While designing this versatile, chic family room for clients who moved up from Manhattan, Cami Luppino and Alana Irwin of lulu HOME had to tackle the creative process in a new way. That’s because the clients in question hired them in February 2020. The couple, who had one small child and another on the way, were about to purchase their house in Scarsdale and planned to close by the summer. Then COVID-19 hit, and everything changed. “The client called and said, ‘We’re closing tomorrow and moving this weekend,’” recalls Luppino, who adds that they were arriving from the city with nothing but a bed. “She said, ‘How quickly can you turn this around for us?’”
The house was a newer Colonial, about five years old, but needed design help and new furnishings throughout. Due to the pandemic, Luppino and Irwin met with the clients outside to introduce themselves. Then, they went into the house and measured everything when no one was home. “We designed the entire home virtually, and we dropped off our presentation on their front stoop, along with our computer-generated drawings,” says Luppino. She says they displayed everything via Zoom, walking the clients through the textiles and furnishings. “We took a deep breath and prayed that we had gotten it right.”
This multifaceted family room does, in fact, meet the clients’ needs to a T, being equally suited for morning coffee and TV time with the little ones as it is for having friends over for drinks. The design plays off the existing mahogany built-in wall and fireplace, picking up on the richer tones. The pieces also riff on the vintage poster that the couple already owned. “It was important that everything speak to that era, to have a swanky, cocktail-y vibe,” says Irwin.
The space is anchored by a generously sized sectional with a custom chaise lounge that’s shaped for curling up in the middle and covered in a durable performance fabric by Romo. At the center of the room, a double-tiered, burled-walnut coffee table functions almost like a modern lazy Susan: It pivots in different directions, so you can move the top layer closer to the chairs or the sofa. The moveable tabletop is great for board games too. A pair of swivel chairs from Bernhardt makes a visual statement while adding versatility to the space, allowing its occupants to watch the football game on TV or face the sofa, for conversation and cocktails. “We’re really big on swivel chairs to create a conversation area,” Luppino says. For the backs of these chairs, she chose a block by Romo fabric in an earthy tone that plays off of the art.
Throw pillows in a rust-colored S. Harris fabric add a fun, funky accent to the room. Underneath it all, a plush, custom wool-polyester-blend rug is “like a massage for your feet,” says Luppino. The family is thrilled with the room and with all the newly designed spaces in their house. “They were blown away by how we were able to nail their style with such little interaction,” says Luppino. She says she and Irwin feel close to these clients and that the process of working remotely may even become part of their business model. “Now, we wouldn’t think twice about taking a project in Arizona or someplace far from here.”