When Garnesha and Oputa Ezediaro, the owners of this residence in Maplewood, New Jersey, tapped interior design studio Forbes Masters to overhaul their property, they had only one request: Accentuate the artwork. “They gave us free rein to create the interiors, but it was clear that they had a real passion for their art collection,” says Monet Masters, one half of an Atlanta-based duo noted for injecting a rich and earthy palette into their spatial plans.
Her design partner, Tavia Forbes, says the couple’s trove of contemporary paintings and sculptures by primarily African-American artists fueled an interior scheme that sought to provide depth and richness to the home. “We wanted the most important pieces to influence this project and make each room feel more personal,” Forbes says.
That objective is clear as soon as you enter the 4,000-square-foot home. The soaring white wall of the entryway was originally meant to include a gallery of smaller artworks. However, the clients were passionate about a large-scale piece in their collection by Nate Lewis, an artist known for exploring history through patterns and texture. So the design team decided to use that location to mount Lewis’s work to anchor the entire space. The piece, titled Signaling XXIX, is a hand-sculpted inkjet print in tones of black, gray, and white that depicts a body in the throes of musical rhythms. Meanwhile, in the dining room, a towering sculpture adds a stately presence to a space that includes an ebony oak Grotto table and softly curved back dining chairs by the Brazilian architect and furniture designer Juliana Lima Vasconcellos.
A large-scale work by the multimedia artist Delita Martin also dominates the sitting room. The piece, titled Six Persimmons, uses figurative imagery in acrylic, charcoal, and decorative papers to evoke ancestral conversations. The room is bathed in a navy blue wall covering that’s meant to complement the artwork’s palette of blue, white, and black.
“The sitting room really demonstrates the kind of high utility we wanted in our home,” says Garnesha Ezediaro, who shares the residence with her husband, Oputa, and their toddler. “A house is meant to be lived in and there’s no space in our home that’s off-limits,” adds Ezediaro, who runs a philanthropic portfolio at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The couple developed a passion for art collecting during the pandemic, a period that also coincided with the birth of their son. “We wanted our child to be surrounded by imagery that was stimulating, but that he could also see himself in,” says Ezediaro, alluding to the series of colorful figurative works that dot the residence. When art wasn’t the main draw, the interior designers found creative ways to infuse some rooms with character and personality.
“Because it was a newly built home it lacked the individuality, and the elegance of sophisticated finishes and custom design elements,” says Masters. “We wanted to elevate the interiors so that it delivered drama through wall coverings and modern, clean, and timeless furnishings,” she says.
A dramatic color scheme drives the decor in the primary bedroom. Originally meant to include shades of white and neutrals, the homeowners instead pushed for more texture and pattern. The result is a space defined by darker shades with lighter contrasts.
The four-poster bed in the room features a geometric totem hourglass post design in a hand-rubbed black finish. The wallpaper is grasscloth with purple metallic backing, while the bedding is done in custom black and white fabrics. “The goal was to deliver interiors that spoke to the clients’ love of travel, cultural heritage, and fine art,” adds Forbes. “I really think we accomplished that.”