Original Article on :- architecturaldigest.com
When it comes to décor and dinner parties, more is always more at the exuberantly appointed Manhattan home of Carlos Mota
On a recent Saturday night, some of Manhattan’s most fashionable were packed like society sardines into Carlos Mota’s intimate Chelsea apartment. Designer Tory Burch was settled on the living room’s silk shag carpet, chatting with philanthropist friends Jamie Tisch and Renee Rockefeller, who were perched on a button-tufted sectional modeled after banquettes in the Carlyle hotel. Nearby, German princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis was talking Texas politics with Houston transplant Allison Sarofim while reclining on a Jansen daybed. In terms of glamour per square foot, the scene was something of a marvel.
“Live in a small apartment? Stuff it with people,” Mota, AD’s international style editor, later says with a laugh, dismissing the notion that a petite space is unsuitable for gracious entertaining. “If you can only fit six people at your table, invite 40. I like things more crazy, more messy, more unexpected.”
Born and raised in Venezuela, Mota moved to New York in the late 1980s looking for a change of pace. “My body and mind wanted something bigger and better,” he says. “Manhattan seemed like the right place, and it fit me like a glove.” Soon after relocating he found his footing in the field of interior design, working for decorator Perucho Valls of the celebrated firm Siskin Valls. “I had no formal training,” recalls Mota. “Just a strong appetite for beautiful things.”
Early in his career, the ebullient Mota learned one particularly valuable lesson: “If you’re tired of always being the life of the party, just make the party come to you.” He hosted the first of his soirées at his then-home in midtown, once shoving his mattress into the hall so that he could put a table in his bedroom. Since moving to Chelsea eight years ago, he has continued to throw these fêtes, welcoming such fashion greats as Valentino, Francisco Costa, and Giambattista Valli in addition to various art-world luminaries.
Guests typically commune in the living room, the nucleus of Mota’s physically compact but aesthetically oversize home. Forgoing an official dining area, he furnished the space with all varieties of seating—not only the sectional and daybed but also a second sofa, taborets, and two 1960s chairs that orbit a bespoke cocktail table lacquered in a bold coral. “I like color. I like to combine looks and periods. I don’t like just any one style,” he says. “I hate the word eclectic, so maybe I should call my look globally chic.”
Mota is an endless source of punchy sound bites. “Lavender is the new beige,” he quips, referring to the hue of some pillows. And what of that chartreuse rug Burch found so inviting? “Carpets are the shoes of decor,” he says. “Have a good one and the whole room looks sophisticated. It’s like pairing Manolos with a T-shirt.” Unexpected eccentricities fill his home. An aluminum-foil elephant bust by artist Dean Millien hangs above the bed, mingling with photographs by David Benjamin Sherry and Alec Soth. The latter is responsible for an eye-catching picture titled I Can’t Go On Like This that features a handwritten breakup letter, colorful passages of which Mota loves to read aloud to visitors. The entryway displays an assortment of other finds, including a snapshot of supermodel Iman taken by her husband, David Bowie. In the same space, a couple of cerused-oak étagères contain some of Mota’s many design books—volumes frequently referenced in his work. He admits it can be confusing to find the right tome given that they are organized primarily by spine color. Mota’s favorite room is the bath, which he modeled in spirit if not palette after Diana Vreeland’s iconic all-red living room—a setting she once described as “a garden in hell.” With that phrase and her botanical wall treatment in mind, he clad much of the bath in fabric printed with a dramatic tree-of-life motif. “I like anything that feels different,” he says. “That applies to people, too.” As talk returns to the topic of entertaining, one wonders: What’s the wildest thing to have ever gone down at his place during a party? “What happens in Mota’s house stays in Mota’s house,” he says. “That’s the secret to hosting wonderful people—make them feel they can do nothing wrong. Of course, they will. But who’s telling?”