Clockwise from top right: Italian Blend Terrazzo Tile, Terrazzio; Natural Zellige Tile, Cle Tile; Purist Shower Head and Purist Sink Faucet, Kohler; Bohemia Bathroom Vanity, The Home Depot; Vermont Slate Paint, Benjamin Moore; Amélie Surface Sconce 6, Cedar & Moss; Cirrus Pendant Lamp, West Elm; Palma Plaster Paint, Kalklitir; Pendant Lamp, Loja Habito; Flax Linen Bedding Set, Bed Threads; Galápagos Green Paint, Benjamin Moore; Amazone Plaster Paint and Oliva Plaster Paint (mixed), Kalklitir; Handwoven Argentine Blanket; Painting, Scott VanderVoort; Custom Sconce and Side Table, Fefo Studio; Lempi Headboard by Matri, Finnish Design Shop; Rug, Taller Ocho; Farmhouse Dining Chair, Anthropologie; Noce Plaster Paint and Calce Plaster Paint (mixed), Kalklitir.
The Dream Wallpaper by Henri Rousseau, Hovia; Fowler Corner Wall-Mount Sink, The Home Depot; Purist Sink Faucet and Towel Ring, Kohler.
The built-in sofa across the way went through its own evolution. Aciar’s vision of a natural wood frame was a no-go due to their budget. Inexpensive plywood it was, which Polonsky suggested they try staining. When the color wasn’t quite right, another pivot was in order—more paint, and this time golden yellow got its moment.
One thing the couple knew they wanted right off the bat was terracotta floors in the two bathrooms, a nod to the vacation-like spaces Aciar experienced during his 10 years in Brazil and their frequent trips to Mexico. But what to pair them with? Although glazed zellige tile was beautiful, it was everywhere—and too pricey to use on a bigger scale, as well. Eventually they landed on large sheets of Italian terrazzo, which had the same organic quality as the clay underfoot. The en suite shower is clad in a deep green variety (“You have a 3-D trip when you see it,” says Aciar), while the guest bathroom boasts speckled black and white panels. Together the surfaces are “kind of modern, but also a little folkloric,” he explains. “That’s the idea of the house, this huge feeling of being transported.”
Below, from top: Custom Built-in Shelf; Circuit Modular Armless Chair by Gus Modern, Beam; Painting, Stephanie Lucchese; Candle, Vase, and Tile, Fefo Studio.
Custom Built-in Sofa; Vintage Pendant Lamp, 1st Dibs; Custom Coffee Tables, Fefo Studio.
That’s the beauty of never planning the design in advance. It goes as you go. It’s telling you what should be done or not.”
Living in the basement apartment (it will one day be rented out) during construction allowed the couple to take advantage of design opportunities the instant they revealed themselves. “We were able to create a thread from one room to another,” says Polonsky. Aciar transformed leftover limestone from the kitchen countertops into parts for nightstands and two coffee tables, while an entire slab of burgundy quartzite was segmented into a bar top, a cutting board, and more.
When Polonsky announced she didn’t want to see the air conditioners, they came up with a clever disguise on the fly. “Where there is an AC, there is a shelf,” Aciar explains. A slim ledge climbs up and over the main bedroom’s ornate doorway molding, covering up the unit hanging above. Downstairs, a serpentine shelf snakes from the living space’s U-shaped sectional to the opening leading to the front hall. “It’s a movement that we were missing,” says Aciar; the oval kitchen island and new archway opposite the staircase add to the effect.