Rachel Laxer’s clients are much like she is: sophisticated, well traveled, willing to take a risk or two. This relatively new Scarsdale home, for example, says “classical.” But beyond the gray front door, “it’s much more streamlined than the traditional exterior,” says Laxer, who divides her time between Scarsdale and London, with jobs from the French Alps to the Hamptons to Silicon Valley.
Focusing on the public spaces, the owners wanted “to kick it up on a notch on the design side.” The layout of the house is somewhat classical: “living room on the right, dining room on the left, staircase right where you expect it to be.” What isn’t expected is the Brand Van Egmond chandelier overhead, which resembles the nest of some fanciful bird. Peek into the foyer closet, and wallpaper featuring portraits by mid-century surrealist Piero Fornasetti peeks back. (“Closets are sort of boring. It’s nice, in an entry hall, to open the door and see something fun inside.”) In the living room, two new Italian chairs with mid-century appeal flank mullioned French doors. A chandelier dripping with globular crystals overhangs the contemporary dining room table. As Laxer likes to say, “Lighting is the jewelry of the home.”
The owners wanted to “bring much more of a European feeling to the home,” explains Laxer, who worked in finance before becoming a globetrotting interior designer. “My interiors are very much about a relaxed elegance. Everyone should feel comfortable in the space, but it also has a certain elegance.” Her homes are like a Savile Row suit, “a bespoke experience.” While interiors and exteriors should flow, says Laxer, she disagrees with those American homeowners who feel their exterior architecture and interior style have to match. “One of the things that has been a big takeaway for me living in London is that most buildings are old, but inside you’ll find the most unexpected, modern, interesting interiors. It’s that juxtaposition, that pull of mixing and being willing to take the risk, that makes things more dynamic and interesting.”
Designer: Rachel Laxer
Rachel Laxer Interiors Ltd.
(914) 672-5076; rlaxinteriors.com