Designer Gianna Marzella imbues a Scarsdale, New York home with a sophisticated, bohemian vibe perfect for two former Manhattanites.
Photos by Seth Caplan
Blank canvas syndrome? Yes, this is actually a condition many city folks face when they go from living in a cramped apartment to drowning in space in a new suburban home. Such was the case for Gianna Marzella’s clients, who called on the designer to imbue their new Scarsdale, New York home with the same sense of warmth and intimacy they’d grown accustomed to in Manhattan.
“My clients continue to exude an urban sensibility, having lived in Manhattan for so many years, but we needed to translate that into their new surroundings in a way that still felt relevant to who they are,” Gianna explains.
She landed on a tailored bohemian sensibility based on her clients’ vibe and lifestyle.
“[Tailored Bohemian] sounds like a contradiction, but I really think we pulled it off,” Gianna says. “We were inspired by tribal and organic patterns, bold colors and contrast paired with a mixture of refined and natural textures.”
The dining room and living room were blank slates to begin with, giving Gianna the luxury of completely transforming them to reflect her clients’ personalities. In the former, she chose to showcase a more refined and tailored vibe, so she selected custom wainscoting, white leather chairs, a wood table with a brass base, and natural grasscloth window treatments for an organic touch. To add a bold, bohemian twist, she sprung for striking, abstract Kelly Wearstler wallpaper.
Because the living room is visible from the dining room, Gianna made sure that there is cohesion between the two spaces without replicating the color palette.
“The large black-and-white mural was one of my first finds here, and I felt the design language spoke to the wallpaper in the dining room in its very glamorous yet bohemian vibe,” Gianna says.
To create the mural, Gianna took wallpaper—originally too large for the space—and cut out much of the negative space around what you see. She then designed a flat custom frame, so it ultimately functions as a large black-and-white painting.
Once she finalized the statement piece, the rest of the room organically came together. Gianna gravitated towards pieces with a similarly boho yet glam aesthetic, like a river-stone-shaped bronze table, shagreen nesting tables—which tie back to the shagreen sideboard in the dining room—and a sleek black daybed.
She also worked with one of her clients, a photographer, to curate a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall featuring family and vacation photos in custom frames. Because family photos can often be overlooked in homes, Gianna and her client ensured the result demands attention by using graphic black-and-white photography only.
In the master bedroom, Gianna opted for a look decidedly more calming and inviting than the living room and dining room. Her clients are drawn to grey tones, so Gianna played off that palette in particular.
“I was inspired by minerals and geodes when coming up with this palette,” she explains. “They conjure images of serenity and rejuvenation. We layered in muted blush tones and soft bluish greens to bring highlights and moments of tranquil interest to the space.”
As a contrast to the soft, chunky textiles, she sourced rose gold metallic lamps, which lend the room a little shimmer. She also selected some sumptuous furnishings, like a velvet bed and bench, to add additional warmth into the space.
“I really enjoyed working with my clients to create a multi-functional space that supports their lifestyle but also looks really pulled together,” Gianna shares.
It turns out there is a cure for blank canvas syndrome after all.
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