paint colors, furniture, fabrics, wall coverings, window treatments and decorative items via pics, texts, emails, FaceTime, videos, calls, et cetera. It was a really unique experience for me—I had never helped with a home that I did not see in person until the end.
Uniqueness: The mix of interesting materials, wall textures, furnishings, and lighting adds depth to this home to make it stand out from the norm or typical midcentury modern home. It has a cohesive feel from top to bottom, fit for a family with young kids but designed to be different—there are so many special details throughout. Each room has something unique but one does not outshine the other. All the design and décor elements work together harmoniously.
Takeaway: I think it’s important for people to see that you can be inspired and influenced by a particular design style, however there are many ways to make it your own version of that style.
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(Photos: Courtesy Lauren A Balkan Designs)