Homepolish designer Alec Holland balances family-friendly, color-infused, and classically-unclassic styles for a young TriBeCa-based family of four.
Photos by Genevieve Garruppo.
Minimalist, Scandi-inspired homes with varying shades of beige and artisan pottery galore might be divine, but sometimes you need a jolt of personality.
And personality abounds with once-investment banker and now-wellness professional Kelley. When she approached Homepolish designer, overwhelmed by her new Tribeca digs, Alec knew that he wasn’t dealing with a cookie cutter client.
“At our initial consult, Kelley said she loved color so much that she wanted her home to look like the inside of a genie bottle,” Alec told us. “The only issue was that her husband, Jude, was much more conservative in terms of decor and preferred for things simple. Right off the bat, I knew that Kelley would be fighting hard against any taupe.”
Creating a colorful pad that pleased them both was going to be tricky—but that wasn’t Alec’s biggest challenge. That would be that the family was moving into the space within a month and needed everything (“seriously, everything but a dining table”).
Besides balancing the timeline and desires of the artistic Kelley and the subdued professional-card player-turned-investment-banker Jude, Alec also had to factor in the whims and (and design restraints of) two young, lively boys.
“This needed to be a fun, family-centric home,” says Alec. “They wanted their style to be strong, but everything had to be kid-friendly. Nothing could be fragile or delicate—or if it was, it had to be out of a kid’s reach. With this in mind, we created two seating areas, one that is fully kid-friendly, and one that is meant for calmer moments, be it playing a board game, reading a book, or having an adults-only glass of wine at the end of the day.”
The blank slate gave Alec the opportunity to tune expand his palette. While his work is usually beautifully subdued and luxurious, for this home he decided to turn it up a notch.
“This real departure for me, but it was a blast to squint a little to see how I could handle lots of color while still maintaining my usual approach of creating a calm and inviting space,” Alec said.
Mustard, blush, turquoise, and neon yellow might be bold on their own, but mixed together they create a kodachrome-heaven. As a starting off point, Alec sent Kelley and Jude on a sofa shopping adventure. Once they told him that Jude loved the tailored dark teal couch, Alec knew he had permission to layer on the hues.
“I love how the colors all play together and create a space that feels both super fun yet still somehow sophisticated. There is a flow to the space that feels incredibly natural,” Alec says.
Inspiration and colorful flourishes can be found at every turn, and Alec hopes the family takes advantages.
“I went art book crazy at The Strand. My hope is that down the line, someone comes upon these amazing picture books, flips through, and get lost in them,” Alec dreams.
If the library isn’t enough to get you inspired, the large-scale works of art should give you something to wistfully admire. In that department, Alec didn’t need as much help.
“Kelley knows what she likes, so she generally picked her own art,” says Alec. “Together we found the living room mirror and Timothy Oulton’s Ace art. Jude used to play poker professionally, so we got that Ace with him in mind.”
Aesthetics-aside, Alec knew function was king.
“Even the more ‘grown up’ sitting area is conducive to little kids—those ottomans are on casters, so they glide out of the way and can be used for racing around,” Alec said. “You didn’t hear that from me though!”
In the TV room, the blue-on-blue color scheme crafts a strategically cave-like space so that Harry Potter or the Avengers can be watched in the way they are meant to be watched. To enhance the theater-like environment, Alec added heavy velvet curtains for full blackout, cinema-viewing. Meanwhile the boy’s room feels like the ultimate sleepover destination, thanks to a fortuitous find from Kelley.
“I bow down to Kelley for finding those tent beds,” Alec said. He paired the playhouse feel with tailored shades and classic Scalamandre zebra wallpaper to create a chic clubhouse the boys will enjoy for years to come.
The eclectic home was a sprint, but the process was far less wild than it palette would suggest.
“Kelley is a very authentic person, and I felt it easy to connect with what she liked,” Alec told us. “We both seemed to feel that sourcing good finds was a thrill, so it was a blast to collaborate with her on this space.”