A Colorfully Sophisticated Manhattan Apartment

In this Manhattan apartment, designer Lisa Henderson wove a blend of colors, botanical patterns, antiques, and a few modern elements together with playful references for an interesting and layered interior.
A pink velvet couch sits in a wallpapered living room.
Lisa pulled in the home’s gamut of hues when designing the den. She also specified a custom color for the “Bali Hai” Quadrille wallpaper and fabric to bring in brown, a grounding color that adds dimension.

Colorfully sophisticated with that elusive quality of dressy comfort, this New York apartment offers a polished femininity equally suited to the owner’s social events and to her young daughter’s tea parties. Some rooms are more formal than others, but the common threads are color, pattern, and a welcoming aura where everyone feels at home. “The apartment is right down the street from the daughter’s school,” says designer Lisa Henderson. “It’s the place everyone gathers when class gets out, so we didn’t want anything too old-fashioned or overly grand.”

Blue and white jars in an entryway.
In the foyer, a collection of blue-and-white ginger jars, vases, and tulipieres makes a grand gesture on top and beneath the 19th-century mahogany sideboard scored at an Upper East Side estate sale.
A floral print chair sits in the corner of a striped wallpaper room.
Lisa mixes several different patterns in neutral colors to create a harmonious and effortless look.

Lisa’s jumping-off point was the “Paradise” Bennison fabric on the living room club chairs. Its range of pinks, reds, purples, and shades of blue and green, along with warm bits of taupe, provided a palette that Lisa could incorporate throughout the house in varying strengths and tones. Lisa says, “We wanted the gathering spaces to look more grown up, so I turned to rich colors such as aubergine, raspberry, and teal.” A chocolate brown sofa grounds the space. “It really serves as the anchor for the room,” the designer says. “And it’s the perfect shade of brown—not too light and not too dark.”

In the wide entry hall, Lisa covered the walls in a coral-leaning orange (“Daylily” by Benjamin Moore). The warm hue is a connector that allowed the designer to push and pull patterns and complementary colors through adjacent rooms. “From here, you can see all of the main living areas,” Lisa says.

Green wallpaper with florals and pink curtains in a dining room.
The dining room cues a lighthearted, romantic attitude with its cherry blossom wallpaper, skirted chairs, and crystal chandelier. A Parisian mirror adds a note of sophistication.

In the dining room, she chose the lettuce colorway of Schumacher’s “Chinois Palais” wallpaper, a lively complement to the hall’s orange-hued walls. The Chinese-inspired print features fascinating birds and cherry blossoms, ensuring that the space is perpetually in bloom. Cameo-colored taffeta draperies in a Schumacher fabric tie the room back to the entry while receding enough to keep the focus on the wallpaper, fabrics, antiques, and accessories.

The Georgian mahogany pedestal table is surrounded by chairs upholstered in “Rambagh Reverse” by Lisa Fine Textiles. The designer added a pleated, “Eloise-style” mini-skirt to the chairs, a nod to the storybook character’s school uniform. And just as in Eloise’s home, The Plaza Hotel itself, gold accents and silver candelabras add a glamourous note. The ornate, antique Parisian mirror captures the sparkle of the early 19th-century French chandelier, a piece that Lisa altered to electrify in the center and left as is to fit candles in the branches.

Blue patterned furniture and curtains in a light blue room.
Living room walls are painted “Pale Powder” by Farrow & Ball, a soft green neutral with just enough power to bring out the variation of colors in the draperies and upholstery.

The den, equally spirited, takes a more casual approach with the raspberry-colored sectional, antelope-print Stark carpet, and Quadrille wallpaper in a shade specified by Lisa. Doors and base- boards painted a custom blue offer one more modicum of color to keep things interesting. “The blue color is so pretty, and it pops,” Lisa says. “Brown can be too heavy, and white trim can be boring.”

Pale blue patterns cover a bedroom.
The primary bedroom departs from its neighboring rooms with its focus on the sublime. The regal canopy bed, walls, and draperies are swathed in “Happy Garden” from Quadrille. Lisa designed the bench and upholstered it with fabric from Chelsea Textiles. Bungalow 5 nightstands play to feminine curves.

Accent pillows and a fabric-covered ottoman pull from colors throughout the home, something Lisa says requires the right mix of scale to be successful. “Prints can’t all be large or small,” she explains. “Creating tension helps achieve the right look.” Bedrooms lean toward a softer side, as seen in the primary suite. A Quadrille floral-patterned fabric cloaks the entire space in a pretty Wedgwood blue while the canopy bed with its gathered drapery offers regal, cloud-like comfort. Matouk linens and a custom bench at the foot of the bed bring in creamy accents. While the space feels quieter than the rest of the house, it still maintains Lisa’s color theory. “It’s all about finding the right balance,” Lisa says, referring not only to the bedroom but also to the overall interior design. For her client, that balance lies in the middle of big city elegance and family life comfort.

By Cathy Still McGowin

Photography by Jacob Snavely

Styling by Frances Bailey


INTERIORS: Interior design: Lisa Henderson, Lisa Henderson Interiors, lisahendersoninteriors.com.

DEN: Sofa Fabric: Marvic Textiles, marvictextiles. co.uk; Large floral print: Etsy, etsy.com; Drapery fabric, wallpaper, and armchair fabric: Quadrille, quadrillefabrics.com; Rug: Stark Carpet, starkcarpet.com;
Floral artwork: Christian Brechneff, christianbrechneff.com; Table lamp:
Penny Morrison, pennymorrison.com.

LIVING ROOM: Wall color: ‘Pale Powder’
by Farrow & Ball, farrow-ball.com; Club chair fabric: Paradise by Bennison, bennisonfabrics.com; Lamps: Christopher Spitzmiller Inc., christopherspitzmiller.
com; Drapery and armchair fabric: Lisa Fine Textiles, lisafinetextiles.com.

FOYER: Wall color: ‘Daylily’ by Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com; Lamp shade: Fermoie, fermoie.com; Chair fabric: Rambaugh Reverse by Lisa Fine Textiles, lisafinetextiles. com; Oushak rug: Sullivan Fine Rugs, sullivanfinerugs.com.

DINING ROOM: Lampshades: Fermoie, fermoie.com; Wallpaper: Chinois Palais by Schumacher, schumacher.com; Draperies: Schumacher, schumacher.com.

PRIMARY BEDROOM: Fabric and wallcovering: Happy Garden by Quadrille, quadrillefabrics.com; Linens: Matouk, matouk.com; Bench fabric: Chelsea Textiles, chelseatextiles.com; Bedside tables: Bungalow 5, bungalow5.com.