In the trendy Manhtattan neighborhood of SoHo, there flutters a young woman who interior designer describes as, essentially, a human butterfly.
"The first thing she said is, 'I love butterflies.' She's fluttery, always traveling, and I think she thinks she's a butterfly," Bikoff says of her latest client, a worldly ingénue who has regularly spent summers at the in the south of France, separates her closet into sections for striking sequin and velvet outfits, and always wears a Van Cleef butterfly necklace (and adores her Valentino butterfly boots).
"Even though she's very young, she has a very sophisticated aesthetic of Old World European furniture, mostly French 18th-century pieces," says Bikoff. The well-traveled woman, who is also the owner of a coconut yogurt brand, is happy-go-lucky and youthful — but growing up in a world of high design hotels, she has an unmistakable sense of sophisticated French style. Her request for Bikoff: Recreate an apartment with a blend of European Old World aesthetic and whimsical style.
That resulting blend is evident from first glance at the apartment, which flaunts a myriad of rainbow colors carefully selected and bestowed upon antique furniture from around the world.
To cater to her client's Old World tastes and her preferences for modern colors in the living room, Bikoff selected a classic 18th-century Chesterfield sofa upholstered in turquoise velvet and two 18th-century French bergère chairs in a hot pink fabric.
"Maharam is a very modern, contemporary fabric company, with velvets that are really bright in color," says Bikoff. "That color was such a pop of freshness and youthfulness on the old chairs."
"The rug adds that element of another traditional piece, but dying it turquoise recreated it into something new," says Bikoff. "It doesn't matter that all these pieces come from different eras, because they all connect in color."
In the dining room, a chandelier floats above a dining table made from an Indonesian acacia wood slab. The chairs are upholstered in a floral fabric reminiscent of Gucci floral prints that made waves in the '60s. This "bouquet" aesthetic was a strategy Bikoff used to bring the many colors in the space together.
"If you imagine a bouquet of flowers, or an Impressionist painting like a Monet, you're going to see plenty of colors together," says Bikoff. "The same can apply to a space, but you need to find a connection. Here, that connection is the fabric on the dining room chairs, which showcases colors also found throughout the room."
The kitchen flaunts slightly more contemporary style, with pendant lights from and tulip barstools in a 1960s pink leather.
The white master bedroom is a breath of tranquility reminiscent of the many hotels the client had spent time in, but incorporates touches of Hollywood Regency and Parisian style.
"I originally wanted to paint the master bedroom mint green or peach, but she wanted to keep it white because she liked the freshness," says Bikoff of her hotel-loving client.
Painted in a high gloss Chantilly Lace from , the room features a shaggy, modern rug from (meant to help the room resemble a "white puff cloud"). However, the fabric on the drapes, headboard and bedskirt is an archived vintage pattern — a very classic "Ritz Paris" aesthetic, says Bikoff.
At the foot of the bed, French style meets Hollywood Regency with an antique French settee upholstered in fabric that Bikoff describes as "granny chic."
"It reminds me of an Old Hollywood glam actress, like something Marilyn Monroe might have in her house," says Bikoff. "That's also where we get the hot pink satin curtain with the crystal tassel, which is a very Jayne Mansfield Pink Palace look."
A crystal chandelier in the bedroom was a necessity, as it was in the dining room.
"The client loves crystal chandeliers and was all about having them," says Bikoff. "Even though I wasn't sure about it, she got me to go into an uncomfortable zone and buy these crazy crystal chandeliers for her apartment. It turned out to be a very sophisticated, traditional look."
A striking powder room showcases a turquoise butterfly wallpaper, echoing the butterfly motifs on the living room sofa's pillows.
"I showed the client a lot of different butterfly wallpapers and fabrics because many companies make them, but Lacroix just knows how to mix that old-school French style in a new way with great colors," says Bikoff. "It feels more fashionable, edgy and special than the other butterfly patterns we looked at."
The wallpaper's turquoise serves as the foundation for its wild design, much like the rich turquoise rug in the living room lays the foundation for the colorful space.
The apartment as a whole is proof even fluttering social butterflies need a place to land sometimes — and for one Manhattanite, an exuberantly spirited space anchored with Old World flair is the perfect place to do so.
Scroll on to see the rest of the apartment.