Interior designer James JJ Acuña often likens his creative efforts to those of a tailor. Much like the precise fit of a made-to-measure suit, he believes interiors should be customised to match the client’s needs and lifestyle. “Tailors choose fabrics and cuts that fit that client––we’re happy to look at our projects and working methods in a similar way that people see tailors,” says Acuña, who is the founder of his eponymous practice JJ Acuña / Bespoke Studio.
“We listen carefully to make sure we understand what our clients want versus what they need, and then we respond appropriately by designing bespoke spaces that fit our client’s current habits and aspirational lifestyle.”
Another key goal was to maximise the magnificent views that the apartment offers. Its elevated position looks out to lush vistas of the rolling green hills, as well as the city skyline. “The home faces the east, so there’s beautiful sunlight that comes through in the morning,” observes Acuna. “We liked the fact that the existing site was a really well-preserved home; although the original interior looked very dated.”
These soft shades are paired beautifully with French-influenced mouldings, trimmings and cornices, which are juxtaposed with timber and rattan panels that reference Asian-style furnishings.
“Brass detailings on the flooring, dining banquette, bathroom basin and door handles elevate and frame this ethereal tone-on-tone concept,” says Acuna. “All the door handles were made-to-order and sourced by the owners in Europe; my clients like to think of these details as necessary finishing accents—the same way accessories complete a fashionable outfit.”
Of all the beautiful spaces conceived for this apartment, the designer adores the dining room the most. “I love designing spaces that involve hospitality and call for a group of people coming together to enjoy food,” shares Acuna. “We were able to design and fabricate a restaurant-style banquette in hardwood walnut and brass on an existing ledge, making that window ledge disappear completely in order to create a table for six.”
This curved seating arrangement is paired with custom-made dining chairs in velveteen and brass that were hand-picked by the couple. The owners also selected a dining table designed by Bruno Moinard for Roche Bobois, and a pendant lamp from Ladies & Gentlemen Studio. The design team happily discovered an instant chemistry with their clients, who were much involved in the renovation and decoration process from the start.
“Our clients travel a lot and they would look for vintage pieces like the mid-century modern desk in the home office and the Pierre Jeanneret chair in the living room,” shares Acuna. “The couple have great aesthetic sensibilities, so we made sure that we were able to meet them at their taste level.” And it shows in the completed interior, which perfectly encapsulates the couple’s personal taste as well as the studio’s elegant realisation of the home of their dreams.