Manhattan-based designer Nick Olsen could have opted for something more traditional when designing his two-bedroom 18th-century farmhouse. But why would he do that when his signature work is an eclectic conglomeration punctuated by jolts of color? For the property, Olsen used a combination of striking trompe-l’œil effects in the bedrooms. (If you’re not familiar, trompe-l’œil, the artistic technique popularized during the early Renaissance, translates from French to “fool the eye.” Think three-dimensional murals, furniture that blends with the walls, and other design choices that will leave visitors speechless. Simply chant amazing.)

Earlier this year, Olsen called advertisement for a photo shoot inside his home in Dutchess County, New York, which he saw as a great opportunity to be daring. “Because this is my home, I’ve been able to experiment with ideas that my decorating clients might not have,” says Olsen. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at Olsen’s property, and an exclusive look at his bold choices—and how you can replicate this cool technology in our home.

1. The wall art matches the bedding

Artist Chris Pearson painted the walls and ceiling of the master bedroom to complement the Jennifer Shortoe canvas bedspread.
Photo: Max Burkhalter

In his master bedroom, Olsen sought to incorporate American quilt motifs to pay homage to Gloria Vanderbilt’s patchwork bedroom, which Vogue magazine It was introduced in 1970. “Although I’m not usually a fan of digital prints, I was drawn to Jennifer Shortoe’s canvas because of its colors and I even had a throw made of it,” he explains. In general, Olsen leans toward the pillow-topped bed, but this time he backs away, saying, “Having the bed draped in this odd pattern was actually an exercise in self-control for me.” Olsen printed an image of his bedroom, which initially featured white walls, and sketched a checkered concept for the walls and ceilings before bringing in artist Chris Pearson. “Chris is a mathematical genius and he designed the design, so it’s as if the bed cover print has been applied to the walls with huge chunks of it erased,” Olsen explains. “It’s a bit like falling asleep in Tetris, and I love it!”

2. Integrate the floor design with the room

The tapestry-covered guest room’s walls and ceiling were painted by decorative artist Agustin Hurtado. Chris Pearson, a fellow artist, painted the floor to mimic the bed linen of Pierre Frey’s Serenades.
Photo: Max Burkhalter

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