Some people might view a neutral interior as being void of character, but New York-based interior designer Becky Shea considers this a dream palette. Neutrals have been a go-to choice for many of her clients' homes over the years, but Shea also settled on this classic color scheme for one of her most important projects to date: the Long Island City home she shares with her husband, Jake.
Her vision for the open-concept space was simple. After living in the home for four years, Shea finally set out to craft a space that reflected her organic-modernist aesthetic. Plus, the home had to express her love of New York and the beauty of California, where much of her family currently resides.
Walk through the home, and you'll find that neutrals meld seamlessly with rich, dark accents. And an abundance of textiles and accessories unite to create warmth and add to the home's inviting vibe. "Our space is calm, earthy, and layered," Shea says of the design scheme.
The airy living room has everything you’d want for entertaining. Beyond its large windows offering a view of the city, it features two custom, handmade-to-order pieces of furniture. The Pettibone coffee table and Roig credenza are both from Shea x Shea, the furniture line she launched with her husband.
To complete the space, Shea chose a with steel legs from Croft House, mid-century Corbett swivel chairs by Rejuvenation, and camel-colored Penelope lumbar pillows from her collection.
"The credenza is named after my grandfather, who is a carpenter, and it's the first piece in our collection," Shea says. "It is sustainably sourced American walnut and ebonized oak. The top is a two-inch thick slab that weighs up to 500 pounds, and the interiors have leather that's been repurposed from a previous project."
The bedroom is a departure from the home's neutral palette, boasting striking rich navy walls ( by Benjamin Moore). "We wanted to create a cozy sanctuary for sleep," Shea says. "We went with a deep navy with a serious monochromatic tone in the colors used for our bedding and drapery. This helps to accentuate the 10-foot ceilings and elongate the room's vertical rise."
Adding to the minimalist look are narrow steel nightstands (without storage), and a jute rug from Stark Carpet. A wishbone chair complements a walnut and leather mirror from . Layers of texture also appear again, by way of organic cotton sheets from , an organic Belgian linen duvet from , and alpaca throws from .
Since the couple shares a passion for entertaining, a compact bar area was key. Shea maximized floor space with an eye-catching bar set-up, featuring floating blackened steel I-beams.
The highlight of the open kitchen is tigerwood cabinetry, which is flanked with soapstone counters and an oversized glass backsplash. The open concept is brilliant for entertaining, Shea says. "I love the open flow," Shea says. "Creativity is boundless because you can put anything anywhere."
The kitchen also presented an opportunity for Shea to be strategic and put her creativity to the test. Since the ceiling drops, the designer incorporated black paint—an unexpected touch considering her love of neutrals. "It created the illusion of infinite ceiling height against the whimsical wood grain," she says.
Thanks to Carrara marble, the light-filled bathroom is one of the statement spaces in the home. It features an oversized soaking tub, a bridge-view window, and a dark tigerwood vanity. Shea installed radiant flooring to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Shea and her husband love to travel, and the home's hallway is proof. "It's a very angular, long space, and was the perfect location to showcase our own photography," Shea says.
The entry table and , which offers a reflection of the Triborough/R.F.K. bridge, are both from CB2. Adding to the home's welcoming feel is pampas grass that appears throughout the home and was foraged in Hawthorne, California. "We're always looking for unique ways to bring the outdoors in, and this was a perfect opportunity to do that while also helping to reflect light into an otherwise dark, windowless hallway," she says.