Following the 1980’s advertising slogan “Never let them see you sweat”, interior designers work to make their projects look effortless; however, much effort goes on behind the scenes in advance of the ‘big reveal’. (We keep band-aids on hand in case of blood, there is always sweat, and sometimes even tears!)
Alchemists have existed in every major civilization—along with great artists and artisans— all engaged in an attempt to transform base metals into gold. Similarly, a good designer possesses a knowledge of elements that when amalgamated create magic in an interior. Two of my favorite elements are fine art and objects.
After a year getting my feet VERY wet as the President-Elect of the New York Metro Chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), I took the helm as the new President in October at a beautiful and well-attended party at the new Jonathan Adler showroom on 58th & Third Avenue. While my involvement with ASID […]
I first met Carl Dellatore three years ago this month; after having followed his blog for some time I’d asked him to visit with me at my office to talk about the work he was doing around developing content strategies. We’ve been working together ever since. At the time, in addition to working with designers and […]
I don’t recall when I first saw the interior design work of Melvin Dwork, it might have been in the 1970’s in Architectural Digest; his work had a big impact on me. I remember it to be current with both minimalist and ‘high-tech’ sensibilities, but it also included select antiques (and even some color) to […]
For creative people, inspiration can be found almost anywhere. At the Rhode Island School of Design all students are required to look at nature, not just a passing glance but to REALLY LOOK, to understand what is at work on a structural level. This is encouraged in a magical place now called the Edna Lawrence […]
As some in the design community already know, I’ve been the President elect of the New York Metro Chapter of ASID since October of last year. I’ll become the President later this year in October. But in the interest of raising the bar on activities within the organization I’ve been working with New York School […]
Hugo Crosthwaite, Mexico “Fire Cart” 2012 Pierogi, Brooklyn Each year I allocate at least one entire day to immerse myself in the wonders at The Armory Show and VOLTA art fairs where historically I am looking for works for my clients – or myself – however, this year the experience was purely for pleasure. I took […]
Image courtesy ArtHistoryProject.com I love the work of Giorgio Morandi. The Modern Pier at The Armory Show last week provided the opportunity to once again to see and experience a number of his paintings, many outstanding prints and his wonderfully abstract drawings at the Galleria d’Arte Maggiore booth. And at another booth were some spectacular photographs of […]
Last week my long time friend and sometime collaborator Donald Kaufman shared some of his knowledge about light, color, and materials to a nearly full house at the New York School of Interior Design. To set the tone for the evening’s discussion, Donald showed this legendary film clip from the 1948 movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream […]
The building known as VIA 57 West is nearing completion – a remarkable structure the likes of which New York City has never seen. Designed for the Durst Organization, it is the first project by the Danish architectural firm BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group in North America. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the […]
Selecting paint colors for a single room can be a real challenge, but can you imagine the process of selecting paint colors for the Met? One of the largest museums in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an estimated two million square feet of space (yes, that’s two million) – so there are a […]
The Winter Antiques Show in New York City is an extraordinary annual event, showcasing exemplary art and antique dealers and their wares. There are so many outstanding offerings to see, ogle and understand that it can can literally make one’s head spin! Louis Comfort Tiffany‘s more architectural chandeliers hold great appeal to me; this amazing example […]
I’m not sure about you, but I always seem to find myself doing my holiday gift shopping in the final days of December; maybe it’s a New York phenomenon, everyone finds themselves busy wrapping up the loose ends at work, between parties and social engagements. Finding the “perfect” gift for family and friends can be […]
Tuesday night it was ‘Dinner at Tiffany’s’ with Becky Birdwell and the Design Leadership Network! The experience was more like bring in a James Bond movie than a normal shopping experience on the floor of this legendary jewelry store…
I am certain that most people who work in interior design – either as designers themselves or as members of the press who chronicle our work — have a fondness for flowers, for flowers are as integral a part of an interior as furnishings and art. The color of flowers, the scale and silhouette, often […]
