We feature a boatload of interiors here on this blog, but very rarely do we stumble upon a home in which we love everything (and would take it for ourselves). There are plenty of spaces we can admire from afar, that feature things too adventurous for our taste, or too classic for our liking. It's rare that a home hits all of the marks in terms of our design style (which varies, of course, depending on who you ask at KKH). This home, for Sarah, at least, was a slam dunk. It belongs to Jackie Austier, and was featured in Elle Decor about a year ago. Austier, who is a stylist and editor, has a love for all things glamorous, but she's also got a serious rock and roll edge to her.
Inspired by the legendary French antiques dealer and decorator Madeleine Castaing, known for her red lipliner, false eyelashes and pageboy wig – a woman for whom audacity was a main personality trait – Austier has carried into her home her theaterical streak. "I've had a design crush on her [Castaing] for forever," says Austier. "She personified individual style, which is the only kind I go for. I've always been obsessed with her outre color combinations – and the way she used them."
Indeed, Austier herself isn't afraid to go bold; many of the rooms in her home feature black walls. The dining room is lacquered in a deep baclk, and the floors in the apartment are stained a deep chocolate brown that, depending on the light, looks almost black. The dining room features a gorgeous Hollywood Regency style chandelier that seems fit for royalty. Much of Austier's furniture pieces have been nabbed on eBay; she is a woman for whom the hunt is part of the thrill. "I live with some of the world's finest furniture boutiques right outside my door, but buying retail isn't really that meaningful or interesting," she says.
Her scavenging skills do not stop at digital, however. While walking down Madison Avenue one day, she spotted sleek patent-leather panels sitting on the sidewalk outside an Armani boutique, and snagged them right then and there, lugging them home to her apartment. She then let her pre-teen daughters lose on the panels, graffiti artists gone wild with fistfuls of permanent markers. She proudly displays the artwork in a hallway, in full view of anyone who sits in the living room.
Lest you think her bargain-hunting skills are the only thing for which Austier's known for, Austier's also the queen of landing the perfect apartment – a true feat in Manhattan's cutthroat real-estate world. A few years back, Astier swapped her family's classic six for a place almost double the size four floors below in her building. The unit belonged to a seller who was looking to downsize. "We sold, bought, and moved ont he same day," she says with a laugh, betraying the intrepid spirit with which she tackled putting together the apartment's 10 rooms. In her former home, the look was minimalist, Christian Dior-gray walls, black floors, and 1940s French furnishings. The move downstairs enabled her to experience a whole new decorating adventure; the larger space gave way to an easy glamor, "more Paris in the 1970s than the 40s," she says. This way, "it was comfortable to hang out in as a family and chic enough to entertain in."
And it is. It's a gorgeous, layered space with amazing, one of a kind furniture pieces that would make even the best collectors jealous. We'd move in in a heartbeat. How about you?