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Inside the 700-Square-Foot Manhattan Home of AD100 Designer Carlos Mota

Updated: Apr 29

Carlos Mota is a fast-talking, globe-trotting stylist who’s worked with everyone from Hollywood stars David Spade and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. And now he’s launched Casamota, a home furnishings line with a focus on big color, texture and patterns. This year, he and his team released G: Forever Green, their first book in what will be a series of lifestyle books for the global marketplace. Whether you want a space that reflects your taste or your personality — or even whether you're just curious about how to scoop up interesting decor pieces at bargain prices — their website offers plenty of inspiration and a chance to get involved.

I never plan anything, says Mota. He said it with a shy smile, as if admitting that he’s not quite sure how this particular design got to where it is today (or indeed where it’s going). After all, what makes Mota a success isn’t so much his design acumen or business savvy — although not many would disagree that he has plenty of those. It is more about his fearless instincts, always ready to strike out into uncharted territory.

In his San Francisco apartment, Mota has stucco walls, lush green carpet and an antique tuxedo sofa covered in flowered chintz. Yet there’s an unusual mix of style and substance here: French, Chinese, Moroccan, Indian, Swedish and Central African objects as well as treasures from points beyond mingle quite contentedly. Some are antiques such as a pair of Gustavian chairs while others are vintage finds like the tuxedo sofa covered in its original flowered chintz; bits of wicker are placed here and there and a grand verdure tapestry released from storage now spans the far wall with just about an inch to spare…

A modernist take on the European hotel suite, this king-size room is divided in two by a low bookshelf and a coffee table made from an old copy of the Financial Times. The result is like a striking still life—an art collection, perhaps?—set against a spare white background. In contrast with the subdued tones of the rest of the apartment, the paintings glow from their paint-on-canvas frames, which resemble their originals: thick, flat, ornaments reminiscent of ancient Chinese paintings.

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