May 29, 2022


Masters of home interior

Interior Designer Lukas Machnik Takes GRAZIA Inside His Summer Home

7 min read
lukas machnik
Interior designer Lukas Machnik

Neatly placed on Gerard Drive, a narrow peninsula on the north end of East Hampton, sits interior designer Lukas Machnik’s weekend and summer getaway. For the artist, curator, designer, and TV personality (he’s the season 1 winner of NBC’s American Dream Builders), the Hamptons is a place to step back, take a different perspective on daily life, and reflect on what’s to come.

Of course, for someone with their own interior design firm, outfitting your own space can be a daunting prospect — one that Machnik has embraced. From the spacious and airy living space to the dining room, both of which have become sacred entertaining spaces for Machnik and his partner, the carefully curated rooms allow for oblique views of the water and beaming light from sunup to sundown. Machnik’s part-minimalist, part-Bauhaus, part-avant-garde aesthetic shines through, becoming one with nature through furnishings he either created himself, discovered among his many travels, or sourced from his most respected peers.

Ahead, Machnik gives a peek inside his home in GRAZIA USA’s March issue (on newsstands now). 

GRAZIA USA: Tell me a bit more about you and your work.

Lukas Machnik: In general, [when it comes to] my practice and my background, it’s a minimalist design approach. It’s about unique items. It’s not about chasing trends, and more about creating these bigger environments that are not a cookie-cutter thing. But, each home obviously has its own history and the client is another part of the determining factor of how things are going to work in the space. The way that I work, it’s almost like an art installation for me as well, because the other part of my background is fine arts. In addition to interior design, I’m a painter, photographer, sculptor, and product designer, so it’s kind of an overall play on visual aesthetics.

G: Which came first? The fine arts or interior design?

LM: Fine arts. I’ve been studying arts since I was very young in Europe. That was always my focus of education, and at one point when I moved to United States about 20 years ago, I started realizing that maybe fine arts are not necessarily the way to have a successful career in life right away. It’s a much more difficult process. I accidentally stumbled into interior design, and I enjoyed the process of it. I was self-taught. I’ve always worked for myself and that kind of became my meal ticket, so to speak. I started my company 18 years ago, and the rest is history. I’ve also been designing furniture, going back to my practice. I used to have a gallery in Paris at one point. So, it’s kind of been an exploration of all those visual aspects in everyday life.

G: What would you say inspired the aesthetic of your home?

LM: This home particularly is a summer house. It’s meant to be kind of like a beach shack, so to speak. But, the dictating point in the design of this home was to create it to make it feel very easy, laid-back, without making it feel like it’s a very pristine home. It needed to feel welcoming at the same time, not too precious. So, it’s a modernist bohème chic. We kind of joke that it was a loft on the water.

G: What would you say is your favorite room in the house, and why?

LM: I love, obviously, the main room, but the dining room and the living area are also two of my favorites. The house is in an area called Gerald Drive in East Hampton, which is this very skinny island, so you are surrounded by water on all sides. In the morning, you get the sunrise in the east coming in from one beach, and then the sun travels all the way through to the west, which is where the living room and dining area are. You get these incredible sunsets and it’s such a big part of what this house is. I love entertaining, so in every one of my homes — personally and or clients — I always have very large dining tables. I think it’s very important for people to get around the table, and I think it’s a different experience of sharing time together when you are sharing a meal. The water itself is just so stunning to look at between the dining room and the living room, where I love making fires in the winter and just casually sitting on the floor, or lounging on the daybed that’s in there for reading, or just taking an afternoon nap. That room becomes the center of the house and that’s why the open concept for it was the key to making this the communal space.

G: It does seem like a home that is meant to welcome the visitor, not just to be observed.

LM: Yes. I actually love cooking, too. I love flavors. I figure out how to make things, and I love just entertaining people, but baking is the worst, it requires a measuring cup, and I like to kind of go by, “Okay, this is how it tastes. This is how it’s going to be.” Going back to the table, it’s actually one of my designs. I use it often in interior design. It’s a very simple minimalist table concept. This particular one is made out of pine, so it has this Nordic feel to it, but then I stain it with Japanese ink so that it has this really deep black saturation and extremely matte feeling and finish to it. So again, that table is not about being precious and worrying about smudging it or putting your coaster on it. It’s about this whole house is designed to be lived in, and there’s no intent whatsoever to use a coaster or to make it feel too precious. 

G: Do you find it harder or easier to design your own space compared to designing spaces for clients?

LM: Well, the inside joke is that I am my worst client. As a creative, you’re exposed to so many different things, and you see so much that it is really hard to find the right things for the house. We see so much. I also travel a lot, and I collect a lot, so there are times when I go into my inventory and see that I have things that maybe wouldn’t work for the different house. But, the biggest client, I think, in general, in what I do, is the architecture, the house. The house itself dictates the direction that we’re going to go in, and this house obviously dictated the direction. I was very undecisive with certain things. In the living room, the two chairs facing the fireplace, I think I went through six or seven options until we landed on these chairs. Funny story about those chairs, actually: I bought those vintage Italian chairs, and I didn’t like the finish, so one afternoon, we thought, “Well, are we going to resand them and turn them black?” And, we ended up taking a blowtorch and charring the chairs black.With my personal homes in general, there is a plan; however, things change. With the bookcases there in the living room, they constantly get re-edited and moved around, and I bring in different pieces. So, sometimes certain parts become a revolving installation that changes around, because I might, in the winter, have a feel for these certain objects around me because they are more appropriate within the landscape of nature in the winter. And then, in the summertime, it might be changed around to something different that is more appropriate for a warmer climate. So, I would say all my homes in general are always a work in progress, and the joke is that they’re finished when I’m ready to move.

G: Do you have a dream space or location that you would love to design or like to work in?

LM: Yes. Actually, one of my favorite cities is Marrakesh. I love to spend as much time as possible in Marrakesh, and for me the big dream was always to have a riad in the Medina and just work with something that is a ruin, restore it, and kind of work with the ancient feeling that that city has. I think that it’s kind of a draw to me, too, because I love ancient civilizations. I love Japan for the reason of things being current that were [current] 1,000 years ago. It’s about the textures and things that are not perfect, but time has given them the patinas that cannot be duplicated.

Pick up GRAZIA USA’s March 2022 issue on newsstands and email [email protected] to subscribe.

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