Welcome to Why This Works, a new Curbed column in which decorator and former shelter-magazine editor Alexa Stevenson looks point-blank at professionally decorated rooms and breaks down the elements that make it work. Have a suggestion for someone whose work should be showcased? Do let us know.
NYC-based architecture and interior design firm Grade, founded by Thomas Hickey and Edward Yedid in 2001, has worked on projects ranging from Tiffany & Co. boutiques, vacation houses, and modern Tribeca lofts. Here, Yedid talks about a condo in Miami, which the pair completed for a New York client looking for a sophisticated feel—"not the typical sleek, plastic feel of Miami. We had to create something modern and elegant in a space that was all about the ocean views."
1. “We wanted the furniture plan to be open and simple, with pieces so low they almost disappear and you can enjoy the view,” Yedid says. The designers also made sure everything was light and easy and could move around, if needed. The chairs are the quiet stars here, with pony hair upholstery that adds texture to the space. “We didn’t want to use leather—it’s the worst in hot environments.”
2. In the carved-out dining area, the designers installed a glass wall to take advantage of the view. To keep the kitchen area hidden they used a one-way glass mirror, which also reflects the ocean.
3. To fit the gray-and-white palette, Yedid and Hickey used cerused white oak for the custom shelving unit. The shelves are glass to reflect light and open on the left side. “The floating glass brings you closer to the ocean,” says Yedid, “and when having people for dinner it serves as a buffet and the floating glass shelves cast a nice shadow."
4. A custom-colored Patterson, Flynn & Martin silk carpet ties together the colors of the room. It's smaller than one would normally expect to see in a space like this, because...
5. The floor, made of slabs of white quartz, is worth being seen. “We wanted this space to be so light and reflective, and this reflects light, making the entire room brighter. It opens up the space—itt’s almost if furniture is floating,” Yedid says.