Expressive Modern: Amy Lau's Interiors

Amy Lau’s magnificent insides have a means of standing outside. Whether the house is a simple Manhattan attic or an upscale state cottage, she has an impeccable direction of mixing color, texture and pattern. She uses classic products with sterile lines, but mixes them in an artistic fashion to create a look really her own.

Lau’s first publication, Expressive Modern: The Interiors of Amy Lau (Fall 2011, The Monacelli Press), explores the methods behind her fashion and reveals homeowners easy methods to incorporate her eclectic look.

Amy Lau Design

The publication is divided by what homeowners need to know to design a house that’s functional, one-of-a-kind and beautiful. Chapters on colour and layout, function and flair, and soul and craft invite homeowners to take risks but also stay true to what they love. In the conclusion, Lau includes a list of her design muses and mentors — style ingenues from the present and past who have affected her magnificent work.

This is a shot out of Lau’s area from the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in 2007. Lau customized virtually every part in this area. The bold and abstract palette was inspired by the sea, sky and sand, and a painting by Josef Albers.

Amy Lau Design

This area is part of a 2,500-square-foot apartment in Manhattan. The homeowners had a beautiful abstract painting by Rex Ray, also Lau discovered a gorgeous Tibetan rug which was done in one of their artist’s graphics. The rug and hand-embroidered pattern onto the cushions inspired the room’s color scheme. The sculptural pieces on the wall have been enameled Boi lamps by David Weeks. The heads of every lamp turn to mild distinct bits of the room at night.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Creating classic interiors for my clients and designing”bespoke” one-of-a-kind bits is the most lucrative part of what I do. I have a tendency to consider the lifespan the bits will carry and how they are going to become family heirlooms which can be passed down from generation to generation.

Amy Lau Design

This soothing bedroom a part of the same Manhattan apartment from the living area in the previous shot. Textiles made by artist Judy Ross combine beautifully with hand-blown glass bits in the mattress frame. An elegant customized pendant lamp made by Michael Anchin reflects the same peaceful palette.

Q: What do you hope people will get out of this book?

I expect the readers will understand the importance of personalizing their own area. It can be as simple as painting a wall in a colour they’re drawn to, showcasing a vase they’ve picked up in their travels, using vintage furniture they’ve collected throughout the years, displaying art from the country of their ancestors, or a pile of their favorite books on a coffee table.

Amy Lau Design

A sitting area in this Miami house plays warmer colors in a bold but restrained style. A collection of bright glass is displayed in Silvo Cavatora shelving unit along with also a GiĆ³ Ponti sideboard. The red chaise by Osvolado Borsani adds more colour without overwhelming.

Q: You often work in flats. What kind of space-saving solutions would you employ to keep things compact?

the simplest way to keep your life compact is to only keep the items that you love and, more significant, use. When I go through the editing process with my clients I ask them,”Can you enjoy this thing? Does it improve your life at all? Have you ever used it in the past year?” If the reply to all of the questions is”yes,” then we keep it. It’s necessary to get this done on your home to keep the clutter at bay.

Amy Lau Design

Lau made an elegant 3D theme of branches and magnolias out of beautiful wallpaper from Maya Romanoff for its 2009 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. The leaves are all made of seven paper patterns — Maya Romanoff’s studio brightly colored and cut the branches and hand-painted the leaves. Artist Jo Lynn Alcorncut the petals down by hand, putting it all together.

Q: What are 4 things you would inform homeowners decorating their house for the very first time?

This is a fantastic question, since I organized my book so that homeowners could easily follow them and make their houses unique.

1. First, I would say that colour and pattern really are a large way to make an impression in your house. It’s necessary to not be afraid of colour and mixing patterns since it creates a huge impact to any area. If you can’t paint, I’d suggest bringing in some throw pillows with a fantastic pattern and obtaining some fantastic art for the walls.

2. My next tip would be to conceal and exhibit . Every dwelling has its quirks; try to allow them to work in your favor. After, in a client’s house, I made an embarrassing column in an entryway into a beautiful, leather-clad, curving wall with a concealed powder area behind it.

3. My third tip would be to get great functional items which add flair to your home. A beautiful hanging cupboard would be a terrific way to add storage to your house whilst adding visual interest.

4. Function as a curator when decorating, also to find bits which are crafted and also have spirit to them. When you collect accessories or furniture which you love, the distance immediately becomes your very own. I believe it is crucial to search for classic pieces which are of fantastic quality. In addition, I prefer to search for pieces which have a hand-crafted feel because they add personality and warmth. Try searching about local flea markets and collecting things from your travels to make your space distinctively your own.

Next, more photos of Lau’s insides from Expressive Modern

Amy Lau Design

The bedroom in this Miami Townhouse is restrained in colour and fashion. To keep the room open and wash, Lau replaced the customary bench with two Charlotte Perriand stools in the foot of the mattress. A picture but soothing duvet echoes the same colors and patterns as the floor rug from Niba.

Amy Lau Design

With this house, Lau wished to unite the husband and wife’s various styles — she desired a modern loft feel; he desired a more cabin-like look. Lau established the colour scheme off of the beautiful foliage out, and chose classic furniture in soft and curvy mid-century bits to offset the hard angles of the property’s construction.

Amy Lau Design

Lau decided the windows in the living area of the Greenwich Village apartment desired colour and play, so she added those extended floor-to-ceiling drapes. The graceful and easy drapes quickly transformed the look of this living room. Working with Judy Ross, Lau had the textiles custom designed on easy wool panels. The outcome is a simple but graphic accent.

Amy Lau Design

The kitchen in Lau’s lake house project opens up completely to the outside. Like the living room, the kitchen was designed as a simple and elegant mixture of a more modern style and a natural, cottage texture.

Amy Lau Design

Based in New York, Amy based Amy Lau Design in 2001 and designs projects nationally.

Novel: Expressive Modern: The Interiors of Amy Lau, composed with Linda O’Keefe (Fall 2011, The Monacelli Press).

Lau’s portrait by Mark Seliger

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