Park Avenue Pretty

Margaret Kirkland transforms a New York pied-a-terre employing bold brushstrokes of color and pattern.

Atlanta-based Margaret Kirkland was in Manhattan in November 2014 when she received a call from a pair of potential clients: a married couple who searched online for a “traditional young designer” with the hopes of finding a candidate who could create a youthful but classically beautiful home in the city. “We talked together about a vision and hit it off immediately, and they hired me before meeting in person,” says Kirkland.

Seeking an Upper East Side pied-à-terre, the clients wanted the urban abode to have a completely different aesthetic than their primary residence in the country. The husband requested that the house be “grown-up and pretty, with a chintz bedroom,” a 21st-century version of his childhood home, which was designed by Mario Buatta—the iconic Prince of Chintz, renowned for his lush, colorful interiors.

The clients proceeded with the design process, including placing preholiday rush orders with showrooms and drawing architectural plans, long before the home purchase was confirmed in early 2015. Knowing this was a fast-track project with a March installation, they made only a few modifications to the classic seven-room floor plan, one of which involved combining the dining room and family room for one large living space. “The clients requested keeping a separate formal living room, so if they have a large dinner party, skirted round tables can simply be set up in the elegant living room to create a refined dining atmosphere,” says Kirkland.

Using the clients’ collections of antiques, Kirkland mixed bright colors, sophisticated patterns and contemporary pieces to create a vibrant interior for this busy young family. Beamed ceilings provided strong architectural elements, but with the addition of subtly grained paper in the family room and gold tea-leaf paper in the gallery and hallway, the ceilings are now spirited design statements. The commanding four-poster bed in the master bedroom is balanced by the Colefax and Fowler chintz encapsulating the entire room.

“We mixed pieces that they already had with things we purchased in both Atlanta and New York to create a house that feels like a timeless, collected home,” says Kirkland. And if Kirkland’s work is any indication, this home will continue to evolve with a rich, understated elegance.

Margaret Kirkland, Margaret Kirkland Interiors. (404) 550-7476;