Originally from Cartersville, Georgia, designer Lindsey Harper cut her teeth in the Manhattan offices of Richard Keith Langham before striking out on her own in 2007. Now with her own flourishing design business, she embellished her tiny Upper East Side apartment with her favorite design tropes: sumptuous upholstery, bold color, and ubiquitous animal prints.
Channeling the best of WASP style, Harper gives velvet-covered sofas and elaborate window treatments a fresh new look. Flanked by a pair of vintage chrome étagères, the velvet sofa gets a jaunty aspect from its white painted frame and mother-of-pearl buttons. In the small space, Harper created a powerful focal point with striped curtains framing the apartment’s one window.
Étagères: C. Bell
The coffee table in Harper’s apartment is from the furniture line she designs along with friend Maggie Currey. She requested the finish be as glossy as nail polish, and the result has all the liquid gleam of a fresh manicure. A zebra rug layered over a sisal carpet adds a layer of richness.
Coffee Table: LAMSHOP
A chrome bar cart holds the makings of a cocktail party, above which hangs Harper’s bulletin board filled with layers of invitations, snapshots, and souvenirs. The spacious board allows her to hang important papers rather than creating messy piles. The chairs are painted a Prussian blue and covered with a raspberry cotton by Muriel Brandolini.
Harper’s small entry hall comes on strong, demanding attention from the exotic patterns on the walls and floor, the Moroccan pendant, and a crimson garden seat. The wallpaper is a small-scale zebra stripe. “I’m not sure where my fascination with zebras began, but I love them,” Harper says.
Wallpaper: Alan Campbell through Quadrille
On a console just inside the door, a vintage lamp and Foo dogs add color, while a framed commercial sign rewards the observant visitor. Spots of red accent the African-inspired wallpaper―in the console surface, the matting around an architectural print, and in an adjacent garden seat.
Situated just inside the entry, the bed is distinguished by an exuberant upholstered headboard. Chocolate satin tufted with blue mother-of-pearl buttons provides a dramatic backdrop for a bed of crisp white linens. An antique Suzani textile covers the foot of the bed. A pair of swing-arm lamps at bedside preserves precious table space.
Buttons: Tender Buttons
Harper creates a vignette on her chest of drawers with her collection of jewelry and accessories. A thrift store painting hangs over a vintage chest, illustrating Harper’s knack for bargain hunting. Her cat, Coco, gets in the picture.
In the tiny bathroom, a python-covered side table holds a collection of assorted supplies and decorative accents including a functioning, but not plugged in, old-school red telephone. The shower curtain features a wide chocolate brown hem on a crisp white linen panel.
Pale aqua piping follows the scalloped edge of Harper’s headboard, and mother-of-pearl buttons add dressmaker detail. Crisp bedding with chocolate accents is feminine without being frilly.
Harper collects zebra items of all sorts, from a papier-mâché mask in her bathroom to a rug under her coffee table and ceramic figurine she keeps by her bed. Even a pen sports zebra stripes. “I love zebras. Can you tell?” Harper says.
Harper’s tiny bathroom is all fun―with zebras cavorting on the wallpaper and a carnival mask perched on the towel rod. A framed antique fashion print in black and white is an inventive solution to choosing artwork for a colorful, busy wall.
The choice of reading material on Harper’s shelf attests to her Southern heritage and her interest in fashion and design. She found the chrome shelves in a shop in West Palm Beach and replaced the glass shelves with wooden ones to support her book collection.
Etageres: C. Bell
The rich colors and textures of Harper’s furnishings create a vivid tableau. The contrasting upholstery fabric is visible in the mirrored wall behind the sofa. A coral pillow is a cheerful foil to the somber velvet.
Coral piping and buttons accent a chair covered in chocolate linen. Tufting in a grid pattern emphasizes the men’s club aspect of the chair.
Chair fabric: Pindler & Pindler