As a breathtaking followup to her deliciously stunning tome Cook Beautiful, Eyeswoon's Athena Calderone invites us inside the private spaces of top tastemakers with Live Beautiful ($40, Abrams Books).
Athena and Victor Calderone's bedroom is a haven of neutralism and texture; Oliver Gustav's minimalistic style.
What inspired you to launch this new book?
I love to dissect any creative journey. I am always so curious about how someone’s process is ignited, what that first point of inspiration is and how a design dialogue is born piece by piece. For my own design work, I can always trace it back to that initial spark, and I wanted to document and dissect the alchemy of other designers’ homes. But beyond that, I wanted to create a book that was actionable—that offered the reader some insight into the design principles at play in a given image. While many of the homes in the book are elevated and aspirational, my goal as the design expert was to break down and distill precisely what is happening, offering a practical tip that showcases why the room works. I wanted to share the how and the why so that the reader can walk away empowered to exercise these principles within their own home.
Glass doors in Jean Charles Tomas' home break up the space while letting light flow through.
How does the narrative of Cook Beautiful continue in Live Beautiful?
I suppose similarly in Cook Beautiful, I also infused a teachable moment in offering tips on how to plate your food and improve the visual presentation of any dish.
Signe Bindslev Henriksen let artwork shine as a main focal point while utilizing chandeliers to give a romantic aura.
For you personally, what does living beautifully mean?
Design is so personal; beauty is so personal—the things you collect over time express your own narrative, which holds such intimate memories. It is an expression of your eye, the things you love, the objects you have collected, and that alone harnesses a certain voltage of beauty. Our homes are also where we spend the most quality time with our loved ones and our sacred time with ourselves. To live beautifully simply means to express who you are in your home—to look, explore and tinker within your space so that it becomes the closest reflection of what you love and what your eye craves, and most of all what makes you happiest.
Natural marble stone with matte finishes in the kitchen of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent.
What are some of your favorite interiors in this book?
I am simply obsessed with Jenna Lyons’ perfectly layered home. And Signe Bindslev Henriksen of Space Copenhagen’s home exercises both restraint and bold contrast, which my eye will always gravitate toward.
Berkus and Brent found a local decorative painter to create a mural of trees inside their master bathroom.
I love how you start with the design inspiration for each home. Why do you think understanding that spark is so key to appreciating a beautiful interior?
I am just a curious creature who wants to dissect creativity and hoped others would be equally captivated at people’s starting points. We all find inspiration in different places. Our eyes absorb so much, and we often store these little inklings or visual nuggets in our mind and never quite know when something will be unleashed— it can be the subtle curve of a sculpture or the light on holiday in Italy, the texture of a weatherbeaten stone—who knows? But I do think each choice leads you to the next discovery, and if you allow yourself to be led, the process can unfold so poetically. I just love that each home is such a direct reflection of their own eye—what moves them and only them. Our homes are so very intimate.
Where do you find your own design inspiration?
It is the collection of objects. I am such a seeker—I love the hunt. I am also unwavering; I never settle, and I can get obsessive in my search when I know what I want. It is often the form of an object or the texture and patina of material I am after.
Danielle Siggerud's townhouse uses pale woods, steel stairs and glass doors to completely allow the sun to glow up the house.
You just completed a renovation on your own home, correct? What was the inspiration for that project?
I did just renovate my Amagansett home. The goal was to freshen and brighten the space through the materiality and finishes but not alter any architecture, and to unclutter but also add warmth through rich wood pieces and texture in wall finishes. I began with choosing new marble for the kitchen, and the neutral, plum and soft green tones in the stone are what set the palette for the rest of the home. Do you have a favorite room or area? I really love the kitchen, particularly the fluted green plaster-clad island that was crafted by Kamp Studios. I also love the small family room off the kitchen. The space was transformed by simply lightening the slipcover on the sofa and inserting a statement rug from Tali Roth’s Empire Collection.
What is next for you in terms of launches, projects or future collaborations?
I recently designed a side table and sconce with Simone Bodmer-Turner and a series of wood butcher block boards with Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co. I am excited to continue to explore creating products and step into the TV realm!
Photography by: Nicole Franzen/ Courtesy of Abrams Books