Mark Your Calendars !


On the eve of her 93rd birthday, Iris Apfel, who admits she just discovered how to access the Internet, decides to sell a lifetime worth of treasures on One Kings Lane

BY SARAH BRAY for ElleDecor

photo by Ryan Dixon

One look at Iris Apfel and you can tell she's been places. Beyond the stories time can tell, it's apparent by her standout sense of personal style that she has lived an exotic life brimming with colorful adventure. An avid traveler, the 92-and-a-half-year-old has spent her lifetime seeking out aesthetic inspiration in the most remote places while feeding her shopping addiction every stop along the way. Apfel—who predominantly has worked as an interior and textile designer only to be cast in the unlikley role of fashion icon, if you put it in perspective, relatively recently—has accumulated so much stuff that the storage facilities she leases in Queens are full to capacity.
"I just want to get my stuff out," the self-proclaimed "geriatric starlet" says with a laugh in an exclusive interview with ELLEDECOR.com. "I want it to all go so I can just make it easy on everybody!"
Enter OneKingsLane.com. After years of conversations with Apfel, the expert team of buyers at the innovative decor e-tailer convinced her to let a few things go... well, 800 things to be precise. On April 5, in an event that can only be described as epic by both fashion and interior design standards, you can click "Buy" on eclectic treasures that the aesthete personally eyed-out (think finds she picked up at Paris flea markets in the '40s,  souks in Marrakech in the 60s, the square in Santa Fe in the '70s

ED: When One Kings Lane cleared your warehouses, did you come across stuff you forgot you even owned?
IA: Absolutely! There were a lot of things I had forgotten. You can’t remember everything! Some things I had never even unpacked!

ED: What piece of furniture would you never part with?
IA: A number of things! There are a few things I'm letting go of that were very difficult. However, I’m taking a number of pieces down to my house in Palm Beach—I can’t fit anything else into my Park Avenue place.

ED: Does your husband enjoy hunting for unique objects as much as you do?
IA: We’ve been married 66 years—it’s a long time! At the beginning, when we were first married, he wanted everything new. He would act like a spoiled brat when I passed an antique shop. He would say, "I don’t want to go in! I don’t want anyone else’s old troubles!" But, once we got established he started to love it.

ED: If your friends were shopping the sale, what would you advise them to look out for?
IA: Well, it depends what the friend wanted and what they needed. There are a number of things that are very unusual and ridiculously priced I could sell them on!

ED: You have your hands in so many different projects, do you just like staying busy?
IA: Some days I’m frantic! Like today, I was supposed to give the people from MAC Cosmetics a quote but then my phone went dead… so I stole my husband's, called them back with no luck and now they're calling me back and I’m in the middle of a movie shoot!

ED: It sounds like you need an assistant! Did you ever think you'd be busier than ever in your nineties?
IA: I never wanted to stop working, but I never dreamt of being a geriatric starlet! Sometimes I grumble, but I thank god every night that I am 92-and-a-half and I am asked to do so many things. Getting shot for magazine covers and all kinds of stuff! It’s very exciting. I have been on the cover of every European publication you can think of, all these blogs and television shows too. It’s coo coo!

ED: Do you still follow interior designers or do you just blaze your own path?
IA: I haven’t been interested in an interior designer in a long, long time. Everything looks the same—if I could tell you the truth! I can’t say that I don't see new pretty things here and there, but mostly it’s all boring as far as I am concerned. You can’t tell who lives in any of these apartments. There like divine hotel suites.

ED: Too modern or too stark?
They're just all the same. It’s like a formula and I don’t like that. 

ED: You've worked in both fashion and interior design. What are you most passionate about?
IA: Fashion and interior design are one in the same.

ED: You would say you definitely don’t follow trends?
IA: Things are either good or they’re not. They either suit you or they don’t. Some years all the colors and cuts are wonderful, other years they’re ridiculous. I never buy what someone says is “in” or a “must-have.” I buy what makes me happy.

ED: What exactly does it take to be chic?
IA: It’s a big discussion… To sum it up, unfortunately, most people are not chic. You have to know who you are and you have to be comfortable with it. You just have to do it.

ED: How can people tap into their inner uniqueness?
IA: Self-exploration is very painful, but unless you do that you will never know who you are and who you want to be. People want all the results without doing any work. You don’t find out who you are unless you work at it. 

She's fabulous !

Install of the Day . . . Week !

Hey There . . .