A remarkable ‘sconce’ at the Blackman Cruz showroom How is it that the Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC – AD 65) would know what a good idea it would be for me to go to the 10th Design Leadership Summit in Los Angeles when he said; . “Travel and change of place impart new […]
Recently we received a copy of a newly published book titled ‘Jonas: The Art of Fine Upholstery’ from our friends and long time collaborators at Jonas. The book, with a forward by Veranda editor Clinton Smith and introduction by the firm’s owners Steven Jonas and Charles Berlin, takes the reader through Jonas’ history, which is […]
Rosanne Somerson and others on stage at her RISD Inauguration Photo: Jo Sittenfeld / RISD Media RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) had much to celebrate with the inauguration of its 17th President this past week. Under an enormous tent near the school’s campus, hundreds of faculty, staff, friends, parents, dignitaries and alumni joyously celebrated. I […]
The New York Design Center, aka 200 Lex, hosted their seventh annual What’s NEW What’s NEXT last week – a building-wide Open House to give the countless showrooms the opportunity to show new product. An enormously successful and well-attended event that I went to early in the day to get a sneak preview. I found that […]
Mention Shelter Island and many New Yorkers will nod their heads and say they have heard of it, but haven’t really been, but boy are they missing out! About a two hour drive from the city to Greenport, Long Island followed by a short five minute ferry ride across the sound and Voila! — you’re in […]
The arts, in all their guises, have been a lifelong interest and passion of mine and inform my interior design projects. I carefully layer pieces from various time periods – often with classic furniture forms — to create spaces that are warm, supremely comfortable, with the aspiration they will transcend time. InCollect, a new and very […]
To kick-off the Summer I invited a bunch of friends over to my apartment in Brooklyn Heights for a mid-week party on my terrace with beverages and food. It was a perfect evening, and more than one guest showed up in seersucker!
I am fond of two different Bellinis – both Italian, both legends, and both created in the 1930’s. One Bellini is a drink invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice – a beverage that mixes Prosecco with peach nectar – the other Bellini, originally from Milan, is the architect and designer Mario Bellini. Bellini – Mario […]
. Even at the one-year-anniversary-of-my-still-very old-house in Connecticut I continue to gear-up with more gear. As you can see here, galvanized metal figures prominently in my weekends. Galvanized metal is an ‘old-school’ material, predating plastic, evoking ‘times gone by’ (and some of the products are still even made in America.) The photo was taken on […]
This distinctive modern house on Martha’s Vineyard was the second collaboration with my long-time friend Bob Miklos at Design Lab Architects for some long-time clients. (If you are in the market for a cool modern house on Martha’s Vineyard the house is currently for sale!) The interior images of this project have never been published – […]
A number of years ago I worked on an all-but-tear-down renovation in Rye, New York. This image shows the ‘house’ when the demolition of the existing house was nearly complete. Today my client sent me a number of unsolicited snap-shots of the property now that the plantings have matured and softened. It is deeply satisfying […]
. Stephen Antonson is well known among the design cognoscenti for his lean, elegant, chalky white plaster light fixtures and objects inspired by Isamu Noguchi, French 1940’s lighting, and Diego Giacometti . Initially inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s paintings of icebergs, it was five years ago that Antonson began collecting vintage images of icebergs – […]
I like social media. One of the primary reasons I like it so much is for the many very talented and interesting people I follow, individuals who provide a nearly endless stream of visual delights (I might be insatiable in that regard!) In what will become a series of posts entitled Inspiration in My Social Media […]
Photo credit: Paul Rocheleau . I know that I am not alone in thinking that the historic West Village is the best neighborhood in New York City! If you have ever wandered around in the West Village it is likely that you have walked right past one of my favorite houses in New York City – […]
Chances are if someone mentions ’42nd Street’ you will think Times Square. Unlike many New Yorkers, I really do like Times Square – not the tourists, not the shops, or the restaurants; I am not even a huge fan of big Broadway shows – I just LOVE the spectacle of the space, the lights, and the […]
Image courtesy nyc-architecture.com . This image is not war torn Europe after either of the World Wars. It is an image from 1965 of the demolition of the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City, designed by McKim Mead and White. And here is an image of the magnificent space that was lost….
Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch on inspiration: “Nothing is original…”
. Madeline Weinrib was focused on her painting career during the 1980’s and 90’s, and then in 1997 she created a line of contemporary area rugs for ABC Carpets as a means of expressing her painterly sensibilities into a woven medium. The rugs were a big success both commercially and with the design industry media; she […]
I have never been to the Himalayas, and was born after 1951; but I have been empowered numerous times in my adult life by a passage in the the writings of a Scotsman who did climb the Himalayas in that year. Perhaps it will have meaning for you too…..
In the vast sea of contemporary art shown at The Armory Show last week, by an impressive roster of international art dealers, Two Palms Press showed a spectacular series of brand-new and remarkably well-priced prints by New York artist Terry Winters (b.1949). With so much media attention on record shattering prices for artwork at auction it was refreshing […]
. Elegance – Quality – Beauty – Sophistication What’s not to like about Christopher Spitzmiller lamps?? . I am on a continuous search for distinctive lighting for all of my design projects, and tend to avoid manufactured lamps, with the exception of Christopher Spitzmiller. Crafted by hand and with heart, the lamps have been wonderful […]
I designed this Living Room 25 years ago, but this photos is from a year ago. After visiting my friends and former clients a couple of years ago I found that the project had held up, literally and figuratively, so I went in and shot new photos of an old project. The ‘story’ here […]
Donald Judd (1928-1994) Chair,1993 – Finish Color Plywood – RISD Museum . A double take is an act of quickly looking at something that is surprising or unusual a second time after looking at it a moment earlier. . The RISD Museum often focuses attention on a single object in an exciting program they […]
Caroline Hirsch is a woman with great personal style – a style that includes an enviable lifestyle. I have had the pleasure of creating two homes for her. She takes meticulous care of her homes, so much so that I jest that with five minutes notice I could arrive with cameras, lights and a few flowers […]
Selecting a bed can be complicated. Which mattress? Box spring? Headboard? Frame? Comforter? Bedcover? Coverlet? . There are seemingly endless possibilities when considering how to cover one’s bed. As seen in this image of my bed in Brooklyn Heights, I prefer a simple bed cover (or comforter) with an antique textile folded at the […]
Being a man of a certain age I like to see others ‘swimming in the water’ before I jump in. I am a pretty ‘late adopter’, I admit it. Out of curiosity I joined Facebook in 2008, but it wasn’t until the Fall of 2013 that I began to really focus my efforts and see what […]
. “I want to have my own business within five years”. That was my mantra when I moved to New York City in 1984. I had completed my studies in Art & Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Spring of that year, and with the enthusiasm and naivete of […]
I really like this image – it is anchored, balanced, and includes some treasured objects and artwork – but it represents much more. Five years ago, after many years together, my wife and I decided to separate; I needed to create a new home. I moved into what was a loft apartment with a layout that […]
Entertaining friends and family over during the holidays can be a joyful experience. Bringing a large evergreen tree inside, covering it with a bazillion lights and filling it with ornaments, helps to transform a home into a magical setting for entertaining – add a fire and everyone is truly transported!
. Wishing you happy holidays .
I LOVE books, especially inspiring books on design and design history! And I love to give books to friends, clients, family and my staff in the holiday season. My own library was started in earnest over 30 years ago – and now includes many books in my office, my apartment in Brooklyn Heights and at my […]
American homes are often filled to capacity with STUFF. We fill our closets, cupboards, attics, basements and garages with stuff – and sometimes rent a storage room (or two) such as a self storage facility in Perth for the ‘extra stuff’ that won’t fit in those other places. In the nearly three decades that I […]
Feeling a bit like Marco Polo, I joined in the DLS’s full day tour of the studios of ‘Brooklyn Makers’ organized by Wanted Design founders Claire Pijoulat & Odile Hainaut. While I had to keep checking a map to see where exactly we were, it was rewarding to meet and experience members of the rich creative community […]
Recently a friend from California made the comment “Brooklyn is the hippest place on earth.” And I thought, I live in Brooklyn. Well, actually Brooklyn Heights. But the truth is Brooklyn is enormous, and has countless distinct neighborhoods including a multitude of ethnic groups – and the entire range of the socioeconomic spectrum – as […]
The 2014 Design Leadership Summit started off with requisite cocktails and raconteur Fran Lebowitz in a conversation with Deborah Needleman – Editor-in-Chief of ‘T’, the New York Times Style Magazine. Lebowitz, as anticipated, was in full ‘Fran Lebowitz mode’ opining about the state of New York City “post–Bloomberg” and reminiscing, or rather bemoaning, the […]
Textile presentations are often given by ‘outside sales reps’; they can be useful, informative and fun. However when the person who designed and developed the textiles makes the presentation it is an entirely different experience. ENTER – Gretchen Bellinger!
