Cocktails with Asli Tunca & Carl Vercauteren in Istanbul


Another treasure, and wonderful surprise, of the Veranda Istanbul Designer tour…a cocktail reception at Asli Tunca’s Showroom.

Asli Tunca was a fashion designer for 14 years before transitioning to interior and furniture design.  She and her husband, Carl Vercauteren, work and live out of the most amazing hidden home in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

I was absolutely in awe from the moment that we arrived.  This home was unlike anything I have ever seen. The envelope of the building itself served as the most wonderful foundation for antiques and original pieces of furniture designed by the couple.

I learned that the couple’s home was featured in the June 2008 “World of Interiors” Magazine, one of my favorites.  Of course, once I returned home I learned more about the couple and their incredible home.

Carl is a Belgian sculptor and metal sculptor, working as a decorator in Antwerp where the couple met when Asli had gone to fill a container with antiques to ship home.  Carl moved to Istanbul and they began the restoration of this home together.  Ah, the melding of Turkish and Belgian cultures…it all makes so much sense after seeing their work!

Their furniture line is Ottoman influenced.  The result is extremely artistic, edgy, and somehow minimal all at once.  What an inspiration!

I was absolutely enthralled by those metal screens installed in the middle of the room as a barrier.  Such an interesting selection of lighting spanning many different styles and eras.

VERY interesting new chair and prototype from their new line.  Beautiful leather club chair with an Asian dragon like creature that almost looks like a tattoo…

This painting reminds me of “Children of the Corn” with its goth feeling.  Upon closer inspection I see the Turkish influence…the background looks like Iznik tiles I saw in The Blue Mosque and it appears the boy is wearing an ornamented kaftan like the ones that I saw in Topkapi Palace.  I’m sure the artist is a fabulous Turkish contemporary, I wonder who?

Here is a view taken on the other side of the screen.  Here are some more gorgeous chairs from their line.

Downstairs from the entry floor is the basement that the couple restored.  According to the World of Interiors article it was full of water!  They removed some unnecessary columns and restored the look of the basement back to its medieval origins.

Now it is the couple’s favorite venue for dinner parties.  There is an interesting art installation in the middle…hanging plates of glass with water that drips and is lit exquisitely so that the droplets reflect on the stone floor.  Really, quite something.

Adjacent to this basement space, they found a room where Carl created a shell grotto with a Victorian brass shower from the original Medieval Cistern.

Now I MUST have my own shell grotto someday.  I’m obsessed!

Another stand out feature of this spectacular home is the curved central staircase.

Designed by Carl, it was handcrafted and took nearly a year!

The finish is just gorgeous.  It is a star, yet works harmoniously with all of the elements.

Upstairs are more private spaces for the family.  Here is a salon.  Terrific painting!

A parlor on an upper floor.  Interesting vignettes, textures, and lighting.

The library and office are a favorite of mine.  I’m so inspired by the pale pink paint backing the shelving.  With the neutral palette is make the books and objects glow.  Proof that pink is not too feminine.

The couple’s bedroom features this fantastic coral canopy bed.  An original and part of their furniture line.  I was intrigued by how the canopy bed was in the very center of the room, facing away from the door towards the fireplace and a gorgeous contemporary painting.

This writing desk was then place behind the canopy bed.  It is the first thing you see when you look from the door.  I really like the red stripe textile on the chairs and are those old dolls?   Ah, a designer after my own heart!
Behind that writing desk are these wonderful closet doors.  These large knobs in the center have been on my mind ever since!
Every level has outside terraces and balconies with views over the Bosphorus, Topkapi, Aya Sofia, and the Blue Mosque!  Asli Tunca here is on the left.
Here is a candid of Carl Vercauteren entertaining us.  The family’s darling terrier, George is in the scene at foot level.  He barked when we came and barked when we left.  It was as though he was saying hello and goodbye.
I’ll take this visit with me for some time.
For more information on Asli Tunca, professional photography, portfolio, and biographies visit http://www.aslitunca.com
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Filed under Cultural Icons, Sublime Interiors, Things I like, Travel treasures

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