Basil Racuk, a handbag designer and leather artisan, lives in a two-story house that’s home to his collection of iconic furniture, artwork and objects. “The living space on the upper level is filled with light and the lower level, where I have my atelier, is completely cave-like. I love having the two different worlds” he muses. A dramatic wrought iron spiral staircase anchors the living room and connects the two floors
The living room reveals Racuk’s very specific decorating style. The Bubble Club sofa by Philippe Starck might be great looking but the designer’s friends are begging him to replace it with a cozier option. “A park bench would be more comfortable,” he laughs, “but I like it for what it does to the room as an object-it’s more sculpture than function. That doesn’t make it right, but that’s what I wanted.”
A bird’s eye view of the living room from the top of the spiral staircase.
Racuk has owned the classic Charles Pollock for Knoll armchairs for 25 years. “I like the tension that happens with the chrome and the leather,” he says of the weathered designs. One can’t help noticing how his furniture choices are quite influential in his own designs (basilracuk.com)– the combining of fine leather with strong, sometimes rough, metal details
For the dining room, Racuk bought the sleek 1970‘s chrome and mirrored top table on eBay. “It’s American which I find interesting because we Americans aren’t very good at restraint as designers,” he opines. The dining room chairs, by Milo Baughman, are a recent acquisition. “I haven’t had them recovered yet, they’re definitely overdue.”
Chrome and mirror detail of the dining table.
The still life sits on the top of the stair entry leading from Basil's cave-like atelier to the main light filled living space.
An olive tree branch and bundles of leather scraps arranged in a still life are symbolic of Racuk’s organic, natural aesthetic which clearly inspires the elegant, simple design of his leather goods all available at basilracuk.com. “I am inspired by everything - most importantly the human spirit always amazes me,” he says
Visit Racuk’s website at www.basilracuk.com and get ready to put a "want/need/love" sticker on every single item - we sure did!
In the bedroom, the framed poster is a later René Gruau piece for Bemberg from Housing Works. “Of course the guys are straight out of a Village People album cover,” quips Racuk. The artwork rests atop a headboard he found in Mexico City that was pulled out of an old hotel and has a French 1950’s feel to it. The mix of dark wood, brass lamps and an indigo textile-cum-bedspread bring a sophisticated textural feeling to the room.
The home’s simple, functional kitchen hasn’t been touched since Racuk bought the place in 2006. He chose to keep the lab table to further the atelier feeling and now finds it useful for his soap making.
In his spare time, Racuk crafts handmade goats’ milk soap with natural essences (smoke is his favorite) in the kitchen. They are available for sale through his online store.