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By Eva Leonard | Photo: by Larry Kagen | October 4, 2017
When Monroe Sherman needed to fill his new Upper East Side apartment, he looked to his own showrooms: the former and the current.
Although the open space, white walls and abundant light in Monroe Sherman’s ninth-floor penthouse create a loftlike ambience, the 3,500-square-foot space is actually subtly delineated. The Miami showroom owner’s purpose was to create “salons” happening throughout—a handy plan for entertaining.
The decor of Monroe’s apartment at Palm Bay Club blends pieces from Carriage House—the showroom founded in 1971 by his father, the furniture designer Ted Sherman—with selections from the Ted Sherman collection at Carriage House Modern, Monroe’s just-opened Miami concept store. Monroe created the collection and Carriage House Modern in homage to his father and kept a number of his pieces in the showroom. “My father was a terrific furniture designer who was way ahead of his time,” Monroe says. “He opened Carriage House as a showcase for modernism, to be able to create forward-thinking pieces. My new showroom emphasizes design from a different point of view, with new collections from abroad, and greater emphasis on approachability, in addition to functionality and beauty.”
During jaunts to Europe, Monroe sourced artisans who pushed the design envelope and invited them to participate in a venture that celebrates diversity and lush living. Complementing vintage and classic lines, the Ted Sherman collection will present designers such as Italy’s Flou, Il Pezzo Mancante, Meroni & Colzani and Amura, as well as Portugal’s Munna and Ginger & Jagger and France’s Hugues Chevalier.
For his own home, Monroe knew that he wanted classically modern furniture that was timeless and reflected his obsession with comfort, texture and form. Although the art might evoke museum-worthiness, the furniture groupings bring people together, rather than prompting them to stand back and admire the canvases. For Monroe, it’s all about the power of the vignette. “I’ve learned a thing or two from incredible interior designers about living with your passions, not your possessions,” he says. “My art and furniture groupings reflect that. It is not your typical mono-style statement.”
In the front sitting room, “Sophia,” a 60-by-72-inch oil and acrylic painting by Darian Rodriguez Mederos, faces a cluster of four chairs in espresso brown leather with dark walnut frames. This interpretation of the classic French spoon-back chair was conceived by Ted Sherman in the ’50s; Monroe redesigned the chairs five years ago, adding nailhead trim and leather. A pair of supple cream leather club chairs with solid oak frames that flank the painting were designed by Michel Dufet in the 1930s.
“I considered how I like to sit, sleep, watch a movie, read—you name it—and I had serious criteria in place before I went sourcing,” he says. “I love that you can see the influences of the antique forms reinterpreted in the new, modern pieces, like the de Sede wing chair and the Karl Springer cocktail table, both in the front living room.”
He also wanted art that was somewhat provocative and visually interacted with the furnishings: “I love the realism in the ‘Sophia’ painting and the fact that my George Barris-signed photos of Marilyn Monroe interact with the Karl Springer nightstands in the guest room.” Likewise, the history reflected in the pre-Raphaelite painting of “Sarah Bernhardt in Venice” lives in harmony with a ’30s Paolo Buffa bar cabinet and ’50s Hans Wegner dining chairs in the dining room.
In the bedroom, a pair of velvet off-white Buffa chairs with solid brass feet are perfect for appreciating the view: beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows is a vista that takes in Biscayne Bay and Miami, plus South Beach and Fisher Island. The colors that hug the shoreline haven’t been forgotten in the decor: The bathroom’s aquatic motif is expressed in bold green- and blue-hued walls and in the river stones embedded in the sink countertop.
“Today,” he explains, “my team and I believe that abundance is about exceptional comfort: fabrics, shapes, sizes, materials, textures and the mix of what we can create to live really, really well.”