Another great ‘neighbor’ in Litchfield County is Bantam Tileworks, the brainchild of Travis Messinger and Darin Ronning, who had previously been running a store in Lower Manhattan that was part coffee shop and part tableware store called Pepper Jones. One of the things they learned from that experience was how much they valued and enjoyed […]
Last week I talked about some great neighborly food shopping spots in Litchfield County – including a mention of Arethusa Farm for its incredible dairy products. But what I have come to learn is that Arethusa Farm is a major dairy operation that is owned owned and by the people who also own Manolo Blahnik – George […]
“Good fences make good neighbors” – Mending Wall, Robert Frost . While this saying has been integrated into the lexicon of contemporary culture, no one has addressed the question that logically follows: What then do FANTASTIC fences make? For me, the answer is just over the hill from my still-pretty-new-very-old-house in Litchfield County at Maple Bank […]
Portières were an essential element in homes of the high Aesthetic Movement of the 19th century, and have long been of interest to me. These curtains, hung in a doorway or over the doorless entrance to a room, add warmth and style. I have sought to find ways to utilize them in contemporary applications, and regularly […]
In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I want to share a bit about 15 of the distinctive and inspirational people I have met on-line (and some in person) who have helped to shaped my on-line life, and enriched my experiences on social media. I’ve included links to their Facebook profiles so you can follow them […]
What do you want to be when you grow up? At age 13, while in school in a very comfortable suburban midwestern community, my class was given an assignment on careers. I researched interior design; more specifically the kind of education that was required to work in that profession, and what the career choice might […]
In 1994 Chris Casson Madden asked me if she could photograph some of the bathrooms at the beachfront property I designed for Caroline Hirsch – there are 7-1/2 bathrooms in the house so she had a lot to choose from….
Van Day Truex (1904-79) may be the most significant interior designer that you have never heard. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Scott Himmel to learn about the offerings in the launch of Truex American Style, a very exciting new line of furniture inspired by Van Day Truex, and his illustrious friends and colleagues including Billy […]
This article in Art & Antiques focused on an apartment I shared with my wife and daughter in Greenwich Village, and the integration of an art and decorative arts collection in a family environment…
On a family vacation road trip in 1974 we drove our van down the Pacific Coast Highway – truly one of the most breathtaking routes in America – as it follows the Pacific Coastline. We started at the northern border of California where housing and other buildings were scant, and as we got closer to […]
One of my very first friends in NYC was a distinctive, sometimes kinda normal, but often offbeat guy named Jeff Fazio. Jeff was affable, fun, carefree and seemingly “knew everyone” after a decade of working in a variety of upscale designed focus retail stores. At the time of this project, Jeff was a buyer at […]
In the late 1980’s my then new client, Caroline Hirsch, was looking to purchase land on which to build a new Shingle Style home; she made a very wise decision to purchase 5 acres of property that fronts both the Atlantic Ocean, and Mecox Bay…
When the stars align magic can happen! I was hired by Caroline Hirsch, to work with her and her architect Francis Fleetwood on a new Shingle Style home on a five acre parcel situated on the Atlantic Ocean and Mecox Bay – a site beyond compare….
