The list of s in Christina Juarez’s iPhone reads like a who’s who of the decorating world. Thom Filicia, Richard Mishaan, Amanda Nisbet, and Bobby McAlpine are just some of the A‑listers she has represented through her eponymous public-relations firm. The head-scratcher is why she chose to take on the interior design of the Chelsea apartment she shares with her husband, lawyer Nathan Ploener, herself. “I would be a nightmare client,” Juarez explains. “I’m that person who would be scouring eBay and 1stdibs at 2 a.m. — and sending pictures through the night.”
The walls in the master bath are sheathed in a wallpaper, available through . The stool is from , the white vase is from the , and the photograph reflected in the mirror is
by Dariusz Klimczak.
It’s been more than a decade since Juarez traded in a fashion career — bookended by a first job at Oscar de la Renta and a swan song as a senior vice president of communications for Christian Dior — for work that literally strikes closer to home. Her first client was Bunny Williams, who gave her the only piece of advice to which she has always adhered unconditionally. “She told me to buy only what I love,” Juarez says.
The vintage Milo Baughman sofa is in a velvet and a pair of 1970s chairs are in a velvet. The cocktail table and floor lamp are by , the side tables are by , and the pillows and rug are by . The portraits are by Kimberly Brooks.
The hundreds of tips, tricks, and resources she has gleaned over the years from her clients have been invaluable, too. “I have it all at my fingertips,” she says, “though I am inclined to do the opposite of what I’m told.” Her contrarian instincts are immediately apparent upon walking through the front door of the 1,400-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment overlooking Manhattan’s High Line. It takes guts to pile bold prints on even bolder patterns, but this de la Renta alumna is undeterred. “Come on! Oscar was a master of that mix,” says Juarez. “I love putting pattern, color, and a bit of bling together.”
The custom kitchen island has a Carrara marble top, the pendants and floor lamp are by , and the barstools are by ; the bar cart is by , and the Sam Still artwork above it hangs on a wall covered in a wallpaper; the antique birthing chair is from New Orleans.
She tapped a friend, fashion designer–turned-decorator Stephen DiGeronimo, to be her sounding board. A visit to the atelier of textile and wallpaper designer Madeline Weinrib inspired several dramatic gestures in the apartment, from the black-and-white foyer to a living room that explodes with pattern and color. “Christina is playful and not afraid to take risks,” Weinrib says, “which is why her home is such a happy place.”
Nevertheless, a steely determination underlies her cheerful disposition. She admits to a dogged pursuit of the perfect version of any specific item she is looking for — be it a fabric, a wallpaper, or a new dress. “I’m one of those people who has to see every single white blouse before I buy one,” she says.
The Saarinen dining table is from , the vintage Anton Lorenz for chairs are covered in a silk ikat, the linen curtains are , and the pendant is . On the table, the pitcher is from , the amethyst plates are by , and the salt and pepper shakers are vintage.
Her search for rugs, pillows, textiles, furniture, and art repeatedly brought her back to her own clients and friends. Nisbet designed the black petunia pendant in the foyer, where Weinrib’s graphic zigzag rug covers the floor. When Juarez couldn’t decide what to hang over the dining room table, interior designer Malcolm James Kutner presented her with a Noguchi pendant. “He hung the moon for me,” she says with a laugh.
Juarez’s more-is-more mantra is evident in every room, where every wall is stacked with the art and objects she has been collecting for years. In the living room, porcelain parrots nabbed at flea markets gain stature when propped up on pedestals and surrounded by fine art. Portraiture is a passion: A pair of enchanting oils by Venice, California–based artist Kimberly Brooks — oversize, mock-historical, and framed in gold — look diagonally across the room to cameos of Juarez and her husband by New York artist Doug Meyer, rendered in glass, agate, and resin.
In the home office, the walls and vintage sofa are covered in an fabric from . The vintage chair and pillows are in a ikat, the elephant stool is by , the side table is by , and the rug is by . An Oberto Gili photograph, anchors artworks by Oscar de la Renta (top left) and Donald Robertson (top center).
It is Juarez’s office, however, that offers up an eyeful of her aesthetic at its most intrepid. “Orange is my favorite color, but I could not inflict that on my husband,” she says. Instead, she confined the tangerine hue to her own private working quarters, where, like a Mario Buatta acolyte, she wrapped the entire room — walls, sofas, cushions, lampshades — in a custom print by Elizabeth Hamilton. What’s more, she upholstered the chairs in hot-pink ikat. “I never met an ikat I didn’t like,” says Juarez. On top of it all, she hung fashion illustrations, along with an abstract work by the gardens and interiors photographer Oberto Gili.
For all of her daring, Juarez admits she was petrified to invite one designer in particular to see the finished apartment. Of the clients and friends whose work she admires, she was most nervous about how Thom Filicia would react to her foray into his territory. Apart from a little friendly advice to lose a few ikat pillows, the designer and television personality was blown away. “Christina’s apartment feels like one of her fabulous outfits,” Filicia says. “It’s unique and stylish in a way that’s all her own.”
This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of ELLE DECOR.