“As a girl, Hilary Swank could see the whole world from her bedroom—at least in her mind’s eye. Living in a trailer park with her mother, she devoured books, which she checked out by the armload from the bookmobile that made the rounds of her Bellingham, Washington, neighborhood. By 15, an age when the average girl’s most fervent fantasy is to kiss some silly pop star, Swank had envisioned a rich and important life for herself.
To help her craft an interior worthy of the view, she hired designer Mark Zeff, with whom she’d worked previously on a New York brownstone and her California house. The two have a natural sympathy. “Hilary is very intense and also very pure,” says Zeff. “She knows what she likes. She doesn’t live in fantasy. I wanted to create a place that would give her a sense of grace and harmony.”
Zeff’s first step was to furnish the rooms with serene, clean-lined pieces, many of which he chose from the Calvin Klein Home collection. “Calvin’s furniture has a strong modern sensibility without any tricks,” he explains. Then he layered in elements—historical, cultural, emotional, symbolic—to offset any sterility. Softly weathered barn wood reclaimed from a Pennsylvania farm clads one wall of the living area. The study’s shelves—custom-made built-in cabinetry designed by Zeff—are lined with artifacts: African headrests, hand-forged scissors, and sculptural Indian molds.
When it came time to select art for her apartment, Swank turned to the Jack Shainman Gallery, known for championing artists from around the world. In her foyer, Nuit de Noël greets visitors; the 1963 photograph was taken by Malick Sidibé, a Malian artist who documented Bamako culture in the 1960s and ’70s. “They seem so innocent and happy,” says Swank of the dancing couple. In her bedroom and living room are dreamy, metaphysical paintings by Carlos Vega.” – ELLE Decor
I like the idea of putting the planks of reclaimed barn wood on the wall in the living area. I think it makes the room cozy.
Photos: Simon Upton for ELLE Decor