atop a polished rosewood pedestal from Robollo. It is one
of the last remaining pieces of art that Stallings created for a
Wabash County art fair when he was 17. He literally made
the paper by hand and, before it had quite dried, molded it
against a colossal stone statue of a famous boxer.
Another example of his innovation is in the dining room,
where, lacking a view, “I created my own skyline,” Stallings
says. On a vintage library table in front of the window, his
grouping of tall glass vases, each with stenciled line drawings
of famous high-rises like the Transamerica Pyramid, seems
like a real cityscape when seen through double sheer linen
curtains pulled in front of them.
“I love fabric and nothing transforms architecture better
than drapery,” Stallings asserts. “Drapes also make windows
seem taller and wider and soften the edges.”
Nearly everything is geared to enhance the light. In his
simple bathroom, where he admits he perhaps also needed “a
bit of drama,” a translucent linen shade lets daylight in, and
instead of a single fixed light above the sink, he added several
bulbs in vintage sockets, linked by Dogfork Lighting. Their
flexible champagne-colored wires are looped over surreal
plaster robe hooks cast in the shape of hands.
To promote sleep, Stallings opted for less light in the
bedroom; there, dark gray Holly Hunt wool drapes around
the bed can be pulled together to form a darkened cocoon.
The bedside lamps by Tradesmen are made from molds of
original Palladian balusters from Michael Taylor’s estate. They
are among the few distinctly classical shapes Stallings uses.
“I have definitely left my dark Victorian and its furniture
behind,” he says, happier with the modern collage he has
devised with eclectic custom pieces and art, including an
interactive ever-changing canvas in the dining room on
which guests — especially children — are encouraged to
scribble and draw.
And yet none of the fireplaces in his apartment are for
use. “They are ornamental. For centuries, people had central hearths that anchored rooms, and that’s why, even in
high-rises with modern heating systems, designers simply
mimicked the old styles,” he observes.
Ever the resourceful Midwesterner, the designer has turned
his functionless living room fireplace into a cubbyhole for
prized design books, and the built-in shelves around it fittingly enshrine — what else —neat stacks of his cherished
Architectural Digest magazines. n
In his deliberately dark
displays animistic John
atop a hide rug, and a
heavy curtain can be
drawn around the bed
to block out light.
In the bathroom, hand-shaped coat hangers
are deployed to hold
up extra lights.