Manhattan-based designer Nick Olsen could have opted for something more traditional when designing his two-bedroom 18th-century farmhouse. But why would he when his signature work is an eclectic conglomeration punctuated with jolts of color? For the getaway abode, Olsen employed a (If you’re unfamiliar, trompe-l’œil, the artistic technique that was popularized during the early Renaissance, translates from French to “deceives the eye.” Think 3D murals , furniture that blends into the walls, and other design choices that will simply leave visitors exclaiming wow.)
Earlier this year, Olsen invited AD for a photo shoot inside his Dutchess County, New York, home, which he viewed as a major opportunity to go bold. Here, a behind the scenes look at Olsen’s property, an exclusive insight into his daring choices—and how you can replicate the artful technique in our own home.
1. Correspond wall art to bedding
In his primary bedroom, Olsen sought to incorporate American quilt motifs to subtly pay homage to Gloria Vanderbilt’s patchwork bedroom, which Vogue showcased in 1970. “Although I’m usually not a fan of digital prints, I was drawn to the Jennifer Shorto fabric for its colors and had a coverlet made from it,” he explains. Generally, Olsen is partial to a bed covered in throw pillows, but he held back this time, stating, “Having the bed swathed in this single pattern was actually an exercise in restraint for me.” Olsen printed out a photograph of his bedroom, which initially featured white walls, and sketched out a checkered concept for the walls and ceilings before bringing in artist Chris Pearson. “Chris is a mathematical genius and worked out the design, so it actually reads as if the coverlet print was applied to walls with huge sections erased,” Olsen explains. a bit like sleeping in a game of Tetris, and I love it!”