ELLE Decoration (UK)
SERIOUS IS OVERRATED
An explosion of colour and fun in sleepy Maine, this holiday home is a live-in showroom for the work of design studio An Aesthetic Pursuit
‘Jenny has this expression for life in general. She’ll say, “It’s not that serious.” I think that so much of design has felt, in recent years, a bit moody, but that’s just not us,’ explains Chris Corrado, who, along with his wife, Jenny Kaplan, and friend Tai Coombes, makes up the team of US-based ‘lifestyling service’ An Aesthetic Pursuit. Founded six years ago from Chris and Jenny’s home in Brooklyn, New York, the studio sources and custom-designs items for its clients and has launched three of its own ‘Pieces’ collections – comprising furniture, rugs and accessories in its signature sunny style. Back in 2017, restricted by the real-estate prices in New York and desperate for a space to show off their big ideas, the trio hatched a plan to create a unique showroom that would also double as a holiday home. All they needed was a house.
Located in Chris’s hometown of Kennebunk, Maine, just a 25-minute drive from the tiny town of Eliot, where Jenny grew up, this property was perfect. After knocking down a wall to create the open-plan entertaining space of their dreams, the team set about filling it with joyfully exuberant designs – not just their own, but also from collaborating brands, including Vitra and Artek. And at the centre of it all is the winding rainbow rug that took them a year to produce. ‘Someone called it a lazy river and I thought that was hilarious,’ recalls Chris. Meandering from the dining area through to the lounge, it makes one loud and clear statement: these three are not afraid of colour.
‘That confidence comes entirely from Jenny,’ explains Chris. ‘It’s in her family; her mum, her grandmother – they all have an eye for colour and can put it together in a way that most people would be very nervous to attempt.’ Lilac sofas sit against blush-pink walls in the snug, while in the bathroom punchy coral is paired with sky-blue hues. Throughout, there’s a juxtaposition of soft, curvaceous shapes with more geometric elements. The overall effect produces what one of Jenny and Chris’s friends once aptly described as ‘Memphis vibes, but with a softer palette’. The similarity to the design movement’s vibrant style is, says Chris, ‘coincidental but rad’.
The house is now ready for visitors, but, due to the timing of lockdown, the only people enjoying it at the moment are Jenny, Chris and Tai. ‘It’s been a bit of a retreat from the madness we know is happening in New York,’ says Tai. Plus, this unexpected time living among their work has given them ideas about what they may change or do in the future. Perhaps the biggest fan of this elongated stay, though, is Chris and Jenny’s dog, Zuko. ‘He always finds his way to be right in the middle of everything. If you roll out a new rug, it’s a 100 per cent certainty that he will lie on it,’ jokes Chris. ‘He’s a big design fan.’ anaestheticpursuit.com; pieceshome.com
Dining room A pair of ANDlight’s ‘Vine’ pendant lights hang above the custom-designed table, created by the An Aesthetic Pursuit team. Surrounding it are green ‘All Plastic’ chairs by Jasper Morrison for Vitra Opposite Peach-coloured walls in the hallway and a staircase painted in the same shade are paired with a customdesigned ombre rug by An Aesthetic Pursuit. The hallway pendant lights are from the ‘Akari’ range by Isamu Noguchi for Vitra, while ‘Orbit’ pendants by ANDlight
hang above the chunky lilac sofa in the snug. Glass blocks separate this space from the hallway while allowing light to flood in