No wonder Joan Collins chose to work with John Lyle to design her New York City apartment, as she got ready to sell it through Core Real Estate. He is so intuitive, plus it doesn't hurt to have an accurate eye for great design. So for the first time in her life, the film star decided to work with an interior designer who brought new life to her space while making it warm and inviting for prospective buyers.
The herringbone floors are covered with Doris Leslie Blau rugs, while a fine selection of John Lyle Design furnishings can be found throughout the space. The decor is glamorous and "youthful".
The black Chanel side chairs on the right are from Leah Antiques.
High End Weekly: This Joan Collins' apartment is both glamorous, and inviting. Pretty much like your furniture lines.
John Lyle: Well, thank you. My company rebranded a few years back as John Lyle Design but in 1985, my former business partner and I founded our design firm and we named it Lyle and Umbach, Ltd. We became business partners at that time because we both loved neoclassicism, and my designs reflected that style and the collection sold at top high-end showrooms across the US. After working with bronze, steel was our next adventure, then fine woods. The latest things we've added to our line of furnishings are a variety of exotic materials such as shagreen, parchment, tobacco and beautiful and intricate inlaid seashells. I'm always looking for new and wonderful ways to use the finest materials. Comfort is very important, and I strive to keep that in mind when I am designing. My clients have various lifestyles, some have children, pets, so I design spaces as well as furnishings that fit their lifestyles.
The baby grand piano from Steinway is the focal point of this large and spacious living room. The sculptural dining table designed by John for his collection called INOX New York, is surrounded by Neidermaier's dining room chairs.
HEW: How appealing do you think it'll be for potential buyers when they find out that this is Joan Collins' apartment, and that her spirit is reflected in the decor?
JL: Very appealing, indeed. She's a legend, and a great beauty at that. It's certainly an advantage for a buyer to have that provenance. This place is now fresh and glamorous, but it also reflects the vigor and vim which represents youth. These days, a great number of young people are buying real estate. These folks are mostly in their 40s, so I wanted to design a space that would make them, or anyone else. feel right at home.
First look: The galant designer created this polished bronze Drum Cocktail Table especially for this project. It is from a new collection which he is currently working on.
The bone trimmed shagreen Matthew Desk is placed right before you reach the living room area. It's one of those pieces you have to see in person in order to truly appreciate its sheer beauty. Bottom: A splash of color: The animal reference on these bowls, which were purchased at an auction house, brings to mind a true sense of travel and adventures to be had!
The somber yet thought provoking painting in the background is from Jae Yoon Kim. The Pompidou Paris Hoop lighting from Leah Antiques offers a stunning contrast to the painting.
HEW: Is Home Staging the current hot trend in today's New York Real Estate Market?
JL: This is my first home staging, so to speak, although I remembered helping my brother with his kitchen before he sold his house. I believe that one of the main challenges of staging an apartment in the city may be the expense that goes along with it. The logistics of simply making a delivery to this sort of upscale building became astronomical, and a challenge giving the narrow window of time we were given. The rules and logistics may shy many people away from staging in a city like Manhattan. I'm grateful to so many firms that came to bat with this project. Farrow & Ball for donating the wallpaper and paint, Neidermaier, Leslie Blau, Leah Antiques, Illume Shades, and all the other firms, and individuals who graciously loaned their magnificent pieces to this project.
Welcome to my den: Above this sofa is an image of the stunning actress which was done through photoshop by John's talented friend Gary Moran. The actress' face is of a bluish sort, as she becomes the image of Krishna and it creates a striking image against the red backdrop. The gold frame was a big ticket item donated from Rooq Fine Art and Framing.
HEW: Please tell us more about your line of furnishings? Which showrooms carry them?
JL: Largely, all of the mirror polished stainless steel pieces are from my new company called Inox New York, which is nationally represented by Donghia. Other pieces are part of the John Lyle Design collection, take a look at the website for our various representative showrooms, including David Sutherland, Holly Hunt, and Johanna Spilman in San Francisco, Jennifer West in Seattle, and Furn & Co. in Boston. The best place to see my work is my Design Studio in Long Island City, which is a great and spacious loft in an industrial building. I enjoy commuting there from Manhattan, while riding my vintage Vespa Scooter. The studio is directly above the entrance to the midtown tunnel and the views of Manhattan are astounding.
It's great when you don't have to sacrifice comfort for style. John designed the Frederik chair which is part of his collection, John Lyle Design. Apart from being positively gorgeous, it is also one of the best seats in the house. These handsome Hexagon Lacquered Linen tables are also part of John Lyle Design.
HEW: In your opinion, what are some of the most important essentials in a room when it comes to interior design?
JL: Comfort. Scale. Mood. Mood is very important. The secret is in how a room makes you feel personally. David Hicks once said that every living room should have a lower chair so when a lady sits her legs look long and her silhouette can be showed to its best advantage. This in turn will make her feel good, and look elegant.
The master bedroom of legendary actress Joan Collins at The Dorchester
The green and white toile fabric that is used on the curtains, headboard and upholstered walls is as originally used by the actress. The riot of pattern is soothed by covering the parquet flooring with an alluring rug from Doris Leslie Blau. The silver elephant lamps as well as the pair of mirrored bedside tables are from Leah Antiques.
HEW: Do you encourage your clients to buy art?
JL: A longtime client of mine collects a great deal of art. Like his father before him, Robert Rothschild is an avid collector of early 20th century works including Braque, Picasso, De Chirico, Matisse, Miro as well as a very important collection of Russian avant garde paintings. I usually find that the right textile will present a perfect backdrop for art, and it often sets the mood. With a great art collection, everything else in the room should play second fiddle, and allow the art to take precedence. I myself enjoy collecting, therefore my apartment's wall space is pretty limited right now. I love color, I'm into abstract paintings, sculptures, and I mostly like to mix modern furniture with antiques. I collect a lot of art from my friends and colleagues.
Zebra pillows are from Leah Antiques, the white hexagon stool is from John Lyle Design
HEW: What other profession would be appealing to you if you were not a designer?
JL: A performer, but only if I were a very successful actor, directly out of the box. I wouldn't have the drive to pay the dues. I guess it comes down to a matter of weighting your passions. I'm totally visual, and designing is such a natural thing for me. Honestly, I just live and breathe design.
HEW: Whenever I see you, you're always dressed so stylish. If you were to design a clothing line only for you, how would it look?
JL: Most of my clothes are custom made for me. I like clothing that are clean, classic, simple, although sometimes, I get a little Rock'N'Roll. For the most part, my fashion sense is classic. I enjoy dressing with supple and unique materials, that's why I'm particularly fond of a well cut, tailored suit. It makes a big difference.
HEW: How would you describe luxury?
JL: Luxury is comfort. Extreme comfort, and inspiration.
Picture Perfect: A pretty pair of pink wing chairs from Leah Antiques, as well as painting of Joan Collins from the early 1960's take center stage in this exceedingly lively room. The Niedermaier Banquet as well as each individual pieces are charming, and compliment each other.
All furnishing and accessories are available for purchase through John Lyle Design - www.johnlyledesign.com. Please direct your calls to 646.344.1964. For Real Estate enquiries, contact Mickey Conlon at Core Real Estate: 212.612.9623.