W hen it comes to the objects displayed in her home, designer Juniper Tedhams is both a collector and, by her own admission, ‘a ruthless editor’. ‘I like to have space around things,’ she explains.
This instinct to strip back rather than endlessly add has served her well in this Manhattan townhouse, where she lives with her husband, lighting designer Sean O’Connor.
Within its walls, she has drawn together influences from different stages in her life, including gritty reclamation finds from London, refined furniture by Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret, contemporary art and her own perfectly balanced designs.
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Juniper bought this 1850s home with her sister 22 years ago and took the upper ground parlour floor and the lower ground floor. Over time, Juniper says, her style here has evolved.
‘In one iteration, I painted all the rooms in moody blues and greens and the upholstery was dark, too,’ she recalls.
Today, the scheme is far lighter with monochromes, neutrals and walls skimmed in Venetian plaster.
‘I limited the palette and tried to create depth and variation with texture,’ she says. ‘That said, I’m already dreaming of re-covering the large black sofa in a patchwork of peach and melon…’
Juniper did a degree and then an MA in fine art but combined her studies with working for a Chicago antiques and salvage dealer and went on to open her own eponymous furniture store in New York.
Her taste has also been informed by spending time in London in the late 1990s, where she forged friendships with dealers at the Core One collective in Chelsea, where Will Fisher from Jamb also started out.
‘I still have pieces I bought then, including a 19th century saddle bench, so perhaps I’m not entirely ruthless,’ she smiles. The cream of mid-century European design is her favourite style for its ‘simplicity of form’.
However, to make the scale and shape of the townhouse rooms work, Juniper also used her own furniture designs. ‘The townhouse layout can be a challenge,’ she says.
‘Much like the British Victorian home, it’s essentially a long narrow run of connected spaces, with no side windows. In order to get light in, rooms need to be as open-plan as possible.’
In Juniper and Sean’s home, sliding doors between the sitting room and study remain open during the day so there is a front-to-back flow of light. This can make the spaces feel rather exposed, so Juniper’s solution was to design high-sided sofas that wrap around the sitter.
‘The velvet sofa, in particular, is so deep that it acts as a “shelter”, so you can read or watch TV without being completely visible to the rest of the floor,’ she says.
Above this sofa, a ceiling mural in earthy, natural shades adds originality. ‘The inspiration was some fragments of an art-deco rug that I found,’ says Juniper, who collaborated with artist Dean Barger to create the mural.
‘I knew I wanted that melon colour and the almost black “cola” shade and I showed him the predominant motifs. Dean improvised from there,’ she says.
Juniper’s love of surfaces that surprise continues downstairs. During her time in London, she bought a large batch of vintage cattle-yard bricks – dark, terracotta blocks studded with Duplo-like cobbles – and she’s laid them in the bathroom and guest bedroom.
‘I’d never seen anything like them and I thought they were just magical,’ she says. ‘Down here, where there is less architectural ornamentation, their heft makes sense.’
It’s Juniper’s talent for seeing the beauty in rough and ready bricks alongside iconic furniture that cements her unique townhouse style.
With thanks to Juniper Tedhams