Cutlured Mag

How the fashion design duo became experts in home renovation

Like many of us trapped at home during quarantine, Oliver and Bessie Avnaim Coral, founders of the fashion brand pleaseThey decide to use their extra time to do some DIY projects. In their case, it was an ambitious endeavor to renovate their 2,000-foot-tall New York City duplex apartment without the help of contractors, except for an electrician for the lighting fixtures. “We’ve been watching YouTube videos and learning as we work,” Coral explains. “I knew how to build a plaster wall, but we wanted to approach our home as an art project.” The result is a light-filled, light-filled space filled with soothing neutrals that now serves as the showroom for the brand’s expansion into home décor and furniture.

Creating living spaces is not entirely foreign to the duo. Arjé, best known for its sustainable jackets, has pop-up stores in New York and Los Angeles that are designed to be more like home, with coffee and wine served while customers shop and an open invitation to lounge on the furniture. It was a natural extension, then, for the couple to dive fully into the interior design. “We had three successful years selling clothes, but we felt this longing to be a complete lifestyle,” explains Avnaim Coral. Moving from clothes to interiors may have always been part of the couple’s bigger plan, but that doesn’t mean they were completely free from worrying about the new trend. Avnaim Coral continues: “When you catch butterflies, you know you are getting close to your dream.” “During the height of the pandemic, we looked at each other and said, We just have to do it. Our hearts knew that something was missing.” And so they began to sink.

First was the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room, which was demolished and transformed into an arched opening, perfect for creating a flow of guests when they are enjoying. Another impressive project led by Corral is the custom wall behind their dining table that required multiple trips to The Home Depot for wood screws that were cut to size and joined piece by piece. Avnaim Coral laughs: “Ole was able to make things, and I was the annoying customer.”

Husband and wife of design duo Oliver Coral and Bessie Avnaim Coral.

Besides transforming the design of their living space, the couple also designed five pieces of custom furniture—what they like to call essential grounding products for any home—a coffee table, dining table, sofa, armchair, and custom-made ottoman—arrangement and built in Rochester, New York. The last two components are their biggest successes. “The chair and ottoman are two of our magnetic products that interior designers and clients request and order in custom fabrics,” explains Avnaim Coral. There are plans to expand the line, with pieces that complement the existing design.

To complete their lifestyle concept, the two made sure that everything from artwork to rugs to paintings and even magazines and books in their home showroom was available for purchase. “Ole takes care of most of what you see, so we truly love and believe in everything. We work with artisans we know personally.” Everything is a closed loop of production made in small batches. north knotdinnerware from Japanese label you areHandmade jugs from a ceramic maker in Barcelona Marta Bonilla Surreal glassware by New Yorker Grace Whiteside. For customers interested in seeing all these pieces in person, special shopping dates are available to visit their homes, sit on the furniture, touch the decor items, and most of all, interact with the couple.

This level of thought and attention to detail informs their plans moving forward. The duo don’t want to fall victim to a stressful non-stop schedule that forces fashion designers to break down. “We don’t rush. We want to do a little bit with the intention of going longer,” says Avnaim Coral. “As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.”

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