On Tuesday, we unlocked the doors to the home of our favorite DC housewife, Mary Schmidt Amons (see “An Intimate Look Inside the Home of Housewives of DC’s Mary Schmidt Amons”). Her interiors were calm and airy with splashes of modernity. In the spirit of design, we wanted to provide a look at the other end of the spectrum.
The Real Housewives of New York City’s Alex McCord may be the only Brooklyn gal, but her taste for interior design packs its own punch. “We [Alex and her husband, Simon Van Kempen] both have a pretty eclectic taste,” McCord reveals to iVillage. “Our idea of hell is living in a plain white room.” On season one of Bravo’s reality hit show, the Cobble Hill couple was in the process of completing phase one of their renovation.
“We took a break, filmed season 1 of the show and geared up for phase two, the beginning of which you see in this episode and involves the interior of our main living space,” Alex writes on her blog. Talk about messy as the Van Kempens tried to carry on with life (including birthday parties and gatherings) in the midst of saw dust, plywood, and construction equipment. Thankfully as time went on, so did the renovations. Using co-star Jill Zarin’s Zarin Fabrics (see “Zarin Fabrics: An Insider Look Behind the Brand, the History, and the Family”) as a textile resource, the couple revealed the renovation during season two.
The living room is undeniably the most vibrant room in the house. Rock ‘n’ roll partners with bordello inspired digs throughout the space. Photos of Alice Cooper, David Bowie, and Rick James liven the walls while the drapes scream electric adornment with its brocade-styled design. There seems to be a good balance between pattern, bold hues, and simplicity. The white ceiling helps to control the room’s playfully wild nature; you barely notice the chocolate floor as it blends into the room. The gray molding around the living room really enhance its color, and complete the space. And let’s not forget the furnishings. Mid-century is mixed with ornate fixtures like the chandelier.
Not a fan of the living room? That’s okay as there are more than enough spaces for you to enjoy in this brownstone. The kitchen combines sustainability (bamboo cabinetry) along with a clean, minimalist design. The Van Kempens may be eclectic, but they also have a soft side. “Our living room is very rock ‘n’ roll, but our bedroom is very zen,” explains Alex. Who would have thought that such relaxed interior like the master bedroom would be under the same roof as an energetic living room. Adventurous hues have been replaced for soothing tones to evoke tranquility. The even gets extra decorating points for repurposing their unused fireplace into a much needed bookcase.
Alex McCord’s house exemplifies displaying one’s personality in the home. Each room has its own character and style that enhances the house. Taking chances with color and patterns (using balance and proportion of course) can produce great results. And if you are not comfortable with too much color, use it sparingly, or in one room.
To learn more about Alex’s renovations, read the iVillage article, ” At Home with Real Housewife Alex McCord.”
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