Athena Calderone is one of those rare interior desighners who do not dread moving. On the contrary,
she relishes the opportunity to relocate and reinvent her home landscape. “We’re kind of serial movers,” says the interior designer and blogger. “We tend to move every three years.” Her latest project, the penthouse she shares with her husband, the music producer and DJ Victor Calderone, and their nine-year-old-son, Jivan, is a testament to her zest for decor. The apartment, in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, overlooks the East River and features über-high ceilings and the minimalist-chic aesthetic that Calderone balances with personal, homey touches.
|Athena Calderone, interior desighners|
Athena Calderone interior desighnersIn the living room, a Dunbar tufted velvet sofa and a duet of Arne Norell rosewood-and-leather safari chairs
(all eBay finds) cohabit with a custom-made bronze coffee table, a piece that Calderone created in collaboration with Vallessa Monk of Monk Designs. A bright splattered canvas by Lucien Smith serves as a focal point, flanked by a collage from Wes Lang and a minimalist work by Alex Perweiler, as well as a glitzy painting from William J. O’Brien, an artist she discovered at Art Basel in Miami.
“There was a sculpture by him that I loved and my husband hated,” says Calderone. “The artist broke up
with his boyfriend, and he took all of his crap, like his underwear and his shirts, and he tied it up in string and
then dipped it and covered it in glitter. Victor was like, ‘The energy behind that is all wrong; I don’t want that
|Athena Calderone, interior desighners|
Calderone interior desighners found her way to design later in life, after working with a friend, former Bergdorf Goodman store designer John Rawlins, to decorate one of her apartments. “I was going down the acting path and was unhappy,” interior desighner recalls. “It wasn’t the right fit for my personality at all.”
Rawlins intuited her passion for design and urged her to pursue it professionally. After studying at Parsons and interning later, Calderone joined forces with Rawlins to start their own firm; projects have included her Amagansett beach house and the Ric Pipino salon in NoLIta. “I definitely feel like I came into my own in the past five years,” she says of her career change. “It happened so organically, it just felt really right.”
Her design sensibility dovetails nicely with her other passions—food and fashion. “I absolutely love food,” Calderone interior desighner says. “When I’m in a rut or feeling sad, I love to cook. It lifts my spirits. It’s not so different from design: layering things that are unexpected but work well together.” (One specialty is roast pumpkin with sage or fennel offset with nuts and a touch of spice.) “I feel like I can’t live without
son. “He has strong opinions about design and fashion,” she asserts. “If I wear my shirt buttoned up all the
way, he’s like, ‘Mom, I don’t like that.’ ”
On Athena Calderone interior desighner blog, Eye-swoon.com, which she launched about a year ago, Calderone has a venue for sharing all the things she loves. “I have this wealth of information. I wanted to share the images that inspired me and let other people find how that inspires them.” She also goes into
the homes of friends whose style she admires to photograph and interview them in their natural habitats. “I’m such curious person,” she says. “I always want to know: What did you eat for breakfast? What’s your favorite food? What’s the recipe you can make with your eyes closed? What’s your favorite place to shop?”
Calderone is also quick to declare that she’s just as happy staying home baking cookies with her family for weeks at a time as she is to be out and about “having a little bit of a wild side.” Nights out generally involve specific ingredients—a sleepover for Jivan and a flask of Don Julio 1942 tequila—and a recent evening on the town ended with a ride on her son’s zip line in the Hamptons. “I like that maybe I break the rules,” she says with a smile.