If Clos-ette is in the business of designing dream closets, then Ferguson & Shamamian Architects is in the business of designing dream homes. And not just any dream homes: we’re talking jaw-dropping custom residences that combine classical style and regional character with the finest craftsmanship around. Oscar Shamamian and Mark Ferguson, the New York-based firm’s partners, first set up shop in 1988 after meeting at venerable Parish-Hadley. Now, they’re in demand for projects ranging from city apartments to country estates –and perennial favorites of shelter magazines like Architectural Digest. The good news for those of us who can’t afford one of their masterpieces just yet? This spring, the designing duo came out with their first book, New Traditional Architecture: Ferguson and Shamamian Architects, City and Country Residences (Rizzoli, 2011). The image-rich volume showcases the firm’s finest work –and makes for a gorgeous gift. We’ve already given out a dozen to our friends!
Here, the award-winning architects took a moment to speak with Clos-ette.
What is it about traditional design that speaks to you?
Oscar Shamamian: The flexibility to compose just about any solution to modern problems.
Mark Ferguson: When done well, it is appropriate and enduring. It resonates with the great achievements of the past.
How do you balance historical styles with the contemporary needs of your clients?OS: Very carefully.
MF: We use classical design principles, not always the literal forms, which are surprisingly accommodating to contemporary needs and tastes.
Of all the projects featured in the book, is there one that was particularly rewarding?OS: All were rewarding in different ways. The house in Westport, Connecticut was particularly challenging in trying to make a bilaterally symmetrical house.
MF: They are all favorites. Each one has a great client and an inspiring story.
What inspires you?
MF: The people I work with are my inspiration. They all have ideas! I also have favorite buildings and places in the back of my mind, a collection I’m always adding to.
The interior of the Westport, CT residence. © Scott Frances