I have had a long love affair with Shelter Island – a place that many people in New York have never heard of; a place some have heard of, but they aren’t sure where it is; a place some have driven through. An even smaller number have been and stayed there! It’s an island between […]
Porter Teleo Wallpaper on the ceiling paired with a Charles Spada Rock Crystal Chandelier . “Ceilings must always be considered. They are the most neglected surface in a room”. -Albert Hadley . A few years ago, when I was in the beginning stages of a design for a townhouse in Greenwich Village, the sales […]
I’ve just begun spending weekends at my new very old house in Litchfield County; every day there is an adventure, often full of ‘firsts’. Recently I was told my property is connected to the Roxbury Land Trust – but really had little idea what that might mean. With one of my regular ‘partners-in-crime’ – my […]
Dressing Table – Leleu Maison Gerard has been a go-to resource for fine French Art Deco in Greenwich Village for forever…and as it turns out, in this case ‘forever‘ is 40 remarkable years! Gerard Widdershoven opened Maison Gerard in 1974 at a time when there was only one other gallery in New York City that specialized in […]
I love photography. And I love working with photographers to shoot images (can we still call them ‘pictures’ in the digital age?) of my design projects. I have had a long and fruitful collaborative working relationship with Steve Gross and Sue Daley, known as Gross & Daley, documenting completed, and more recently ‘in-process’ projects. A […]
…an old friend at the RISD Museum received a facelift… I had the good fortune to study architecture and fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD – pronounced ‘riz-dee’) – a small, very old school located in the smallest state in America. It was in 1877 that RISD, and the RISD Museum were created […]
When I went looking for an apartment in Brooklyn Heights a couple of years ago I did not have a terrace on my wish list; the apartment I found had a large terrace, however it was junky and rather sad… PARADISE ? !
On moving day, five guys and a 27 foot moving truck arrived in Connecticut at my new very old house with a lot of stuff! My friends Steve Gross & Sue Daley captured the spirit of the day in a short video; it is a little bit goofy, but take a look and enjoy some […]
I really enjoy projects that involve construction. From the very beginning of my career a significant amount of my work has involved alterations, major renovations, or entirely new construction. I find the process, the opportunities, and the challenges invigorating! In the case of a new loft near Lincoln Center I was able to see the […]
You may remember a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago about the refinishing of the floors in my new very old house in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The work is finished, and I am thrilled with the results…
Ai Weiwei is an artist. Born in 1957, he currently resides and works in Beijing. _________ This innocuous biography is all that is listed on the artist’s website, along with a simple link to a Wikipedia biography; however even the information on the 28 page Wikipedia does not fully describe the complex personal history and passions of […]
Interior designers are often asked for tips on how to handle issues of scale. Getting the scale and proportions right is often not obvious or necessarily easy; and the messages can be confusing. “Should you use large furniture in a small room, or smaller furniture?” “How large should pillows be on a sofa?” “I want to […]
Now that I have dealt with the floors at my house, my next task was to venture into what for me is uncharted territory – the big box world of HOME DEPOT! I need a lot of stuff and wanted to go see what the offering were – who knew HD was sooo big, and […]
WELCOME to LITCHFIELD COUNTY Make no mistake, I have no intention of becoming a ‘Litchfield County Gentleman Farmer’, however there is a delightful gang of baby goats and a bunch of chickens at the local (and locally owned) service station; a stop there to say hello to my new friends is one the first things […]
Don’t be fooled by the calm and serious look on my face, after dreaming, yearning and fantasizing about a ‘place in the country’ for nearly three decades I am now the (seriously) proud, totally excited and somewhat overwhelmed owner of an 1835 Greek Revival farmhouse in Litchfield County, Connecticut. I closed on this property last week.
