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09.25.21

NBA Legend and Philanthropists Mike & Laurel D’Antoni Help Others Through their Love of Design

Laurel D’Antoni and her husband, celebrated NBA coach Mike D’Antoni, have become adept at creating beautiful and welcoming homes wherever they live. During the over thirty five years that the couple have been together, they have lived everywhere from Manhattan Beach to Milan and everywhere in between, and most recently, Brooklyn Heights. Each time they have relocated, they have set up a home that is both super stylish and perfectly comfortable. Thanks to the help of  brilliant designer Christina Roughan of Roughan Interiors, she has managed to pull together some seriously gorgeous homes. Now, on the eve of the family’s next adventure, this time a move to Austin, Texas, Laurel and Mike must once again make way for a new home and a new look. Select pieces from their enviable Brooklyn abode (the pair have been living in the notoriously celebrity packed building “The Standish” known from being the home of Superman in the world of DC Comics) will be for sale exclusively through the Local Vault. To make this sale even more special, the couple has generously offered to donate proceeds to their beloved charity SBP Disaster Relief Agency to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Ida.

Photo by Jane Beiles

While each home they have occupied has been a different style, (“Santa Barbara” style in Arizona, “Dutch Colonial” in Westchester, “Modern Beach” in Manhattan Beach, “Mediterranean” in Houston…), despite where they live, they have strived to create a “warm and tranquil environment.”  Laurel explains, “With the intensity and volatility of professional sports, we try and make our living spaces neutral and soothing.  We look for pieces that can easily be moved to different locations if needed. I’m drawn to lighting….it fascinates how something can be so beautiful and so functional all the time!”

Photo by Jane Beiles

As anyone who has moved knows, the whole process is a lot of work. Luckily, she has found a kindred spirit and guide in designer Chris Roughan (profiled earlier this year by The Local Vault). From the time of their first encounter the  pair formed an instant design connection. Chris explains: “As designers we work with many people. Each job is distinct and separate from one another. It doesn’t matter if we work for the same client on six different homes or a one room show house as they all represent the current life they are living. Laurel and I met in 2011 when she interviewed me for a job in Rye. As soon as she opened the door and invited me in, her kindness and honesty was incredibly welcoming. At that time I had no idea we would embark on six projects together and are now working on a seventh. I take my job seriously and really listen to our client and what is important to them. Our main goal beside designing incredible interiors is our clients happiness. It’s a gift to be able to do what I do and be successful in establishing client relationships that last a lifetime. It’s our job to be available for clients when they move, redecorate and purchase multiple homes.”

Through this relationship with her designer, Laurel has had the opportunity to hone in on her own style and benefit from Chris’s expertise to make her visions a reality.   “Christina Roughan has helped me for years!  She runs our inventory since we move quite a bit.  For me, everything is a math game on moving costs vs. what you can quickly have delivered at the new location.  She found some Italian sepia prints that have made the move to every home.  She finds me furniture that has “sexy legs” – I prefer curves to straight edges.  More importantly, she has taught me a lot about timeless design.  I use pillows and accessories for pops of color…everything else has the colors of my muses, my 2 Birman Cats, Bob and Grace.  Cream, chocolate brown, taupe.”

Photo by Jane Beiles

This process of turning a vision into a reality requires some serious skill.  Laurel describes the experience, “Christina is meticulous.  She makes me feel like I know what I am doing (I do not!). I know that I want durable fabrics, cat resistant, calming colors, functional, and above all… comfortable to sit in. Our guests can be taller people, so proportion is really important. She taught me to mingle all sorts of different price points.  She taught me to look for opportunities everywhere we go.  On her trip to the Greenbrier to do our home there (interesting enough, she was one of the original designers at the Ralph Lauren Shop at the Hotel!), we were visiting antique shops and she came across a set of menus from a well-known London restaurant from the WWII era.  “Black out” dinners and notes on the use of  rationed supplies were part of the French menu.  What an eye!  We turned these menus and their colorful watercolor covers into artwork for the kitchen.  Amazing!!  She agreed to take on this project and turn it around in 3 weeks.”

