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The Dining Room

by Wendy Goodman

The space was a mystery,” says author Andrew Solomon of the original jumble of closets and cut-up rooms he found on the second floor of his West Village townhouse when he purchased it in 1994. He promptly enlisted designer Robert Couturier to completely renovate the house. Couturier, whose book, Robert Couturier: Designing Paradises, was published by Rizzoli this fall, is a master of inventing magical interiors. For this particular space, he took as his inspiration Sir John Soane’s breakfast parlor, one of Solomon’s favorite rooms. “We visited Soane’s house in London,” says Couturier, “and the thing that is so striking is the incredible geometrical shapes, and those vaulted ceilings.”

Couturier’s plans included locating the kitchen on one end of the second floor and the formal dining room on the other; this middle space would have its own character while creating a transition between the two.

“Robert correctly thought that the only way to make the awkward space graceful was to let loose on fantasy,” Solomon says. “He proposed it as a kind of garden. Hence the fountain and the limestone floor.”

(To read the full article, please visit The New Yorker.)