Center City Fantasy
Amy Philips -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
A talent for refined yet atmospheric environments—as displayed in her work at celebrated Philadelphia restaurants Striped Bass and Susanna Foo—made Marguerite Rodgers the ideal designer for the challenge. Asked by her imaginative and well traveled clients, a businessman and his wife, to devise a concept that blended their love of Morocco with their collection of antiques (mostly French), Rodgers reinvented a vast Center City apartment as a fantasy of North Africa and Asia. A trained woodworker herself, she says she welcomed the chance to exercise her "love of the application of craft," drawing upon the city's best artisans.
The apartment's decorative theme becomes immediately apparent in the foyer, its irregular shape unified by intricate overlays derived from Moorish and Byzantine motifs. Gold leaf and stenciling embellish walls and ceiling; the mosaic floor features a complex floral border; even the Fortuny lighting's delicate tracery contributes to the effect. She also installed several elaborate doors, both new and old. The front door is painstakingly faux-painted to mimic the 19th-century Moroccan door that leads, rather grandly, to the powder room.
The family room, located off the larger and more formal living room, picks up the theme and variation. Fabric drapes the walls of this windowless interior space, and a 19th-century Spanish mirror and brilliantly hued vintage Turkish glass chandelier provide sparkle, while elephants—a recurrent motif—cleverly enliven the sofa upholstery. Together, the interplay of texture, color, and ornament suggests nothing less than a multicultural caravansary.