I have been excited for this install for a while.  I have known and worked with this client for some 10 years, but this installation was extra special. The last of the pieces came in and knowing Holly and Stavros Liakakos and their kids were heading out of town for Spring Break,  I thought it was the perfect time to tackle all five spaces.  Holly's birthday came up as well, what a fun thing to come home to!   So I asked Maggie to camp out in their home for several days to oversee all the deliveries.  She did an amazing job placing all the pieces and finding a few last minute choices.  We had painters, electricians, wall paper installers and movers all filtering in and out for a week. Bree and I were juggling two other installs so between the three of us, we managed to pull off all three on site installs.   It was quite the week of running between houses, shopping for needed accessories, cleaning, staging and lastly shooting them with Mekenzie.  A team effort this was !

I had an entire first floor to think about.  Where did it all start?  The lounge.  Holly had purchased the coffee table and chandelier.  We needed everything else.  I chose a color palette of indigo, mushroom, teal, and ash grey.  This palette was pulled from two chairs she already had in another room.  I loved them and wanted to work around those colors.  Her "lounge" a.k.a. drinking lounge needed to be rich and cozy and filled with interesting finds.  No kids allowed in this space.

The Lounge

The fireplace is the focal point, but lacked anything flanking it which, in my opinion anchors the wall.  My carpenter Chris Havey created these tall, freestanding pieces designed to fill the space with visual interest while housing all that booze, just kidding, but it does hold tucked away glasses, and martini paraphernalia.  I wanted a dark space, loaded with texture, so I chose to paint the entire space a charcoal.  We painted the walls, the trim and the windows a semigloss for a little luster.  For the cabinets, I chose a slightly lighter grey.  To give them some interest (and the simple fact I was dying to incorporate this new Zoffany paper) I backed them with a lapis lazuli like wall paper.  We shopped for accessories, large ones, as not to get lost visually.

The four chairs create the ultimate conversation space for a lot of grown up talk and unwinding.  Paired with two heavy, very symmetrical floor lamps in a large scale to balance the tall cabinets.  I added two mis-matched side tables atop an amazing rug from Stark.  I love this pattern and this week I used it in both the mushroom and navy version.  So much pattern, and warmth.  Simple, tone on tone art and graphic, hand painted like curtains finish off the look right by the front door.

I created and used this board while shopping for all the finishing touches.  

The Foyer

Your view from the front door does create the mood.  Each space, the lounge, dining and great room are also visible from the foyer, so my goal was to have all the pieces in these spaces relate to each other, yet have their own unique qualities. My favorite thing about this first floor are the collection of pieces.  I took my time hunting for something different and paid close attention to their individual details.  The foyer is wide allowing for a long bench, side chest and long runner.  The stairwell, large as well.  With tall walls and wide areas I designed large, meaning big accessories, big lighting, big pieces.  It's my opinion to do less, but pay attention to scale and be unique.  I am not a big fan of numerous and small chotskies. (per the Urban Dictionary . . . "generally useless crap of little or no value.  Similar to knick knacks, popularized in Weird-Al Yancovichs eBay song" . . . hilarious)

We have a bone inlay chest with a simple single accessory atop, layered rugs, round glass light fixture, two huge scones and large framed wall paper art.  I came up with this idea back in 2009.  I wanted a huge piece of art in my own living room (mine is about 10 feet x 8 feet), then I came across Trove.  Their papers are art in themselves and will allow you to do something on a large scale.  My mirror didn't make it in time for the shoot, but we found this gorgeous circle mirror at Slate.  I have a home in mind for the original mirror, both are gorgeous!

The Powder Room

The powder room is a space you shouldn't neglect.  It's the one space to have fun with, everyone will see and use it.  This powder had a dated, traditional, dark and heavy vanity.  I thought about painting it, but the lines were bothering me so bad I had Chris also make me a new one with more modern doors.  We then added horizontal wood wainscoting painted with a lacquer grey.  With four kids using this space and the fact I wanted a killer paper in there, this woodwork will save the paper from little hands, grime and water splashing.  Holly loved, and chose a piece of art from Keith's collection which pulled all the colors together.

The Dining Room

Ok I love this space !  I could sit for hours.  We chose to do a large rug, a large table (for those big Greek gatherings) and really comfortable - sink into - chairs !  The fabric on the back of the chairs started it all.  New from one of my vendors it combined the palette on this first floor in a nubby, high texture feel and look.  I paired it with a solid grey flannel on the front.  The walls, covered in a Phillip Jeffries grasscloth, it has a navy lacquer underneath a grey grass weave over top. The windows, a silk in the prettiest bubble pattern.  The standout piece in the room, a custom dining table by Josh Utsey.  Local artist, carpenter, furniture, lighting creator.  It's is simply gorgeous in it's size, finish and sleek Lucite slab legs.  It's a stunner! Check out Josh's work here.  He was amazing to work with on this project, which also included their new light installation in the family room.

