The New Bespoke
Couture-inspired rooms that seamlessly combine one-of-a-kind objects with hand-made furniture
By Frank Roop
176 Pages / Over 160 Illustrations
Over the past few years, Frank Roop and his wife’s homes have served as design laboratories to try out different ideas. As they have traveled and explored the world, their tastes have evolved.
The foyer set up the entrance to Frank Roop’s new home on a tree-lined street in Boston’s Back Bay Area. The nineteenth-century French painted panel mirror, left, reflects into the foyer, mimicking another doorway. Flooring of fine bright Ming-green onyx was installed to offset the rich chocolate brown Venetian plaster walls. The 1970s hand-welded metal tree sculpture, right, is by Curtis Jere – the combined work of Jerry Fels and Curtis Freiler.
An extra-long sofa covered in a sturdy deep blue linen velvet and open-arm cube chairs, upholstered in grey linen, anchor the room. Sumptuous silk velvet pillows offset the humble base fabrics. The walls are covered in a special green-grey handmade paper, hand-cut to form a perfectly laid out grid pattern. The wood pulp in each piece makes it resemble stone.
Blanche P. Field, the oldest lampshade workroom in the country, had been in business since 1905 when its founder was asked to create shades for the finest houses of Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. Today, located in Boston, the company works on all of Frank’s vintage lighting and custom made hanging lamps. The shop has a team of artisans, including Lucky Chin, right, who delicately stitch every shade. Each shade is hand-welded, formed, and shaped. This kind of craftsmanship allows them to execute whatever shades Frank might need, and to his exact specifications.
The vintage Syrian mother-of-pearl side table, left, was brought back from a trip to Paris. Holland & Sherry grey wool flannel covers the quilted mattress seat cushion of the chaise. The nickel floor lamp was found on a shopping trip to Upstate New York.
A custom-made “lay back” chair, right, upholstered in a linen from Rogers & Goffigon, can be seen in the study. The draperies are made of navy blue and turquoise velvet.
Frank created a hybrid dining area at one end of the living room, alongside the staircase. His clients are vineyard owners and love to have wine-tasting parties at home. The large, L-shaped custom banquette is a great place to sit with a glass of wine while still being connected to the living room. This type of seating helps make dining spaces multi-functional and more relaxed. While being cozy, the large scale of the banquette holds its own against the strong architecture of the steel and wood staircase.
Frank can’t help but incorporate his experiences from years of working in menswear into his interiors. This classic outfit, right, consists of a jacket, shirt, tie, and sweater that are different in color and texture, yet together create a sense of harmony. This is how he approaches fabric combinations in rooms. He uses disparate elements so that the sum of the whole is more interesting than the individual parts.
Visiting Barcelona one summer, Frank stumbled across a ‘modernista’ house with the most amazing leaded glass window, left. He noticed that the mix of jewel-toned colors in the glass played a big part in adding a sense of depth. With interiors, he has found that being inspired by contrasting color combinations is important in creating interesting and multi-faceted rooms that exude depth.
In the living room, right, contrasting surfaces and shapes-shiny with matte, textured with smooth, curved with square-help make a room look intriguing.
The library, with its enveloping coffered ceiling, is a wonderfully rich room that has been paneled in book-matched walnut. The key was to accentuate its richness with vibrant colors and textures that are thick and plush. Luxurious teal velvet draperies frame the black and white painting by the American artist Robert Kelly, which is the focal point of the room. The Pop Art piece on the wall at left is by the American artist George Roussos.
Instead of the typical luxe honeymoon destinations like Hawaii, Paris, Tuscany, or the Jersey Shore, these clients chose India. Like many of my clients with young children, they wanted their new home to be drenched in imaginative design. Their goal was to have an interior that they could share with their kids on a daily basis. The use of color was one of the best ways to accomplish this.
The living room features a bold painting by the Iranian-born artist Kamrooz Aram. The arabesque flourishes in the clouds and its surreal depth draws you right into it. It became the inspiration for the room.
This house was truly a labor of love. As far as Frank’s clients’ tastes went, they couldn’t have been more opposite: the husband had a modern aesthetic, while his wife favored a bohemian style. Frank suggested creating an exotically colored interior filled with simple, modern shapes.
The living room, the epicenter of the house, needed to be a place that could accommodate large, comfortable gatherings as well as a place you could lie down in and read a book. Frank’s clients were not interested in clean and cool, so he chose colors on the spicy side of the spectrum.
The color of the ebonized oak-floored entrance hall, left, sets the stage to this house with its hand-cut wallpaper in horizontal stripes that extend a strong graphic welcome. A piece of fine-grained Pauferro wood with leather shelves, right, was designed to artfully display books, including paperbacks, along with art works and objects.
Frank tried to come up with elements that didn’t look too contrived for the children’s bedrooms, so that they could enjoy their rooms as they got older. One of the sons wanted his bedroom to remind him of a coral reef, right, so Frank had the walls painted in the most intense blue he could find. He made white gallery shelves to display shells, coral, and other objects found in the sea.
The front entry, right, features a gold hand-cut mosaic wall-table. Frank became fond of gold mosaics when he saw them on a trip to the fourteenth century El Real Alcázar palace in Seville, Spain, left.
Movement and sculptural shapes define the living room. The space is built around the sinuous contour of the custom-made sofa with its long curve that is both concave and convex. The lighting consists of a variety of strong geometric shapes that balance the free-form curves of some of the furniture. The walls are finished in Venetian plaster to look like poured concrete.
The New Bespoke is a compelling first monograph on the work of internationally recognized and published interior designer Frank Roop. A mastermind of original color palettes, Roop leaves his signature couture touch on each and every space that he creates. To create truly inspired spaces, the ingredients that go into his projects are unique: almost all of the furniture and furnishings he uses in his interiors are either vintage finds or custom made pieces of his own design. Roop began his design firm after a career in specialty menswear, where he acquired the principles of design that gave him a special and unexpected basis for formulating and conceptualizing his interior design schemes. For Roop, a room is not just a space to be inhabited: it is a garment to be worn, and an impeccably tailored garment at that.
About the Author
Frank Roop was born and raised in Malibu, California. He now lives with his wife Sharon (and dog Remy) in Boston, Massachusetts. He started his firm in 1998 after a career in fine men’s specialty store retailing. He has completed projects in and around New England and Florida. His work appears regularly in national and international publications, such as Architectural Digest France, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Boston Globe.