Their Brooklyn home, in “The Standish”, was a particular challenge. Designer Chris Roughan explains, “As an NBA family they move frequently dues to Mike’s career as one of the premier coaches in the NBA.    Laurel is the mastermind behind creating a home in every location.  This last job in Brooklyn was completed in less than 2 months.    It was a race to the finish line and we completed it for them rather quickly.  They wanted understated chic lines that sexy and comfortable and nothing too fragile.  We mixed city life with mid-century modern, 1940’s and modern day accents to complete the space.  This interior was curated for our clients lifestyle.  We all loved the apartment from the change of the bedroom to the fit of the bed, it was truly exceptional. ”

Creating this unique blend of styles was quite the undertaking.  As Laurel explains: “The building had been newly remodeled with an eye to keep its history with a modern twist.  We decided to do a mid-century look (oh gosh, I’m mid century!!).  We bought several items on the secondary market…and found some like the Scolari chandelier (Italian AND mid-century!) that were a perfect fit for the sexy legs of the dining table.  The sectional is probably my favorite… it is sleek but incredibly comfortable.  It fits any body style, tall or petite….the color is perfect… plop your favorite decorative pillow and you have classic design or fun and lively.” Shopping vintage and antiques allowed the D’Antoni’s to curate a look uniquely theirs. “I am drawn to beautiful and clever things… I make a mistake by falling in love with a piece and changing everything to accommodate.  What I like about The Local Vault is that this is where you can find amazing quality for under the market price and most importantly… get it to your home ASAP.  Time is my biggest commodity.  It is the only thing I realize I can control…. All the other stuff is just that…stuff.”

Keeping a healthy perspective on the important things in life has inspired the D’Antonis to reach out and help others whenever possible. When the prospect of moving once again came up, Laurel and Chris put their heads together to come up with a beautiful solution to this new challenge. Chris explains: “The one downside was due to covid, our clients did not get to live in the apartment very long and Mike took a consulting job in New Orleans.  Our conundrum was what do we do with these gorgeous pieces of furniture such as the The Robjohns Gibbings saber leg dining table,  the brass Scolari fixture, silk carpets, early 80’s upholstered chairs among many other notable design elements?  When organizing a way to resell these items, I mentioned that we should use The Local Vault as they were wonderful when it comes to reselling and repurposing decorative merchandise.  Something that we should all do more often.  Laurel loved the idea and so the process started from picking what should be moved to their next home vs what should be sold.  Each home has different scale so its important to understand scale and room in order to make this kind of edit work.”

 

The family plans to donate the proceeds from their sale to SBP Disaster Relief Agency to help them with rebuilding after Hurricane Ida. “After being on the coaching staff of the Brooklyn Nets, Mike took a consulting job with the New Orleans Pelicans,” Laurel explains: “It is just heartbreaking what the people of Louisiana have had to endure with another devastating hurricane.  Everything counts with non-profits.  Whether you want to write a check, donate your time, share your contacts or creatively fundraise…it all counts.  We can’t urge people enough to find non-profits who work face to face with the clients they serve.  SBP is that organization for us.  We have seen the work they have done… met the families they serve.  People tell me all the time they don’t know who to donate to… what organizations really get to the nitty gritty and help people.  I can only tell them that I have witnessed the work of staff and volunteers at SBP, and what they  have done for those less fortunate. I hope people will buy the items at TLV and then when they put them in their homes…they will know that a part of that item is helping another family affected by Ida.   Kindness and compassion….”

Up next for Laurel and Mike is their forthcoming move to Austin, Texas. “We are excited about our move to Austin!  First, we will be closer to our son who works for an international consulting firm.  Austin is an exciting town… so young and booming.  There seems to be a mass movement to the area for the creativity and technology sectors the city offers.  We bought a home that is a soft Mediterranean….it fits my husband’s Italian background!  I was able to secure many of the furnishings from the seller, therefore saving me from moving items cross country once again.  I’m looking forward to the back patio and a glass of Barbera!!!”

 

Learn more about SBC and the work they do here. Read more about designer Chris Roughan of Roughan Interiors here.

 

Photos by Jane Beiles / Text by Liana Hayles Newton

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