New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel has a knack for creating beautiful, functional spaces. Perhaps it’s his degree in architecture and his Victorian philosophy that the architect should also decorate the house. Today it seems everything is segregated - the architect has one job, the interior designer has another job, and the decorator has yet another job. Refreshingly, Gambrel is a modern-day Renaissance man, a jack-of-all-trades, architecting not just the brick and mortar of his projects but filling them with upholstery, casegoods and fixtures that he often designs himself.
Known for his bold interpretation of classic design and architectural elements, Gambrel’s work spans the spectrum of style based on a home’s location – city, country or coast. In the beachfront home of one client, for example, Gambrel brought the outdoors in by lining the bathroom floor, shower walls and ceiling with travertine, a limestone reminiscent of striated sand. In the guest bathroom of a Manhattan townhouse, walls sheathed in teal subway tiles draw a literal connection to the urban environment. As does the spirited use of French etchings, which are easily found in the Paris flea market. Call it a tale of two cities.
And take his own harbour-perched home, where he famously tore out the pages of Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities and used them to line the walls of a powder room. In keeping with the home’s 19th century roots, the effect is downright Darwinian. This is all to say that we applaud Gambrel’s soup to nuts approach, tackling each project from concept to completion, down to the last drip of wallpaper paste. Add to this his respect for the surrounding environment and his commitment to authenticity and we think his is an approach to be emulated.
Photographs © Eric Piasecki & William Waldron