Updated: Apr 5
Original Article on :- architecturaldigest.com
A new book surveys the colorful work of interiors stylist Carlos Mota, whose latest triumph is his own zesty Dominican Republic retreat
Sometimes I feel like I work for an airline,” Carlos Mota remarks of his hectic cross- continental life as a top interiors editor, stylist, and, he jests, “pillow fluffer.” In the past few months alone, he has traveled from his home in New York City to Britain, France, Morocco, Peru, Hong Kong, Bali, Croatia, and Portugal. He also made several trips to the Dominican Republic, though entirely by choice. It’s the place he’s made his refuge, having recently completed a beachside getaway he playfully calls Casamota.
Why the D.R.? “It reminds me of my beautiful home country, Venezuela,” says Mota, an Architectural Digestcontributing editor. “I love the landscape, the friendly people, the food. After all, I am a Latin at heart.” He first got to know the D.R. several years ago, and when he found an available waterfront plot in El Limón, on the island’s northern coast, he knew it was where he wanted to unwind with his longtime boyfriend, Nicholas Rytting. “The only noises here are the sounds of the sea and birds, and my only social gatherings are feeding the chickens and the four dogs.”
Mota’s whirlwind trips, many undertaken while working on projects for AD, are chronicled in his new book, *A Touch of Style,*coming out from Assouline in May. A greatest hits of Mota’s career, the tome is full of colorful, spirited interiors photos he has styled. There are images of his famous friends’ homes—including Giancarlo Giammetti’s Manhattan penthouse and Giambattista Valli’s Paris apartment—each more dashing than the last. “Most of them work in the fashion world and have great taste and very little patience. Just like me!” jokes Mota, whose gift is amplifying the personality of spaces—and of the people who live in them. Who else could have coaxed octogenarian businessman Pierre Bergé, wearing a forest-green blazer, into a leafy thicket for a portrait next to a bronze stag?
In the book’s introduction Mota reiterates a few of his flamboyant observations, like “A life without flowers is not a life worth living!” Another of his dictums, “I don’t object to wearing Manolos with a T-shirt,” reflects eclectic tastes that embrace, say, extravagant china paired with inexpensive cloth napkins and cutlery.
“Carlos is the perfect blend of style, wit, and charm, with a dash of naughtiness,” says his friend Vanessa Getty, the West Coast social dynamo. Park Avenue fixture Jamie Tisch, also a friend, admires the way Mota “combines luxury, sophistication, and Venezuelan flair to create the perfect room, dinner, or outfit. He’s an explosion of color. Not just the coral pants he may be wearing but also his personality—it lights up every room.”
When he’s at Casamota, however, the emphasis is on escape and ease. “I wanted a simple house that was low maintenance,” says Mota, who enlisted architect Kevin Estrada of the New York firm Weetu to devise a concrete box with a central courtyard. Mota deems it a modern take on Spanish Colonial houses, referring affectionately to it as his bunker.
The front of the structure is indeed austere, inspired by the concrete buildings of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. In back, the roof extends upward at an angle, forming a canopy over the rear terrace, which has open views out to the sea. Covering the terrace and support columns are tiles that Mota designed in his favorite hues, a mix of purples and grays. He describes the furnishings used throughout the house as “nomadic,” as most came from his travels: rugs from Morocco, textiles from Sweden, wicker chairs from Italy, daybeds from Indonesia. Other pieces were crafted by local artisans. And he incorporated additional splashes of color with fabrics, pillows, and rugs. “I am a strong believer,” he says, “that color makes you happy.”
Since there are only two bedrooms, options for guests are limited. “Less company means less work,” says Mota, with a laugh. This place, he adds, is about indulging in what he considers life’s two greatest luxuries: being away from crowds and getting a really good night’s sleep.