Home sellers ditch plain white walls for livelier designs

Nathan Law

From the East Village to the East End, clean and contemporary interiors are getting big and bold, pattern-heavy makeovers. Brokers told The Post that listings mentioning patterns as a design feature are now getting more interest than apartments with the ubiquitous contemporary white-box look. “You rarely used to see homes […]

From the East Village to the East End, clean and contemporary interiors are getting big and bold, pattern-heavy makeovers.

Brokers told The Post that listings mentioning patterns as a design feature are now getting more interest than apartments with the ubiquitous contemporary white-box look.

“You rarely used to see homes for sale with splashy prints, but they’re popping up more frequently since COVID,” said Allison Chiaramonte, a real estate agent at Warburg Realty. “When I tell my clients about them, they’re keen to schedule a showing.”

That’s good news for glass mosaic artist Allison Eden, 51, a seller who proudly touts her technicolor wonderland of an apartment — a three-bedroom on the Upper West Side with an asking price of $3.99 million.

Her entryway is painted in bright yellow and features multi-colored mosaic arches and a couch with palm trees and florals. On top of it all are dozens of cartoon-style artworks.

Eden is selling because she is moving out of the city to either Long Island or Florida. She plans on taking her equally festive furniture and outrageous artworks with her, but the walls and other patterned design elements will remain intact.

Allison Eden's colorful apartment.
Allison Eden’s whimsical three-bedroom apartment (above) is currently on the market for $4 million. The wow-factor isn’t a turn off, brokers said.
Joseph Keller

“I’ll have a fresh canvas to work with in my next home and leave behind another one for the new owner who will hopefully get as much happiness out of the space as I did,” she said.

The bold pattern trend started during last year’s lockdown and the home renovation craze that followed — where cabin fever led to an aesthetic overhaul of the homes of thousands of design-obsessed New Yorkers.

Stark white walls gave way to stimulating stencils and wallpapers. Minimalist décor was replaced with eye-catching eclectic collections. Even layers of pattern, with competing prints on rugs, walls and headboards are suddenly everywhere.

Now those homes are starting to flood the market with loud and proud listing photos.

Shanan Campanaro, founder of the New York-based home décor brand Eskayael, said sales of its patterned wallpaper have increased dramatically in the last year.

‘Our sales skyrocketed in the last year with 70% growth over the year before. Normally, we grow around 20% a year. Our customers used to buy wallpaper to accent one wall, but now they’re going all out by doing up all four walls.’

Elizabeth Rees, co-creator removable wallpaper company Chasing Paper

Elizabeth Rees, co-creator of the New York-based renter-friendly, removable wallpaper company Chasing Paper, added that florals and leaf prints are her company’s hot patterns.

“Our sales skyrocketed in the last year with 70% growth over the year before,” she said. “Normally, we grow around 20% a year. Our customers used to buy wallpaper to accent one wall, but now they’re going all out by doing up all four walls.”

Interior designer Brittany Marom, who works in Manhattan and the Hamptons, is seeing the shift as well.

She said that the current over-the-top aesthetic dates back to the ’80s and ’90s when damask and gold-flecked floral motifs mixed with other patterns in upscale homes.

“It was super flashy, and we went from that to a world of modern and clean,” she said, adding that the pandemic gave people a urge to bring more warmth into their homes.

“All of the sudden, these white walls that seemed so chic felt cold, and patterns have the way to add in coziness and personality. But it’s a pared-down version of what was happening 20 and 30 years ago.”

Inside Sandi Gluck's Watermill home.
Sandi Gluck changed the contemporary vibe in the master bathroom of her Hamptons home by adding a busier, black-and-white, maze-pattern carpet.
Brittany Marom

For example, last year her client, Sandi Gluck, 61, tapped her to refresh the 225-square-foot, modern-but-muted master bathroom in her Watermill, NY, home.

“My house is conservative with lots of soft colors,” said Gluck, who works in the non-profit industry. “I’ve always been a fan of Art Deco and wanted to have fun in the spaces that I loved the most.”

‘My interest in striking designs started before the pandemic, but the last year has definitely made me want to bring more liveliness into my life.’

Sandi Gluck

Her walk-in closet now features a custom-designed, Art Deco-inspired carpet in a maze pattern that complements a white lacquered ceiling and shelves, white velvet armchair and ottoman with a large-scale checkered pattern and a handblown glass light fixture with black piping.

She also added a head-turning black-and-white tub to the bathroom, seashell wallpaper and white silk drapes with beaded trim.

“My interest in striking designs started before the pandemic, but the last year has definitely made me want to bring more liveliness into my life,” said Gluck. “My way to do that was with a statement-making look.”

This trend is also apparent in several of the city’s newest condominiums.

Marom is behind the green-and-white striped wallpaper and ceiling in the second bedroom of the model residence at the Library at 61 Rivington, an 11-residence Lower East Side building (prices from $1.25 million).

Powder room image for 200 Amsterdam.
Empower the powder inside a unit at 200 Amsterdam.
Binyan Studios

And at 200 Amsterdam, on the Upper West Side, the powder rooms in every one of the 112 residences are outfitted with a black-and-white, mosaic, pearl-and-marble floor and hammered metal sinks (prices from $2.62 million).

The New York firm CetraRuddy Architecture designed the half baths and was also charged with the six model residences (as well as the overall design) at 200 E. 59th St. in Midtown East (prices from $1.7 million).

Each unit has its own décor, but all play up the patterns: The guest room in one apartment, for example, has zebra wallpaper, while the powder room in another unit has walls covered with cheeky monkeys.

A bedroom inside 200 East 59th Street.
Splashy units like this at 200 E. 59th St. start at $1.7 million.
Joshua McHugh

Then there’s a play on texture with the thick woven cotton, deep blue wallpaper in a master bedroom model apartment.

“We wanted to create a design scheme that puts a smile on your face and is memorable, and these residences are striving to do that,” said Ximena Rodriguez, a principal and director of interior design at CetraRuddy. “You can use patterns to transform a space and make it truly your own.”

Even renters are investing in amping up their apartments with vivacious touches.

Dinah Eke, 36, lives in a two-bedroom rental in Long Island City with her husband and their two children.

Dinah Eke inside her home.
Dinah Eke (above) loaded the walls of her two-bedroom rental in Long Island City with starburst, black-and-white, peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Debbie Jean Lemonte/dagimagesnyc.com

Last December, they installed peel-and-stick wallpaper in a black-and-white starburst pattern in their kitchen.

But Eke, who works in pharmaceuticals, didn’t stop there.

This spring, she turned to the same company, Chasing Paper, for the indigo mud cloth wallpaper in her dining area.

“I definitely leaned into my home more during COVID and wanted joyfulness out of it,” she said. “I walk in now and feel emotion as opposed to staring at plain walls.”

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