Abstract Art & Period Property - How to Create a Refined Mix

Newly acquired property always feels empty and not lived in when you first move in. It may take months or even years to furnish your home with everything your heart desires: from finding an ideal painting for a drab corner or a light fixture that makes the room come alive. Bearing this in mind, for owners of period properties one further task presents itself: how to add interest and drama in your home that subtly encompasses both tradition and contemporary design aesthetic? How to reference rich cultural heritage whilst creating modern appeal? Is it possible to decorate your home with antique or vintage finds without making it look like your grandmother’s house?

Whilst researching this concept for one of my interior design clients, I came across an article in Architectural Digest Grand Gestures by William Middleton that deals with this particular issue beautifully. The home featured is a Federal-style mansion in Houston that impeccably pairs the contemporary with the bygone. Interior decorator Elissa Cullman, who oversaw the design of the interior, exercised her smart take on tradition to give the house its distinguished look.

To achieve the same, do not hesitate to pair ultra conservative pieces with bold and visually arresting objects and colours. The abstract painting by Simon Hantai is the perfect antidote to the ornately embellished marble top table. The tall and handsome delphiniums add a touch of deep and delicate softness to the white room, which could otherwise appear somewhat austere. 

Throughout the house the artworks not only lend themselves to be appreciated as striking focal points but also counterbalance the traditional features. The calm and restrained colour palette used for soft and hard finishes, paired with pieces imbued with history against bold art create welcome tension and drama whilst emphasising the polarities of the styles separated by eras but united in their aesthetic appeal.   The stronger the art, the more elegant the antique pieces, the more dramatic the effect. Overall result – a memorable and considered look that is imbued with energy and sophistication that works in any interior, however grand or small.

The referenced article appeared in Architectural Digest, December 2013. Photography by Bjorn Wallander.

Mirage Collection

This collection evokes a mysterious illusion of a desert mirage. Intriguing, yet illusive impressions of lush greenery, exotic fruits and burning sun are inspired by intrepid travellers’ encounters with fantastical surroundings and parched landscapes. Experience the thrill of a distant voyage with the Mirage collection of organic cotton and silk luxury throw and bolster cushions.

Midtown Collection

The Midtown collection is imbued with New York City’s 1970s flamboyance of striking colours and loud statements evoking energy and panache of the city that never sleeps. Taking inspiration from an iconic Midtown club, Studio 54, each design features dynamic colour combination arranged in a grid-like pattern reminiscent of Manhattan’s orderly streets. Add a hip and vibrant Midtown vibe to your home with this spiffy silk and velvet collection of luxury throw and bolster cushions.

Montezuma Collection

Designs of this collection are suggestive of a wondrous journey across arid Arizona landscapes surrounded by mythology of the Amerindian tribes.  Referencing heroic tribal gods, vertiginous Grand Canyon gorges and breath-taking sunsets, the Montezuma collection will add mystical vibrancy to your home. Striking, yet luxurious, each piece will take you on a far-flung voyage across the Four Corners accompanied by fabled beings and majestic beasts. 

Hint, hint...


A full cosmetic refurbishment was undertaken in a 70 sqm (755 sq ft) pied-à-terre located in a well-appointed apartment block. Classic design pieces paired with a meticulously put together palette of finishes and fittings created a comfortable and contemporary home away from home.

De Beauvoir Town

A full redesign of a 150 sqm (1600 sq ft) family home situated in a conservation area. Services included space planning, furniture selection, be joinery and interior styling. Property’s period features were sympathetically complemented with contemporary design pieces to create a chic and refined family home.

About Us

FifteenFifteen offers a professional, reliable interior design service with a personal touch. Natalia Petrov, a one-woman team behind FifteenFifteen, brings interpretation of clients’ vision and her expertise to create individually tailored environments that translate into highly practical living spaces.

Founded in 2015, FifteenFifteen provides interior design services with a strong emphasis on originality, craftsmanship and practicality.

FifteenFifteen’s designs do not have a particular ‘look’ or adhere to a certain interior style. Instead, ideas are transformed into personalised homes reflecting clients’ interests, lifestyle, period and style of the property as well as its location. Individuality is at the core of the FifteenFifteen’s design ethos.

From an initial consultation to the final snagging visit, every stage of the project is overseen and attended to with utmost care and attention reflecting the commitment to meet clients’ expectations on time, budget and aesthetic.

Recent commissions include an apartment in Chelsea, a Regent’s Canal waterfront pied-à-terre and family homes in North London. Through meticulous planning, sourcing and collaboration with clients and counterparts, FifteenFifteen applies its philosophy of crafted individuality to deliver detail driven and value enhanced homes whilst individually crafting clients’ experiences within them.



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