Design with Depth: Shawn Henderson's Layered Looks

In my design posts on this blog, I talk a lot about layered looks and eclectic design (mostly because my favorite designs are layered and eclectic). Sometimes the word “eclectic” gets confused for “eccentric,” and they’re two very different things. When I define a space as eclectic, I’m describing a room that looks collected and varied (think contrasting concepts of old/new, high/low, traditional/modern) yet purposely chosen so that there’s an obvious relationship between the architecture, furnishings, and finishes.

I discovered an excellent example of layered, eclectic design when I stumbled upon this photo the other day:

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This is the apartment of New York-based interior designer Shawn Henderson. Despite being featured on Maine Home + Design’s website, his apartment is located in New York City—tricky, eh? The decor looks perfect for a quaint little cottage tucked away in New England’s northern reaches. The original caption states that Henderson’s goal was to decorate in keeping with the apartment’s early 1900s construction date, and according to this article, I’d say he hit the nail on the head.

While Henderson’s own home incorporates a mix of classic and contemporary styles, his portfolio shows a mostly urban clientele with polished (and perhaps more formal) taste. His projects outside the city appear to incorporate his penchant for blended interiors, though. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from his portfolio.

In this first photo, I adore the simplicity of this space, from the architecture to the kitchen cabinetry. The bones scream “cottage” while the furniture and lighting say “I’ll never move out of the city!” The combination of country and midcentury styles is really fun.

Next up, the addition of shiplap on the wall of this room adds to the country charm, although the view is certainly making its own contribution. The midcentury furniture makes the space look relaxed and comfortable while steering it away from any shade of shabby chic. It is a chic room, but it’s not pretentious or stuffy at all.

The stone fireplace takes center stage in this next room. Notice how clean the architectural lines are—the ceiling openings and cased doorways are very minimal. The texture of the stone provides a lot of warmth and contrast, further supported by the rustic beams visible in the next rooms. The furniture skews modern but not cold, with natural woven seats on cantilevered bases.

Everything about this next design is stunning. I’d love to eat meals in a sun-filled room like this. What I first thought were long benches lining both sides of the table are actually individual sculpted metal chairs. Quite the mix of materials at play here!

This is a different room in the same house as the previous photo. The juxtaposition of various materials continues in this living room.

Last but not least, the next house is in Montana, and again we have a window framing a breath-taking view. There are plenty of rustic elements in this scheme, but in no way does it veer toward campy. The striking statement chandelier along with the metal staircase and black steel-framed window give this country retreat an edgy flair. I really love the stool with the metal base and what appears to be crushed velvet upholstery.

I appreciate the way these interiors embrace multiple styles of decor to achieve an eclectic look that isn’t strictly cottage or farmhouse or mountain lodge. For Shawn Henderson, layering retro with farmhouse or rustic with midcentury brings together contrasting styles that, in these examples, compliment each other nicely and create visually interesting spaces.

Check out more of Shawn’s work here and here.

All images taken from shawnhenderson.com. Click through each photo to visit his website.