I Just … Gave the Family Home a Surreal Twist

When interior designer Roger de Cabrol moved his family into this East Village loft, he decided to do something wildly different from the lavish and traditional interiors for which he’s known. His approach was personal, integrating the work of his wife, Bara, a jewelry designer, and their travels together, and explicitly referencing his first job, assisting Salvador Dalí. De Cabrol used theatrical and surreal gestures to create a charmingly one-of-a-kind home.

“There’s beauty in simplicity and rusticity,” says de Cabrol. So within the industrial space, the top floor of an 1880s carriage house, he relied more on decoration than architecture. He infused the rooms with inviting animal print and warm color, hung necklaces Bara designed over doorknobs, and added flourishes like oversize chairs in the shape of stilettos and a spectral vignette with a mirror and some disembodied hands.

De Cabrol’s clients included daughter, Anabelle, 11, and son, Sebastien, 17. He placed the kids’ bedrooms across the apartment from the master bedroom, and in both, in addition to the usual trappings of childhood, are works of art pulled from the family’s collection. “Always give your kids a room that’s a little more mature and pleasant,” de Cabrol says. “This way, they can grow into it.” Yet the rooms reflect their occupants; a swing, hand-knit in Colombia, is sophisticated but appropriate for a little girl’s room, while Sebastien’s obsession with soccer inspired his dad to use framed newspaper clippings and signed jerseys as art.

In the master bedroom, wall-to-wall carpeting adds literal and figurative warmth, and the closets have proscenium-inspired arches, dramatically lit from behind with dimmers. The living room connects to the open kitchen, and here de Cabrol thought like a dad and a designer, keeping things simple with an easy-to-clean lacquered-wood dining table and translucent acrylic shelving to hold the family’s large collection of books, art, and unexpected objects. The eye-catching stiletto chairs are about comfort as much as chic. They’re a surreal note, but this is a room for real life. “I don’t like to take things too seriously,” says de Cabrol. “You can find beauty in many objects.”

The apartment’s architecture is a testament to the building’s previous life as a carriage house, with exposed beams that have a warm, industrial feel. The painting is by Charles Schreyvogel. A pair of David Bury shoe chairs in a vivid red-and-yellow ultrasuede sit atop a bespoke wool rug from Pinton, the floral patterns of which are based on motifs by the legendary couturier Paul Poiret. Photo: David Allee

The shelves are a scratch-resistant and heavy-duty acrylic; they can accommodate a big collection but still feel lighter than air. Photo: David Allee

Near the entrance, a sixties plaster mirror is wittily paired with two carved-plaster hands. Photo: David Allee

In the bedroom of de Cabrol’s son, framed sports memorabilia is hung alongside mid-century oil paintings. The bed is tucked inside an old elevator shaft. Photo: David Allee

I Just … Gave the Family Home a Surreal Twist