Carlos David Studio
My dear friend David Lawrence and I worked at the same design firm but not at the same time. We met almost 15 years ago after his Hamptons project was featured on the cover and inside House Beautiful and I reposted it on the blog. The owner of that house, Nancy McCormick, also owns the townhouse project that he recently completed which can be seen on ArchitecturalDigest.com which makes this feel like a full circle moment. Only this time, he worked on the project with his partner in life and work, Carlos Garciavelez, who is an architect who grew up in Mexico City. You will be seeing more of their new design firm Carlos David Studio as many of their projects come to fruition. It’s a very exciting time for them and I could not be more proud.
The John Singer Sargent painting above the curved blue sofa is of Charles Deering, Nancy’s great-great Grandfather, and was formerly on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago. Charles Deering is the brother of James Deering who built Vizcaya in Coconut Grove, Florida. It’s one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Miami and Nancy was also married there a few years ago.
Mieke Ten Have styled the rooms and Douglas Friedman photographed the townhouse. There were other photos that didn’t make the online feature and David and Carlos were kind enough to share them with me along with a few photos of the dining room taken during a dinner party before Covid.
“In the same second-floor living room, Venetian plaster walls and hand-embroidered, quilted-cashmere curtains (designed by Carlos David) provide a neutral backdrop for McCormick’s museum-worthy art. The lower half of the space is punctuated with rich colors, textures, and furnishings: a Jean Royère coffee table, a pair of 1920s Maurice Dufrêne giltwood chairs (sourced from Newel), a bespoke sofa in Pierre Frey silk velvet and leather, and a 1950s Fornasetti folding screen that was unearthed by famed antiques dealer Bernd Goeckler.”
This unpublished view of the living room includes a view out to the landing hall.
“A black–and–pearl–white palette greets guests on the landing and staircases. The designers employed a high-wax white Venetian plaster (“It’s so rich, the walls are almost like marble,” designer David Lawrence says) and Fine Paints of Europe’s ultra high-gloss paint in jet black to channel Coco Chanel’s iconic rue Cambon shop in Paris. Black marble spheres were added to the balustrade, a spherical motif that nods to Chanel’s famous pearls and is repeated in the 16-globe Stilnovo vintage chandelier and Ross Bleckner’s Large Link Closed painting.”
“We used the same black ultra-high-gloss paint on the millwork on all the bookcases and the moldings and the doors in the library,” Lawrence says. “Then we upholstered the walls in mohair, which is just so delicious” (and quiet). An angled Robert Mathieu floor lamp illuminates the sculptural Edward Wormley wing chair (made by Wyeth) and Stark Carpet rug, woven in a 1960s David Hicks pattern.
Bunny Painting, by Hunt Slonem, adds levity to the room. “It’s modern and sophisticated but playful,” Garciavelez says.
An unpublished view into the dining room taken before a dinner party.
Hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper blossoms in the dining room, where gilded birds and frogs perch in the branches of a pair of Paula Swinnen candelabra. The designers recruited a pair of 1950s Maison Jansen writing tables to serve as dining tables, which can be pushed together for grand affairs or apart for intimate suppers. While the rest of the room shimmers in gloss and gold leaf, the floor is grounded with a more casual rug by Doris Leslie Blau, an homage to Swedish mid-century designer Märta Måås Fjetterström. “It’s a little muted and very unexpected,” says architect Carlos Garciavelez, noting that the choice keeps the decadent room from slipping into fussy territory.
A vintage French Art Moderne cabinet in parchment in black lacquer on a gilded base is from Newel while the lamp is Roberto Rida. The painting is by Ross Bleckner.
Another view of the dining room set for the dinner party.
This vintage French Art Moderne cabinet in parchment in black lacquer on a gilded base from Newel matches the one on the other side of the fireplace.
The china on the dining table at the dinner party is Talmaris Paris and belonged to Nancy’s great-grandmother and are set with place cards by Bernard Maisner.
“How do you create the perfect princess room for a 10-year-old?” Lawrence asks. “A pink-and-gray canopy bed and an over-the-top print on the blankets and pillows,” Garciavelez answers. The ferocious tiger-striped throw and pillows are by Saved NY—in 100% cashmere, naturally. Nancy McCormick also founded Florence Fancy, a high end children’s by appointment boutique on Upper East Side full of gorgeous little girl dresses and clothes.
The primary bedroom is cocooned in fabric, from the silver-velvet-upholstered walls and the sweeping span of drapery to a statement canopy bed designed by Carlos David, swaddled in E. Braun & Co. linens. “It’s so quiet and intimate, I think literally anyone who walks in there wants to jump into that bed,” says Garciavelez. Donald Sultan’s Smoke Rings (hanging above one of the house’s five working fireplaces) is reflected in the glamorously lacquered ceiling.
An unpublished view of the bed.
The Pierre Frey silver-velvet upholstery from the bedroom continues on the walls of the primary closet and atop a vintage 1950s chrome bench, pairing nicely with Susila Bailey-Bond’s Swarovski crystal studded Tranquility work. But the pièce de résistance here is the ceiling’s heavenly silver leaf wallpaper. “We thought it would be a nice way to add a dramatic element to this already pretty dramatic room,” says Lawrence.
The walls of the show-stopping primary bath are clad in custom blue quartzite panels, inspired by the Frick Collection’s garden courtyard. “The material is just extraordinary,” says Lawrence. “It has texture and depth, and it twinkles almost like a piece of jewelry—the entire wall is like a gem.”
Fabrication of the semi-precious stone (which McCormick selected from ABC Worldwide Stone in her favorite shade, blue) demanded absolute precision. “It essentially disintegrates when you try to cut it,” says Garciavelez. “But it gives the house a very strong and very feminine character.”
“The airy sixth-floor family room adds a more relaxed, loft-like architecture to the top of the house. A custom L-shaped sofa (covered in Holland & Sherry lambswool bouclé) and oversize pouf keep things cozy in the lounge space, which doubles as a playroom for the young family. The latticed window peeks onto a plant-filled outdoor shower and roof terrace, envisioned by Brooklyn-based landscape designers Harrison Green. It provided an enchanting oasis for Garciavelez and Lawrence to become betrothed this summer, near the end of the three-year renovation.”