Project Spotlight: Carolyn Pressly Interiors

Tell us about your business and this project.

Carolyn Pressly Interiors is a full-service boutique interior design firm with residential design projects across New York City and the Hamptons. Featured in ELLE DECOR, Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, and The New York Times, Carolyn Pressly Interiors is known for bringing a keen eye for texture and color to a project, combined with worldly accents and clean, modern lines. Each project is united with an unerring emphasis on comfort and livability. This particular project featuring Hamilton Sinkler is a gut renovation for a dynamic young family on Park Avenue: a doctor, her lawyer husband and their art-loving daughter.  

What were the client's needs and how did you meet them?

I had known this client socially for years. She commissioned me for her own family home after seeing and hearing about the design process for my prior project on Duane Park. The homeowner here was drawn to my client-centric project management strategy rather than the more modern style I typically employ. While the client gravitated toward a more traditional Park Avenue aesthetic, we found easy common ground in our mutual love of color, pattern, and fine finishes.  

What or who was your design inspiration?

I am often inspired by contemporary twists on classical design theory, and I like when new textures and patterns strike my eye. However, here the client herself was my total inspiration. She is a chic native Manhattanite with her own distinct style inspired by vintage fashion, and she has a sharp eye for modern art. I thought, what kind of space would she and her family enjoy for a refuge, as an extension of themselves? An oversized, wall-to-wall window treatment using 38 yards of cheerful yellow "Ming Dynasty" fabric, a Scalamandré classic, proved a great jumping off point for the project. It was both classic and fresh, youthful in its enormous scale.

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

What was your favorite part of designing this project?

The back-and-forth part of the creative process: how can we challenge ourselves to make the requested traditional Park Avenue aesthetic, which we honored, livable and relevant for this busy young family?

What was a challenge that you faced along the way?  

A challenge familiar to all New Yorkers: not quite enough space to realize all their goals. This husband and wife team are voracious readers and they were adamant about wanting to live with wall-to-wall books everywhere (the hardcover, read-them-again-and-again, bookmark-and-hold-them-in-your-hands types of books), and while we did accomplish that to an extent, there is only so much wall space available!  

What was your process for selecting the hardware for this project?

I have a deep love and respect for fine, European-inspired, solid-bronze hardware. Growing up in the South and accompanying my grandmother to the venerable Carolina Metro Mart, along with a couple class field trips to the Vanderbilts' Biltmore Estate in Asheville, I discovered at an early age the satisfying heft of solid, hand-crafted hardware in my own hand. Years before we were using the term "maker," I believe the effect of fine hardware has always resonated on an intimate level with those who encounter it. A discerning eye feels the multiple layers of a fine finish, our hands feel the reassuring weight of a door handle, and there is comfort in its permanence. Fine hardware can be passed down through generations. My high school graduation gift was working with a North Carolinian furniture craftsman to create a mahogany highboy of my design, with my own solid brass hardware of my choosing. I used lacquered brass handles at the time, but now I specify non-lacquered for most projects.   

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

Carolyn Pressly Interiors. Photo: Devon Banks

What appealed to you in your selection of Hamilton Sinkler hardware?

I was struck by the classical beauty and profile of the various Hamilton Sinkler products, and I particularly loved the striking finish of the Metropolitan Collection. I will also cop to the robin's egg blue display board capturing my attention. The hammered polished nickel pulls and knobs we used were perfection across this Park Avenue kitchen. 

Meredith Kucherov