AS AN ACCOMPLISHED OPERA singer for 20 years, Esther Boivin approaches each interior design project as if it’s a musical composition. “When you listen to a symphony, there is a sequence, but it’s not all the same. It has to be rhythmic, but there are often faster and then more peaceful tempos,” says Boivin, owner of Esther Boivin Interiors in Scottsdale, Arizona. “In the same way, I like to create a different intensity, flow and, often, dissonance in each room. I’ll use two main colors, but then throw in a third color that seems out of place, and that’s what makes it unpredictable.”
The designer’s blissful capriciousness flows through this 3,000-square-foot condominium tucked away in an elegant high-rise in North Palm Beach. Before crafting her designs, Boivin always asks her clients for a wish list, even if their desires seem to go in a million different directions. “I need to know all of those directions, and I try to fulfill their wishes as much as I can,” says Boivin. For this project, the client, who has a penchant for high fashion and desired a home that echoes her style, wanted to spotlight a classic black-and-white art deco fabric that features a bird and lotus flowers. While other interior designers had advised the client to shy away from using the patterned fabric on anything large, Boivin daringly decided it would guide the entire project. “I love this fabric, so I used it to cover a statement-piece sectional in the living room. It became the heart of the home’s entire design.”
Now, thanks to a collaboration between Boivin and the owner, every room in the four-bedroom home is a kaleidoscope of bold colors, various patterns and textures that somehow all work together. “The colors are there, and they talk to each other,” Boivin says.
CAPTURING THE SENSES
Boivin begins a tantalizing rhythm as soon as the elevator door to the condo opens, with music playing and a scent that wafts through the air. “I like to capture all the senses,”says Boivin, who prides herself on offering captivating experiences. You’re greeted by black-and-white geometric print wallpaper from Kravet that hints at the home’s star piece, that living room sectional, along with a gold-legged bench from Meridian Furniture centered underneath an antique art piece of flowers spilling over a vase. “I like to design so there is nothing you need to add, not even live flowers.” From there, the long entry hallway that could have bordered on boring is now a striking conversation piece thanks to Boivin’s 9-by-9-foot custom light boxes of underwater fashion photography that line the wall. “It creates the illusion of walking through an underwater tunnel,” she explains, adding that when designing the hallway, she could hear a dreamy symphonic poem by composer Claude Debussy in her head. Blush-hued Murano glass chandeliers from Cyan hang from the ceiling “like drops of water or even underwater flowers,” she says, and a mixed-metal mirror from Roberto Grassie reflects the surrounding art and natural light.
One of the spaces where you’ll truly understand Boivin’s gift for capturing the mood of your surroundings is in the home’s den, where another one of the owner’s must-incorporate pieces, artwork of an ice cream cone, is complemented by a custom mural bursting with a pastel palette. “The colors make you feel like you can touch and taste the different flavors of ice cream,” says the designer, who also believes that furniture placement is everything. “The furniture should lead the way. The direction of the chairs, tables and blue sofa bed from Lazar Furniture in this room directs you to the window for beautiful views.”
LAYERS UPON LAYERS
Like a song with different intensities, Boivin adds multitudes of layers to each room. In the dining room, your eye is immediately drawn to the detailing of the emerald green bird’s-eye maple dining table from Century Furniture and acrylic Roche Bobois chairs, both punctuated by a green chandelier from Currey & Company Lighting. Further drama is added with a ceiling-high, blush velvet banquette and architectural wall with 3-D molding that was custom made by Esther Boivin Interiors. “I wanted to create some dimension, instead of just a boring dining room table and chairs,” says Boivin of the wow-worthy design. “The soft velvet on the banquette and its unique vantage point entices you to sit there.”
The adjacent living room stars the home’s showstopper, the black-and-white draped sectional from Lazar Furniture, topped with an eclectic mix of pillows that is Boivin’s staple design feature. “I never do all the same pillows. I always do a collection of eclectic pillows,” she notes. Pops of colors extend to the bright Kate Spade rug, turquoise chairs from Copenhagen Imports and a gold coffee table with hammered sides from Roberto Grassie. Atop the table, Murano glass pineapples—a favorite of the client—catch the light and seem to glow by themselves at night.
Another surprising element and color: gold, scalloped art deco-inspired wallpaper from Tempaper. “I wanted something bold that you’re going to react to. It’s not every day that you’re able to get away with gold, but it balances the white floor and connects the light fixtures and art molding,” says the designer. The console under the TV from Ambella Home is one of Boivin’s favorite pieces, and she added black sparkle wallpaper to create dimension behind it, instead of a plain white wall. An exaggerated ceiling-to-floor chandelier by Allegri grabs more attention in the corner.
Behind the living room sits the balcony, which Boivin wanted to make functional, but without heavy furniture that would block the stunning water views. She settled on a green Italian glass table from Alexander Sinclair Showroom and chairs from Diamond Sofa that disappear into the background.
THE COLOR CONNECTION
Since you can peek into the master bedroom from the dining room, the color connection needed to be visible, and Boivin accomplished that with green, black and white geometric wallpaper from Tempaper. She opted for an acrylic four-poster bed from Michael Amini for a structural yet light feeling to make the small bedroom feel larger, and she added a hint of busyness with a gold chandelier from Corbett Lighting. “It’s almost like a sea creature, but it connects the curvy wallpaper,” she says.
Uniquely, the master bath, swathed in blue and green, has geometric wallpaper with a black background on the ceiling to make it feel infinite, like a skylight, and a Sunpan chandelier gives off those art deco vibes.
Boivin compares the completed project to the intense buildup of an opera. “At the opera, you have the climax, where the note is suspended, creating tension by prolonging a consonant note,” she says, “and then it resolves, and you exhale. This home does that, and it embraces you with a soothing feeling.” *
Angela Caraway-Carlton is a Miami-based freelance writer, travel and lifestyle expert, and television producer. Her works have appeared in Indulge Magazine, Time Out, Elysian, Aventura, South Florida Luxury Guide and Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida & the Caribbean. Caraway-Carlton has covered lifestyle trends in South Florida and beyond for more than a decade.