Color Me Bad: Micky and Malu Hurley’s Exuberant Interior Design

IMG_4048Micky’s newest project is a full-floor apartment in Brooklyn’s 1891 Montauk Club; its  owner,  Cat Sheer, and her husband fell for the atmosphere and spirit of the Hurleys’ Upper East Side apartment and wanted the same magic. Original detail like inlaid tiles, stained glass windows and mahogany wainscoting demand that homage be paid: Micky has sourced low-maintenance Lee Jofa striated cotton-linen velvet that resists wrinkles and children’s handprints. He has introduced his client to Fortuny, whose fabrics are befitting of the building’s Moorish Revival architecture, Park Slope’s answer to the sort of Venetian palazzo where some of Micky’s ancestors may have felt comfortable.

It may all sound very grand and aristocratic, but money is not the currency here–chic is, and above all, authenticity. “Living fantastically” is a favorite phrase of Micky’s.

Effort and care are more important expenditures than cash, though Micky sees antiques today as a good value. “There’s a permanence to good pieces,” he says, and a value to investing wisely for a lifetime of use. “Instead of a luxury sofa that costs thousands and thousands of dollars, you could be buying a beautiful commode,” says Malu.

Pieces with history are even more important when decorating smaller spaces: “Huge spaces you can put a white sofa in, and it still looks fantastic because the architecture does the work for you,” she says. Meanwhile, for smaller spaces to succeed, one needs layers: “It’s the story that’s told, of different ideas and different pieces.” Micky’s grandmother told him that “you don’t buy antiques, you inherit them,” but he doesn’t think there’s anything inauthentic about buying old pieces and portraits. You can make them your own. “You can bring life into the things just as much as they’re breathing life into your space,” he says.

And if that space has the Hurley look, it just might be enough to make even the most strident minimalist question that white sofa and wonder–just for a second–what it would be like to “live fantastically”: to hang a tapestry on the wall, open a bottle of wine, turn on a samba and throw an impromptu dinner party for 30, with Malu and Micky as the guests of honor. After all, the most charming accessory in a Hurley & Company interior is probably the Hurleys themselves.

morse@observer.com