The buffet table in the dining room was made by a French artist from pieces of 19th-century Persian windows. Maria says the artist who created this piece “sanded and reclaimed them, then built the sideboard.” When Maria first laid eyes on it, she instantly fell in love with it, called her client and said, “Oh my God, you have to have this!” This intuitive process led her to many other fascinating discoveries down the road, like the custom-made yellow chairs.
Maria felt that, to lighten the space, her client “needed a little bit of yellow and some of that same kind of cohesiveness” that was apparent throughout other living spaces in the apartment. The dining room chairs were subsequently upholstered in yellow.
Outside the kitchen lies a colorful Art Deco piece used for a bar cabinet. This piece, made entirely of glass, was found on the Upper East Side and, as Maria says, “It is a piece of art itself!” It’s fun and playful, accessorizing all of the spectacular art and design pieces within the space.
One of the focal points in the master bedroom is the large, soft-gray headboard, which stands out against a charming, crisp white comforter, trimmed with wavy-blue stitching along its scalloped edges. Maria says, “The bedding was custom made with colors that I thought were right.” She also added a little bench in front of the bed to play off the green and achieve more storage in the design for her client, who she says, “Is one of those women—I mean, if you saw her closet… she needed a lot of storage!” In an effort to maximize space throughout the home, she added many furniture pieces with drawers to each of the rooms.
Since the master bedroom needed some pattern, “I wanted to incorporate an ethnic piece.” She bought a custom-made chair with rich, green-and-blue-hued African textiles.
A circular, colorful piece by Irene Laney was hung above the couch in the office. Maria says, “I love contemporary art that is conceptual, of course, but I love that there is color and aesthetic to it.” Within the Irene Laney piece are distortions where she takes small pictures of her own face and facial features. They represent her youth, growing up Jewish, having to escape Egypt with her family as a result of Arab conflict and many of the incredible challenges that she has faced in life. The beauty of conceptual art is that sometimes you can just adore the piece without knowing the meaning that’s embedded within it, and when you learn of its depth, it can become a conversation piece. For Maria Brito, picking art pieces is something that she does effortlessly and telling the story of the piece to her client is part of the process.
“We also re-upholstered that second chair in her office with a sesame orange… not a typical color you find.” As for the pillows on the couch, “The big skull pillows are from Kyle Bunting and the little ones are Turkish.”
Maria says she feels “a sense of cohesiveness that first comes from the art collection” and believes the pieces work really well together. She says the art “created a strong dialogue.”
A favorite piece in this room was the large canvas painting above the couch, made by the effervescent Nina Bovasso. Maria says, “I really admire her. She’s from New York. She makes something called a transfer painting, which she paints first on a big, plastic sheet and then transfers that onto a canvas.”
Then there is the playful Graham Gillmore piece which says, “No Really It’s Over You Win.” Maria felt the larger size of the piece, the colors and “the cool feel of it” suited the space. In regard to her client, “It says so much about her and where she is now in her life. I feel the whole craziness of the place comes together to tell a story... and it’s well told! It’s not one of those places where you go and don’t miss when you leave.”