Hang, 5 years old, attends boarding school in Bejing China I REALLY like printed matter! I am always on the lookout for books on interiors, photography, history, fashion, culture, art, architecture; places I have never been to, as well as ones I have. This seemingly insatiable pursuit over more than 30 years has resulted in my […]
While I do not think that we just experienced “the worst Winter ever!”, or the “longest Winter ever!” – I likely share this sentiment with others – ENOUGH ALREADY! And while I deeply love the infinite possibilities of interiors, I am very ready to get outside, and more importantly get out-of-town! There is a very […]
Some years ago I made a ‘design house-call’ to the apartment of an ambitious and very busy young man who lived at The Normandy, a 1938 Art Deco apartment building designed by the esteemed architects Emory Roth in 1938. The building is a full block long on Riverside Drive between 86th /87th Streets with almost every apartment […]
. The New York City subway system of 2014 can be a remarkably efficient way to get around the city; however even in recent history this was not necessarily the case. When I first visited New York City as a young adult in 1976 I stayed in Times Square with my brother and a bunch […]
Last week was an extremely busy week in New York City for fine art. Art galleries from all over the United States and the World came to a very broad range of art fairs showing the newest of the new, and the finest of the fine, and lots of things in between. Some of the fairs insist […]
Last week, Elizabeth Williams, the Curator of Decorative Arts & Design at the RISD Museum visited my design studio to look at a wide range of objects that I am now offering to her department at the Museum. Some five years ago I was invited to join the Board of the RISD Museum. As a […]
. “Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table” at the Metropolitan Museum is an exhibition that seeks to provide a view into the extensive history of the Dressing Table – from the Ancient to Modern, and a nod to today. In addition to sharing some images from and thoughts about the exhibition, I want […]
I have a friend named Rob. I don’t see him very often, but when I do it is always a real pleasure. He is a very upbeat person with a seemingly insatiable curiosity for delight in many of its guises – flavorful cheeses, distinctive food preparations, beverages of all sorts to accompany food, or to […]
“We have the Monkey Band!” A chance meeting of like-minds at the NYC Freize Art Fair in 2012 was the moment of inspiration for an idea that resulted in an extraordinary exhibition which opened last week at the RISD Museum – ‘Arlene Shechet : Meissen Recast’. The director of the RISD Museum and 2 of […]
Although my love affair with New York City started much earlier, I moved to NYC full-time in 1984. The city has changed a lot in those 30 years – some for the better and some, well, not for the better. That is the way of this city: always in motion and always changing. The stream […]
Photo credit Gross & Daley The initial telephone call inquired about my interest in working on a “home on a pond in Westchester”. It was many months later the prospective clients came into NYC to meet with me to talk about their project. As it turned out, while the site did overlook a pond, the pond […]
Here are 2 ways to start the New Year; Make a list of resolutions from a place of resignation, recognizing that you will likely fail at keeping. Or, INVENT the FUTURE!
When I was young Christmas was a very magical time! Even to gullible children, the idea of Santa Claus was kind of freaky, but hey, the guy brought gifts – a lot of gifts! What’s not to like?! And then overlay the birth of the baby Jesus, born to the Virgin Mary (what is a […]
Photo Credit The New York Times In an effort to help my daughter appreciate the opportunities in her life, I am forever seeking ways to educate her about the challenges that so many people, especially children, experience outside of her own privileged existence. Last week Andrea Elliott gave me and many other New Yorkers a reality check […]
Some media forecasters predict that in the ‘future’, while we will still have printed matter, it will increasingly be seen as luxury goods – especially books. For me, large format picture books have always been a luxury, a luxury that endures time. I purchased a lot of books in 2013, and since the gift giving season is […]
My internal gyroscope was working overtime from start to finish during the Design Leadership Summit in New York City, and for days after! The DLN met for their 8th annual Summit this year. It was an ambitious and densely filled two day agenda that left the 150+ attendees enriched, inspired, and with their heads spinning! […]
David Williams, American (Newport, Rhode Island), 1769-1823 Patent Timepiece ca. 1815-1820, Mahogany, pine, paint, glass, and brass Museum purchase; Bequest of Eliza Taft Attributed to workshop of John & Thomas Seymour, American, 1738-ca 1818 and 1771-1848 Lady’s Writing Desk, 1795-1800, Mahogany, pine, light & dark wood inlays, ivory, brass & enamel hardware, Estate of Martha […]
I have spent a good portion of my life learning about art, design, history, cultures both near and far, and seeking sublime and transformative experiences, and some 30 years practicing interior design in New York City. My approach to my design has been influenced by an extensive list of artists, architects and design colleagues, however, […]