Linda has been a friend and neighbor for many years. She has a great design sense and really understands luxury materials and products. She made my kitchen table (see below) which is truly my favorite piece of furniture. I am thankful for it every day. She can custom make anything. I have also enjoyed seeing her take a room that is blah and transform it with her chic touches into something special. The custom leather walls that they make are really astonishing.
Design is at the heart of York Street Studio. Concepts, visual narratives incorporating leather walls and other custom treatments, bold luxe accessories and hardware are all part of the company's exquisite design aesthetic. Linda continues this tradition of forward-thinking product development and pairs it with her extraordinary sense of style.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Linda to ask her about her work, background and design inspirations. Below is one of our favorite photographs of a York Street leather wall treatment. Talk about chic!
How would you describe your design style?
Intuitive modern sensibility with great attention to architectural details. In sleek contemporary spaces as well as in antiques filled environments, an aesthetic that mirrors today's lifestyles in a luxurious yet natural, subtle way is always the goal. With unusual juxtapositions of remarkable materials and textures, my design style in every project, from start to finish, provides a singular vision that encompasses the individual clients needs aesthetically from a functional point of view.
What are the most important elements in design?
Proportion, scale, materials and ight. The proportion of the room dictates the scale of everything and anything that comes in to the space...from architectural details to the scale of paneling.
Your Harry's Chair featured above has an interesting history, would you share it with us?
The chair we all call "Harry's chair" was designed by my father Harry in the mid 50's for my parent's design office. There was a fire in that office (which had been featured in House and Garden) which forced them to move into the newly built Seagram's building. The chairs were reupholstered in the early 60's in the calf they are still covered in today and were located in my father's office. Those chairs made their way to Connecticut and have been in my dining for the past 20 years! I still produce the chair along with a version for outdoor use as seen below.
Your custom leather walls are the ultimate luxury, do you have a favorite installation that you have done?
All the leather room installations are the ultimate luxury, they take a tremendous amount of foresight and skill to produce. Some may have been more challenging or more intense to produce, like the octagonal leather man cave that was a spectacular project rendered by Stephen mostly or a recent man cave in LA.
As with most other artists and designers, we all have to keep moving forward with our vision and implementation of that idea. In looking ahead, over time, my process may become more refined combined with my approach. I have had to evolve to keep it alive, fresh, and innovative. The project I would reference as the ultimate luxury with the most innovative assembly is a hand stitched leather library I am working on now in Chicago.
Can you tell us a little bit about the background of York Street Studio?
York Street was established in Brooklyn in 1988 by Stephen Piscuskas, my late husband. We relocated to Litchfield County in the 1990's. York Street has always maintained making product here in the USA. York Street progressed from a fine craftsman wood shop to an established brand in high end home furnishings, lifestyle products and increasingly, luxury interiors. The transition began with the development of decorative hardware, leather tiles and selected pieces for production furniture derived from some of our most relevant custom work, the company's root. Having left my career as a footwear designer, we combined the woodworking with leather craftsmanship integrating and combining those techniques into architectural details. This led the company into developing products like leather tiles and leather rooms in libraries, man caves and powder rooms. Our projects span across the country. The goal for York Street is to continue collaborating with artists and craftsmen, keep developing new ideas and continue to stay as innovative as possible as we design new products and interiors
You attended the Rhode Island School of Design, what did your education there teach you that is relevant now?
Attending RISD was being among top tier talent on a day to day basis from students to faculty to the rawness that Providence had at that time. Being among that talent there was an endemic pressure to keep up and surpass, it was top tier problem solving and being able to communicate that message in drawing 2-D or 3-D format. Striving to do your absolute best, combined with honing the fundamentals and the key elements of design: scale, proportion, form follows function. The process was the key part of how we developed our concepts giving a strong foundation to generating lots of ideas and taking those concepts in any direction to finite solutions.
This approach and skill set works well for interiors and product development, if something does not work one way it can be worked out a different way, its about finding the solution either interpreting precisely what the client wants or collaborating with them to achieve what they are looking for.
When you design a room, where do you start and where do you finish?
The scale, the proportion, the light are the most important to assess. A room should be able to stand on its own and then one can build layers to create an in depth interior.
Is there an interesting current project that you would like to share with us?
We are presently completing an exceptional interiors project which encompasses the property formerly known as The Birches. This large scale private residence which faces Lake Waramug is a tremendously exciting project presenting many unique and extraordinary design opportunities that attune the York Street Studio aesthetic to the owners' lifestyle.
If you would like more information about Linda Zelenko and York Street Studio, please click here.