It’s Friday! And that means I’ve got a fabulous guest to chat with. Neal Beckstedt is the owner and founder of Neal Beckstedt Studios, a full service architectural and interior design firm here in New York City. Neal is known for having a clear vision and an eye for detail, layering crisp, clean architecture with rich textures and exceptional furnishings to create spaces that are both sophisticated and warm.
Currently, Neal’s studio is working on a number of projects, including residences for fashion designer Derek Lam – an oceanfront summer home in Fire Island as well as renovation and decoration of his new loft in SoHo. The studio is also leading the rebranding of eyewear designer Robert Marc’s store designs. After the successful completion of the flagship boutique on Madison Avenue, Neal is renovating the Robert Marc SoHo store as well as several other locations throughout the city.
Robin Baron: Tell us about what you do!
Neal Beckstedt: In a nutshell, what we do on a daily basis comes down to creating fabulous spaces that reflect our client’s personality. Whether it involves architecture, interior design, decoration, product design or room styling, we are involved in every stage to ensure we create functional, comfortable spaces that look effortless and are timeless. Of course, to get to this end result of ‘fabulousness,’ it takes a lot of listening to our clients and executing and overseeing a lot of details!
RB: What have been some of your favorite projects so far?
NB: Since starting my studio two years ago, I have been very busy with some great projects. All projects are fun and favorites especially when the project comes together during an install. So to that end, my most recent project is a big favorite – I was invited to design a room for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.
The concept for my debut room was a stylish conservatory to relax and enjoy the amazing corner view – that of lower Manhattan, the Hudson River and the penthouse’s private pool. I envisioned my room to be an urban retreat where a parent could unwind while overseeing their children play in the pool. Facing east and south with floor to ceiling windows on each side, the room was drenched with sunlight which became an ideal setting for a conservatory. We layered a fine linen sheer on top of bone-colored wood blinds to filter the light and to showcase a unique approach to addressing modern windows.
The speed of doing it in five weeks and creating a fictional client was a tremendous rush of design adrenaline that made it even more special and a top favorite for years to come.
RB: What do you love most about what you do?
NB: I really do love every aspect of what I do! I feel very lucky that I found a ‘job’ that mixes my left and right brain. If I had to choose the most enjoyable part, I definitely would say when I get to oversee an installation and styling. Seeing it all come together and how everything we selected and coordinated play off of each other and then adding accessories is tremendously satisfying.
RB: How would you describe your own home décor?
NB: My own home décor is definitely ALWAYS evolving! My apartment is my test kitchen where I experiment with mixing different furniture and design ideas. I see so many amazing design elements that I obviously always want to have the new or newly discovered in my own place. Recently, I have been able to focus on ‘finalizing’ my apartment and it’s definitely an eclectic mix. I love juxtapositions and my apartment is becoming a great study of this – in color, furniture, texture and sheen. For instance, the smaller more intimate rooms (ie. the kitchen and bathroom) are painted matte black which are offset by Fallow & Ball’s “Pavilion Gray” in the living room and bedroom. I also have mixed 18th century carved wood furniture with polished Paul Evans pieces. I am weeks away from getting it photographed and can’t wait to share it.
RB: What is the one thing in your home that everyone comments on?
NB: My black painted kitchen. The entire room is black – walls, ceiling, and floor! I then hung art along one long, blank wall which transformed the kitchen into a gallery. The art on a black background pops off the wall and seems to float – it is a great visual effect that I highly recommend.
RB: What’s a favorite trend you’re noticing in home décor lately?
NB: Over the past few years I think spaces are becoming more bold, graphic, and eclectic. Whether it is mixing different types of furniture styles, colors, or patterns, there seems to be no limit in the possibilities.
RB: What does fabulous mean to you?
NB: Fabulous means totally perfect (…of course for that particular client, room and situation!)
RB: Anything else really that you’d want to include about the company would be wonderful!