From Canada With Flowers

Ceramic Garden Stool
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Rain Pillow
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Anna Pillow
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The living room is light-soaked and warm, even on this dreary February morning. The floral collage is by artist Nina Bovasso. The antique chairs are covered in Missoni fabric and the vintage ikat pillows extend the vibrant color palette to the subtle green sofa.

Interior designer Maria Brito tells us the story of one client's move to the bright side of the border.
Skull Hide Pillows
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Sunspot Pillow
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Orange Stash Box
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Live Inspired Motto Journal
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This bright home office features a mix of feminine and edgy pieces. The antique chair is custom upholstered in a vintage suzani and the Kyle Bunting pink skull pillows are dyed cowhide. The collage radial artwork above the sofa is by artist Irene Mamiye.

Although modern art advisor Maria Brito is well known for advising jet-set collectors on their acquisitions, she is also a passionate interior designer. She has a talent for identifying the right mix of pieces to express her clients' personalities through their homes. Maria began this collaboration after her client, who was originally from Toronto, Canada, got divorced, sold her large home and moved to New York. All that accompanied her move across the border to her new, bare apartment were random bits and pieces which lingered from her past.

There was just one slight problem: Maria felt her client’s things were somewhat routine… too much drab beige and brown. She thought the collection of pieces did not reflect her client's personal taste, but rather was “an accumulation of things acquired throughout her life.” Maria told her, “You're so fun and looking for excitement in New York… I think you have this kind of life in you.” She advised her to enhance her art collection with pieces that were more interesting, bringing eclecticism and color into the environment.

Charles Bar Stool
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The photograph above the counter is by Dianne Bos. The naked woman at the computer by Andrew Valko is hanging above the Art Deco glass bar cabinet which is from Cosulich Antiques.

Close-up of floral collage by artist Nina Bovasso.

MultiColor Mahogany Cabinet
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19th-century French window casings create colorful buffet doors in the dining room.

Reality Piggy Bank
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MultiColor Mahogany Cabinet
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The yellow velvet and silver leaf finish were Maria Brito's modern reincarnation of the client's antique dining chairs.

Euro Tropiques Assorted Salad Plates, Set of 6
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Euro Tropiques Assorted Dinner Plates, Set of 6
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Gold Rimmed Chargers
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The detailed designs on these porcelain plates are edgy graphic patterns constructed of plush animals and shapes.

Maria wanted to help create a home where her client could start fresh, while still incorporating some of the sentimental pieces she adored from her past. This was to be a space to inspire happiness and color, eliciting the lightness and charm that many New York City apartments so naturally have. Together, they would create a place to display a beautiful collection of wonderfully curated art.

Maria, a master of knowing exactly what piece of contemporary art can fit where and how to curate different sizes, colors and types says, “She had a few interesting pieces of art even before I came into the picture.” Maria wanted to help her client, who runs a foreign company, open the door to a home of fun new beginnings and create a place where she could work comfortably.

“She is fun, sweet and super cool. I always feel grateful to have these type of clients,” Maria says. “I think everyone in this business has to find some clients that are not working against their own desire.” Fortunately for Maria, this particular client was open-minded and allowed herself to be pushed slightly outside her comfort zone so that Maria could add the personal touches that inspire her as a designer.

A few of the beloved items her client wanted to keep were her dining room and coffee tables. Maria says, “Those pieces were antique, you know, from her older life… then I just started adding to that.” She also kept two chairs which Maria reupholstered in Missoni fabric. They chose to start with a soft green foundation; then Maria persuaded her to use colors like pink and yellow to add a playfulness to the subdued hue.

As time progressed, Maria began little by little to understand more about this woman’s “time and place in New York,” which made fitting the home to her client that much more enjoyable.

Cintron Stripe Bin
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Cecilia Rug
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Empress Fabric
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The soft green is similar to Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year, Guilford Green (HC-116). Mixed with custom ombré-embroidered bedding and an orange cashmere throw, the room is serene, but bright. The classic F. Schumacher fabric on the custom pillow ties the room's color palette together.

This vintage canary yellow campaign chest is a bold statement and a color that will be making a big show in 2015. In the background is No Really It's Over You Win by Graham Gillmore.

The vintage upholstered chair and bright green lamp shade carry the floral and green palate from the living room into the sun-drenched bedroom.

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.”

Euro Tropiques Assorted Salad Plates, Set of 6
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Skull Hide Pillows
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Daphne Carpet
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Euro Tropiques Assorted Salad Plates, Set of 6
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MultiColor Mahogany Cabinet
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Charles Bar Stool
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