Creating soothing, neutral environments with unexpected verve
♦ who: Montreal-born, Manhattan-based Marie-Christine Kresse, interior decorator and custom furniture designer.
♦ what: Kresse specializes in neutral backdrops with oversize, often quirky, furnishings and accessories. Picture white walls, sculptural lighting, nubby, wool-upholstered furniture, and chunky trestle tables atop natural-fiber carpets. “All of my work balances old and new, light and dark—with an intentional juxtaposition of finishes, fabrics, and materials,” she says.
♦ where: Kresse’s projects include a Brooklyn Heights brownstone, a Colonial-era cottage in Bridgehampton, and a 1950s Prairie-style Craftsman in California, as well as a vacation home in Hawaii. She’s currently at work on a three-bedroom Tribeca loft and will soon start on a Joe Farrell–built postmodern home in Wainscott.
Portrait and dining room: trevor tondro
♦ when: After combining two of her own adjacent Upper West Side apartments into one larger space (“Without the help of an architect—and I loved the entire process!”), Kresse abandoned her account-supervisor job at Ogilvy & Mather in 2003. “The challenge of that renovation gave me satisfaction—and I got such positive feedback,” she says. One post-grad degree and a three-year apprenticeship later, she launched Marie-Christine Design in 2008.
♦ why: “There’s nothing better than starting with a clean slate and watching a space evolve,” says Kresse. “I love the challenges of balancing the client’s needs, my vision, and logistics.” More than anything, though, she adores the thrill of the hunt, “going off the beaten path and digging around for forgotten treasures.”