For designer Lexi Tallisman, it’s all in the details. Lexi is the founder and principle of NYC interior firm, Greyscale Interiors, that specializes in the art of je ne sais quoi. Since opening in 2010, Lexi has led her boutique firm in constructing richly layered interiors that exude a warm yet artful sophistication. With an eye for the details, her projects are never without touches like custom upholstery, vintage art, or unique hardware. When she’s not jetting between projects in locales like Amagansett and Paris, Lexi is boots on the ground (or on DECASO!), sourcing the antiques and specialty pieces that make her work feel so utterly charm-filled. To go along with her collection of DECASO favorites, Lexi recently took time to discuss the ins and outs of her design process, including how she channels “understated drama” and the most unexpected place she’s ever gone for design.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
Reupholster a vintage chair or seating with modern rich fabric – velvet, bouclé or a modern jacquard. And then adding in fun, discovered curiosities that I’ve collected specific to a client/project, to sprinkle throughout when finalizing accessories. I want interiors I’ve designed to look and feel effortless, not staged. It’s important that the decor feels cultivated.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
Understated drama is my favorite approach and I believe the most timeless, so I tend to focus on the minutia. Addressing the details is a huge payoff – special hardware in a dressing room, piping on a piece of upholstery, leather lined drawers. It shows you took the time to consider ALL of the details. And of course there’s the old standby of flowers/plants – whether large branches in a vessel or a tiny vase with a few cut stems in it on a bedside table draw the eye over and finish a space/surface.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
Pieces I’ve found at auction, vintage/antique stores, and flea markets make their way into every interior I work on to balance brand new custom furniture and/or hard surfaces. For me, it’s all about creating layers, both visually and literally in texture. There just has to be a common element – color, material, etc. – to keep the flow.
Favorite place to splurge and favorite place to dial it back:
Splurge on great upholstery and dial it back on side/drink/accent tables as there are many great ones to be had for little money – either new or vintage.
Favorite decorating trick:
Add studio pottery and it immediately warms up a surface. I also love to find modern versions of old-fashioned or traditional items, but that can still be relevant + useful – e.g. a modern grandfather clock (BDDW), floor screen, art easel, umbrella stand, a pedestal for a sculpture, etc.
Favorite design risk you’ve ever taken?
Buying and renovating a farmhouse (before it was the it thing to do!)
Favorite project in your portfolio (and why you love it)?
Sleepy Hollow House – I had the opportunity to create a very sophisticated, fully developed color and texture story. Equally as rewarding was the opportunity to work with some of the most talented artisans + craftsmen to create one-of-a-kind pieces tailored to the clients who had a pure appreciation for the workmanship involved.
Favorite paint color:
A custom olive green in high gloss by Fine Paints of Europe I created for my last project.
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use): Is Gracie’s hand painted chinoiserie considered a pattern? If so, that’s my pick, and I love it everywhere! As a wall covering of course, as framed panels, on a cocktail table – anywhere works for me!
Favorite color combo:
Mustard yellow, milky white, and rust/terracotta. Also, peacock blue/green and caramel.
Favorite room in your house:
The kitchen at my farmhouse – double height ceilings, terra cotta floors, picture windows to enjoy the views of the Scottish highlander cows in the pasture.
Favorite piece of art you own:
Three framed intaglios from the antique market in Provence.
Most unusual piece you’ve ever sourced for a project?
I was researching soundproofing curtains by a specific vendor for a project to block T.V. noise in a main living space from traveling to the kid’s bedroom and the only place I could find the fabric/curtains in situ was at a strip club on the west side – so I went to see if they worked!
Tell us more about your experience with DECASO!
DECASO is always a go to for initial inspiration when I’m starting to scheme for a project. It exposes me to items I might not have initially considered to propose to a client and then when actual sourcing begins, it’s obviously a top resource for finding everything at the tip of my fingers, literally. I love being able to see who the dealer is and seeing suggestions of similar items is a great shortcut as well to help find additional options.
Favorite travel destination:
Paris (obviously), Croatia, Tuscany and Provence
Favorite hotel to check into:
Villa Dubrovnik in Croatia
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Cancel all plans and hang with my dog Rambo (a Brussels Griffon) and my husband at our farmhouse.
Favorite entertaining essential:
Aperol Spritz ingredients
Constantin Brancusi (past), Georgia O’Keefe, and Richard Serra (current)
Favorite thing to collect:
Mirrors and ceramics
YOUR CITY: NEW YORK
Emporio : rustic Italian, never disappoints, can always get in
Café di Capri: hole in the wall spot in Tribeca that is a hidden gem
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
Crosby Street Hotel since it’s right next door to my apartment and dog-friendly!
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
Either near me in New York or I like taking a quick drive out to Connecticut to the Antique and Artisan Gallery. But I ideally go to the Marché Aux Puces in Paris for my favorite finds!
Feature photo by Joshua McHugh