Designer Brian McCarthy has been known for his partiality to French Empire furniture and European styled interiors. After working with Parish-Hadley for many years, he opened up his own firm in 1991, and since then has been featured in various publications including Elle Décor, Vogue, Life, New York Magazine’s 100 Best and many others. New York Social Diary featured his home in their 2007 issue, where very high-end French Empire furniture was paired with contemporary art work, brighter colored walls typical of both modern and Empire interiors. Leopard carpets serve as a neutral in his home and and anchored together the two styles nicely. The Wall Street Journel covered McCarthy’s style as one of the hottest new trends with the super wealthy. The article was very interesting siting that many high-end furnishings dealers are catching onto the trend and are re-grouping their museum furniture along side controversial contemporary art. For example, Kraemer’s, an exclusive Paris gallery specializing in 18th-century French furniture, is remodeling its showroom to put its antiques in a contemporary setting, and it is working fabulously! Glossy white walls, over sized brightly painted abstract art and polished black floors seen in modern interiors are paired with ornate gilded 18th century furniture. Empire Style is known for their bright silks and brightly painted walls so brightly painted abstract art and streamlined pieces work extremely well. The two styles which have been featured on their own for years are now married together and the style is gaining momentum with the collector and the wealthy around the world.
“I do the same for my clients as I do for myself,” Mr. McCarthy tells The Wall Street Journel “I see a room as a cocktail party. You want to put together a fun group of people, not just investment bankers.”
“What makes French furniture of the 17th and 18th century so interesting is that it is sculpture,” he says. “Furniture simply doesn’t get any better. What I hunger for more than important pieces are interesting pieces which make a kind of talking point. Then you can start adding.”
The Wall Street Journal mentions 18th century furniture started gaining popularitywhen Christie’s auctioned items from the extensive collection of French furniture amassed by the Wildenstein family in 2005 and astoundingly raised £21.8 million, which happened to be the biggest furniture sale ever up to that point. Again in 2006, Christie’s sale of furniture, featuring intricate marquetry and lacquer brought in £7 million. Then in 2007, The Bruni Tedeschi sale of antiques netted £12.7 million, three times above the estimate. It is no wonder that many collectors are showcasing the furniture in a modern way giving a brand new touch to this exquisite furniture. We are also seeing many interiors featuring a very simplistic design with a select few outstanding Empire pieces with white backgrounds much like you would see in a gallery or museum making the furniture the highlight of the room. See how Brian McCarthy decorates his home with Empire Furniture…..