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Classic Influence

With the architectural changes in place, Elliott turned his attention to the furnishings. “Furniture is my big thing as an interior designer. This is what makes my heart beat,” says Elliott, who set a clean, sophisticated tone with original 1940s furniture designed by T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings. The dining room table has a striking X-shaped base that illustrates Robsjohn-Gibbings' predilection for classic Greek and Roman lines. Elliott went to several different auctions to find a set of the mid-century designer's ladder-back chairs and a sideboard. He unified the grouping with black ebonite stain.

“Then we ran with the concept,” Elliott says. He purchased additional Robsjohn-Gibbing pieces—X-base benches in the living room, rare slipper chairs in the piano room. Elliott custom-designed a chaise, benches and an ottoman to fit with the aesthetic. “One simple element pulls it all together—a round dowel framework,” says Elliott. In fact, he points out, everything about the furnishings is round or tubular, whether the finish is bronze, polished nickel (in the lamps and hardware) or wood.

Then came time for the beach house-inspired details. Elliott completed the design with fresh, casual references to the shore, such as woven rattan chairs, striped cotton canvas upholstery, lightweight linen draperies, bamboo shades and a sea-and-sand palette in the kitchen. He juxtaposed those with sophisticated, eclectic influences such as Asian hammered brass lamps and a hand-blown Czech glass chandelier in the dining room.

The grand finale of the whole design, according to the designer, is the piano room, with its standout vintage chairs and white patent-leather ottoman designed by Elliott: “It's my favorite space—the humdinger of this design and the first thing you see when you walk in the door,” he says.

His only regret, he says, is that the project was limited to the first floor. “We haven't gotten to the bedrooms yet,” he says. “I have big plans ahead.”

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