Mixing Styles in a Brazil Apartment: Apto Tom Arthur by Mauricio Karam

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Looking through these images, you might wonder, “Is this a contemporary apartment or a traditional one?” The answer, apparently, is “yes.” Architect and designer Mauricio Karam has put together a clever amalgam of sleek, modern style and traditional, even antique, details, in this Arthur apartment. Enter the main door to a blue-painted antique table and you might think you’re about to be surrounded by a vintage look; that notion might well continue as you enter a living room with a wall-width tapestry, lighted by indirect spots. A curved-leg carved table sits before it, graced by statues, and a gilt-framed painting in the dining room complements the splendid chandelier and ornate dining chairs. You see statuary, antique brass, velvet armchairs…and you think you know what kind of place this is.

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But look again. Those ornate dining chairs are pure white — with shining spots of reflection where “upholstery” ought to be ¬— and surround a white rectangle of a dining table. That tapestry and those end tables are reflected in the surface of a long, low-lying “cube” of glass that serves as a room-length table in front of a long white couch; at the elbow of a pair of dove-gray and white pseudo-Windsor chairs is a round white table on a smooth, modern pedestal. A magnificent liquor cabinet shows off its collection behind glass-fronted doors…behind a contemporary-styled loveseat in a subtle tweed. This apartment, in short, is a mix. It’s not necessarily even a half-and-half mix, but it’s a mix that works against solid, neutral backgrounds that show off the beautiful lines of the old and harmonize with the new.

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