For his second foray at Holiday House, Darrin Varden explored the darker side of love with a Valentine’s Day themed bedroom/sitting room. “I discarded the typical red hearts-and-flowers interpretation of Valentine’s Day and replaced it with an edgy, sensual take on a bedroom,” said Darrin of his design for the 8th Annual Holiday House NYC that he and 21 other top designers transformed for the show house. This spectacular design show is a popular attraction for New Yorkers and tourists alike––especially since all proceeds are donated to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “Like most people, my life has been impacted by witnessing the harrowing roller coaster of fear, courage, treatment, healing and ultimate triumph of loved ones forced to interrupt their lives for a grueling journey to become breast cancer survivors. Thanks in large part to research funded by BCRF, breast cancer is no longer a death sentence, but It’s time to find a cure! This is why I’m participating in Holiday House NYC for the second time,” said Varden.
His striking dark raspberry hued tribute to St. Valentine’s Day was well received by visitors and press alike. Very serious art and furnishings mixed with tongue-in-cheek nods to all of the soft and sharp edges of love and seduction. Featured fine artist Miya Ando installed an entire wall of Bodhi (Ficus Religiosa) skeleton leaves, which she dyed individually and threaded together in an ombre effect from ceiling to floor. It joined three other of her original works in the room. Ando’s work has been featured in the 9/11 London Project, 56th Venice Biennale, Newsweek, Bloomberg and ABC News.
Mr. Varden designed furniture and lighting for the space, including the centerpiece, a generously scaled tufted bed-and-sofa combination. Crafted by Bespoke by Luigi Gentile, the custom Darrin Varden Design bed-and-sofa combination was upholstered in a luxurious Opious Velvet from Elitis provided by Donghia and custom, hand-dyed bedding from noted textile artist Aviva Stanoff. Setting the tone with the right touch of light was a custom Darrin Varden Design Agate chandelier by Ron Dier via Zimmer and Rhode and a pair of Ventoux Torchiere lamps from Jonathan Browning.
Also featured in the space were a credenza, bookcase and pair of pedestals that are custom Darrin Varden Design creations produced by Ivy Square Woodworking. Adorning the walls was a burgundy Maya Romanoff Fabricadazzle wallcovering that added a sultry visual twist with a subtle sheen. This wallpaper has the unique characteristic of being suitable not only for papering, but for wall upholstery, which is what Varden selected for its lush, soft texture. The custom colored area rug was an exact match to the burgundy walls, hand crafted with the expertise of Crosby Street Studios.
“I put a 50 Shades of Varden spin on my Valentine’s Day room with unexpected design elements. I’m combining the chic pieces with the sensational,” said Darrin. A Fireco Coffee table from Phillips Collection that replicates smoldering molten lava intensified the dark vibe of the room. “I was drawn to the harsh and rugged texture of the sides of the table paired with a high gloss surface on top,” explains the designer.
A vast array of decorative accents outfitted the room adding to the sexy Valentine’s day theme. Highlights included a fierce pair of black matte porcelain lion statues from Lladró accenting both sides of the sleek fireplace, a deep burgundy Farrow & Ball paint and custom Burnt Redwood & Pomegranate scented candles by Mine Design Co. and a pair of Dodd chairs from The Bright Group upholstered with leather from Moore & Giles. Additional accessories from John Salibello and Angela Brown, Ltd. were the perfect finishing touches for this Valentine’s Day bedroom/lounge with a dark twist. Noted product designer Stacy Garcia, who also did a room in Holiday House, interviewed Darrin about his vision. The interview location? New York’s Museum of Sex. Have a look:
Photos in this post: Marco Ricca