The Great Room

This room is visible all the way to the front door.  It's fireplace, the focal point, was covered in stacked stone in the beginning of this project.  Holly really wasn't a fan.  Rather than just working around it and ignoring it, we tore it out.  Chris's team and a really big scaffold traded in the rock for a large grey wash, wood like tile. The look is much sleeker.  The space also had a undersized,  lack-luster ceiling fan.  I worked with Josh to create this lighting installation.  Rather a big deal to surprise Holly with it, but I went for it.  It's a stunner and at night with the dimmer, it just glows.  We switched out the large sectional for two lower back sofas, added another Stark rug and moved the gorgeous teal leather chair from her master to this space. 

all photos by Mekenzie France

A labor of love for someone who gets me.  This project was nothing but a fun time with Holly and a chance to do some really amazing things !

Great job by everyone involved.  My many, many thanks !

Here's what Holly had to say . . .

By the end of my project with Lucy & Company, I had a mantra: "Beth Knows Best." Let me explain what this means... After working with Beth the last 7 years to complete rooms for all of my children, I decided it was time for my own big girl rooms. My family had recently moved into a new home and it had sat relatively undecorated for four years - enter Lucy & Company. I had a lounge, hall bathroom, dining room and family room to decorate and I had all kinds of ideas but needed someone to reign me in and make it come to life. While I proclaim to love design and can Pin and Houzz with the best of them, let me be honest, I'm not a trained professional designer. I needed the expertise, the creativity, the innovation of a designer to take my ideas and make them bigger and better than I could ever imagined. Every detail was taken care of and every desire was satisfied. What I thought I could have done myself would have taken years instead of months - and trying to hire someone else that might be less expensive with less experience will cost you in the long run. If you want your house to become a home - and a reflection of you, but the really, good, well put together you, hire Lucy & Company. 

Beth and her team knew best every step of the way - from my snakeskin print wallpaper, to the live edge dining room table, to the dark grey walls in the lounge, to finally convincing me to get rid of a very expensive custom ordered sectional that was just wrong for my space... the list could go on and on. Trust your instincts and go with the best designer in town. She's an original (that many try to copy) with innovative ideas that work for your lifestyle. Who wants to live in a house that doesn't feel like your own? Again, Beth creates the best version of you possible - because Beth KNOWS BEST!


Install of the Day !

Hey . .

When you are asked to help with the first floor of a home, room by room it only gets better and better (if you have a client that was happy with the very first thing you did and allows you to then pretty much do what you want).  Having completed the family room, breakfast room, powder room and my favorite dining room thus far - working on the front music room is like the icing on the cake.

This space, on the front of the house opposite the dining room, could serve several purposes.  A lounge, a study, another living space, it was built with wood paneling and large wood beams overhead.  All the wood was lightly stained a warm honey color, not my favorite and not the look I was going for in this home.   I convinced my client to paint it all white with black accent beams.  A dramatic change.   I pulled my colors from the dining room of navy blue splendor, but focused that color on the new carpet, then pulled the some of the colors from the other parts of the house in the new hand painted grass cloth, accent chair, art, accessories and amazing new window treatments.

Take a look at how this new music room and the nearby dining room now compliment each other.

This space, we decided needed to be bright, cheery and loaded with unique pieces with pattern and texture.  I started with these gorgeous window treatments.  The colors alone pull ALL the colors we have used in the home together which was perfect.  The win win was the pattern.  The floral was not too traditional, but more free spirited and artistic which I loved !

Another funny part about this design was the chair.  It was a piece my client had purchased prior and while loving the comfort and style, the color had never turned out quite as she expected.  With these curtains and new area rug it's now found the perfect home.

The stained paneling is gone and the gloss white allows all the colors to pop.  I really wanted to paint the beams and doors black to add a little weight.  Visually with the black piano it seemed to me a strong accent to pull it all together.

It's a lot of pattern on pattern but with the different scale as a whole it's pulled together.

 I love the new Lucite hardware I am using now !

This curved shelf is another favorite pieces of mine.  It creates such an enveloping corner and when accessorized with simple pieces in the right size it provides just the perfect backdrop.

Now when you walk through the first floor the flow it's very cohesive, yet each space has it's own individual personality.

Let me take you through a walk through . . . 

All the colors from downstairs even tie back perfectly with the kids rooms upstairs - the very first thing I worked on a few years ago.  

It has been such a labor of love working on this home and getting to know such an amazing, fun and spirited client.  As we move from room to room it just keeps getting better and better.  We are creating such an amazing overall space and I am so thankful to continue the process !!!

Love xox