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When designer Adrienne Vittadini bought her Upper East Side apartment with husband and business partner Gianluigi Vittadini in 1986, the couple pretty much gutted the place and started over. In the almost 30 years since, Vittadini has, she says, “continually fiddled,” but the one thing that always remains constant is the serene palette: a cream with “greenish yellow undertones” she likens to the color of hay, and which defines much of the living space.

Designer Adrienne Vittadini

Designer Adrienne Vittadini

A small dose of animal print provides graphic panache to the serene living room. Custom sofas in a Rubelli silk. Antique stools upholstered in a Boussac fabric. Drawings, school of Michelangelo. Sculpture, Vittadini’s father.

French Antique Grace this elegant apartment. From the marble topped single pedestal gueridon to the French Louis XV style marble fireplace.

French Antiques Grace this elegant apartment. From the marble topped single pedestal gueridon peeking out in the forefront to the French Louis XV style marble fireplace.

Soothing Retreat
Ironically, at her eponymous design label, which Vittadini left in 1998, the Coty Award winner was known for her use of prints and pattern as well as bold-colored knits. Home, however, was a different matter. “New York is already so frenetic, and I constantly over-schedule myself,” she says, “so it’s very nice to come back to something soothing.”

Gilded boiserie adds sparkle to the dining room. Chairs, sconces, and Russian chandelier, all 19th century. Louis XVI mirror. Glassware, Salviati.

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Regency chairs in Mahogany with a commode in the foreground, plus a red marble Louis XV marble fireplace and a crystal chandelier complete this elegant dining room. Note the details like the gilded French Louis XV sconces flanking the French Louis XV Mirror with a 19th Century white marble Louis XVI clock on the mantle. Similar pieces available at the Antique Warehouse.

Gilded Accents
In the living room, where walls, carpet, curtains, and upholstery are all in the same pale-gold color (even the parquet floors were painted to match), the scheme has the added advantage of showcasing the apartment’s stunning views of Central Park. “I didn’t want to fight with nature,” Vittadini explains. Further, she says, the neutral background shows off the “architecture” of some exquisite pieces, including a pair of Art Deco chairs bought in Milan and a Regency table found at the Paris Biennale, marked by gilded lions’ heads and feet.

A mirrored wall in the bedroom expands the space and amplifies the natural light. Russian Empire chairs upholstered in a Pierre Frey fabric. Italian 19th-century chest of drawers. Lamps, Christian Liaigre. Art, Picasso.

While these peices are Italian, a French commode could work just as well in this elegant room.

While these pieces are Italian and Russian, a French Louis XVI commode could work just as well paired with Louis XVI chairs or even English Regency.

Amplifying Light
What she didn’t find in antiques shops and along her travels, the golden-maned Vittadini, ever the designer, drew up herself, such as sofas and an upholstered cocktail table. She then had the pieces manufactured in her husband’s native Italy. She’s so hands-on that she always arranges her own flowers and loves to entertain at home, where guests are seated amid the dining room’s gilded paneling, at an antique table purposely round, which Vittadini finds “far more convivial.”

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Note how the designer has mixed two Art Deco Armchairs, with French Empire. The simple lines of Deco will work nicely with the elegant and simple ‘Empire’ and by placing a round gold gilt table gives the added sparkle to liven the setting.

Low-Key Compliments
Gilded touches, such as a pair of gleaming columns in the living room, punctuate the space, but she was careful not to let them get too “over the top.” Likewise, animal-skin throws and aqua pillows serve as luxurious but low-key complements to the Rubelli silk that covers the majority of the upholstery. In an effort to further streamline, Vittadini recently replaced an 18th-century tapestry with a contemporary image of a room in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery by Massimo Listri, the Italian master of interior photography. Listri is in good company: Drawings from the school of Michelangelo flank the fireplace, a sculpture by Vittadini’s father sits atop the mantel, and Picassos are found throughout the apartment.

Cabinet, Holly Hunt. Linens, Frette. Bedcover and small square sham, Ankasa. Walls, headboard, and shade in Rogers & Goffigon fabrics. Carpet, Stark.

Notice how interesting the deco mirrored piece works with the rest of the non-deco room.

Notice how interesting the small deco armoire piece works with elegant simplicity of the cow skinned covered Charles X matched footstools. Adrienne seems to love these as pairs of these show up almost everywhere in her elegant apartment.

Perfect Harmony
Like the art, the furniture mixes beautifully. “It seems strange, Art Deco with Regency,” Vittadini says, but it’s not the only juxtaposition—in the master bedroom, a cabinet in the style of Jean-Michel Frank lives in perfect harmony with a 19th-century Italian fruitwood commode. “I have this philosophy that if you love something, and it’s a good design, somehow it all works together,” Vittadini says. In the couple’s other homes—a ski chalet in Italy and a place in Sarasota, Florida—she admits to mixing patterns. “I do have that side of me,” she says, laughing. “But in New York, I’d rather mix the furniture.”

We always have furnishings like this on hand at the Antique Warehouse.

The small Italian Empire Buffet paired with the English Regency chairs work beautifully in this focal point. A French or English server could work equally as well to create a similar look.

What I found most interesting about this apartment is the fact the designer created it over 30 years ago, and with continual ‘fiddling’ (as she put it) has kept it looking fresh, new and interesting. Her choice of Antiques juxtaposed with contemporary works beautifully.

Please visit us at The Antique Warehouse to source comparable pieces in store now.

I hope you enjoyed our tour through the elegant apartment of Designer Adrienne Vittadini. Stay tuned for our next great designer profile…Hubert de Givenchy and see how one of the true masters of design lives!

Mark LaFleur

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