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DEBBIE TRAVIS: Brian Gluckstein takes us home

This elegant sitting room shimmers with peaceful luxury.
This elegant sitting room shimmers with peaceful luxury.

For more than 20 years Brian Gluckstein has entertained, enlightened and delighted us all with his personal take on interior design. Although most of us will never live in the mansions, chalets and sprawling country homes that Gluckstein has designed and decorated, his appeal is universal; his vast knowledge of decorative elements and fresh ideas can be transformed in part to any space that you love.

Attention to detail, every single detail, is his passion. Yes, the home’s architecture, the layout of the rooms and the owners’ lifestyle are huge considerations. But he is adamant that the whole is only complete when that last cushion is meticulously stitched. Everything counts.

Gluckstein’s book, The Art Of Home, is a testament to some of his finest work, and as he states in his epilogue, “this book isn’t simply a look back; it also offers a glimpse of what’s to come.” Let’s take a close look at one of the featured spaces and what Gluckstein had in mind when he developed the plan.

Shown here is a stylish sitting room, which is part of the principal bedroom in a completely redesigned and spacious apartment. Wanting just the right colour for the entire apartment, he describes his selection as a sandy, whitewashed stone with a bit of pearl in it. All the textiles were chosen to match. The overall esthetic is peaceful, with furniture pieces that mark a mix of contemporary and historic styles. Traditional French chairs are a striking counterpoint to the modern angles of the love seat and table.

Draperies are an important detail for Gluckstein, and although they are not as ornate as they have been in the past, simple panels that hang just to the floor are essential. The walls are upholstered in the same silk as the draperies, an elegant look that also helps muffle outdoor sounds.

When working through a neutral design where one carefully curated shade is the centrepiece, interest is developed with varying textures and the movement of tone-on-tone patterns. Silk, wool and linen are favourites — “silk for a formal feel, linen for a casual look and wool for something in between.”

A considered choice of shapes brings out the best in design. For example, furnishings, lighting and artful pieces with curved lines soften the more severe boundaries of a formal setting.

When it’s time for an injection of colour, jewel tones are a luxurious choice. A peaceful plan can use a spark of colour as contrast as long as it is not overwhelming. Here, rich amethyst hues radiate from the cushions, lamp shade and glass bowls. Throughout the apartment there are similar hints of colour that provide warmth alongside the pale stony greys.

Gluckstein describes each home presented in his book, offering background, personal notes and descriptions of what he has done and why. You feel like you are sitting in his living room as he chats about favourite projects. (His home is featured in the book.)

An important message ... it doesn’t happen overnight. Your style evolves with you as you grow, travel and experience life. He wants everyone to live in a home they love and illustrates how he works to reach that level. He employs the most talented staff of artisans and builders, shops for the finest materials, designs and redesigns in his relentless and happy journey to create and live in a peaceful and beautiful environment.

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