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Seven Kids, Country House and a Bravo TV Show ■ Inside the World of Real Estate Staging

spring 2010

A Young Family’s Park Avenue Apartment Combines Luxury With Great Style and a Personal Touch

Family Style


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Everything Your Home Desires 75 antique and modern dealers in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Monday – Saturday, 10-5 pm, or choose online at Center44.com.

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Contents

An antique Biedermeier chest and muted colors bring a sensuality to Sandra Nunnerley’s bedroom in an East Side townhouse (p. 42).

52 A Family Affair

In a Park Avenue apartment that once belonged to Barbara Walters, a young family’s urbane taste creates a very contempory-looking classic. 60 Rustic Hideaway

Juan Montoya’s Dutchess County retreat encompasses 110 acres, lake included. 66 A Nest Grows in Brooklyn

Artist Patrick Dougherty searches for the perfect saplings and then weaves fantasy shelters. His arrival this summer at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will be greeted by much tweeting from both species. 72 Same but Different

Lusting after one of those glamorous Saarinen pedestal tables? Fear not. We show you how to live happily ever after with substitutes.

Seven children, six bikes at the Novogratz house in Great Barrington (p. 34).

FEATURES 34 Nine is Enough

Robert and Cortney Novogratz, along with their seven kids, have moved more than 15 times, renovating and flipping properties in the city. Their 100-year-old country farmhouse is a keeper, though. For this modish bird feeder from MoMA and bench from Room and Board in Soho, see pages 10 and 12.

42 Art and Commerce

Sandra Nunnerley, a onetime art dealer– turned–decorator, brings her connoisseur’s eye to an Upper East Side townhouse. 48 Small is Beautiful

Russell Bush has lived in a tiny, one-bedroom, prewar apartment for more than 30 years. The size hasn’t stopped him from collecting all of his favorite things. Cover photograph by Tim Street-Porter

4

the home observer spring 2010


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Architecture outlier Zaha Hadid with designer Karl Lagerfeld.

in the shops 10 Decked Out

This season’s fresh crop of outdoor furnishings. By Marianne Rohrlich Collecting 14 Staged, Startled and Photographed

A selection of current photo gallery shows, including edgy newby Hasted Hunt in Chelsea. By Alex Taylor real estate 18 When All the World’s Real Estate Is Staged

Not content to ask clients to use their imaginations when viewing their empty new buildings, developers employ professionals to create super-model apartments. By Chloe Malle. 22 The Mighty Starchitects

A brief history, including some pointed hobnobbing with the A-listers. By Tim Street-Porter 23 My Life With the Power Brokers

The highs and lows of a beat reporter following the stratospheric Manhattan market. By Max Abelson on the shelves 24 Zaha’s Aha! Moments

A review of Zaha Hadid Complete Works. By Chloe Malle 28 A Feast of All Things Ponti

A newly repackaged book on the design legend. By Tim Street-Porter 32 A Clearing in the Woods

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A photo-driven book on 25 contemporary gardens. By Nancy Butkus in the neighborhood 80 Mucho Musto

The dean of downtown nightlife lives—who would have guessed?—in Murry Hill. By Annie Kelly

the home observer spring 2010


INSTANT APPEAL

Iconic images by the 20th century’s most talented artists Those in search of works by the 20th century’s foremost talents need look no further than our April sale of Prints & Multiples, where you can find masterpieces for your home with estimates starting at $1,000. Look for eye-catching works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, George Bellows and Martin Lewis, whose spontaneous moments of daily life in New York City offer a nostalgic look at a bygone era.

Prints & Multiples APRIL 26–27 Viewing: April 23–25 Inquiries: +1 212 636 2290

left: LOT 10 Martin Lewis Subway Steps (M. 90) drypoint, 1930 $18,000–25,000

right: LOT 12 Martin Lewis Two A.M. (M. 101) drypoint, 1932 $10,000–15,000

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NY Observer:Home Observer - Spring 2010

3/11/10

10:21 AM

Page 1

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editorial Director Nancy Butkus Editors annie kelly and tim street-porter art director BARBARA SULLIVAN production director Tyler Rush contributors max abelson Chloe Malle Joshua Mchugh Marianne Rohrlich Alex Taylor Sara vilkomerson Photo editor peter lettre Copy editor Chris cronis

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Publisher Jared Kushner editor, the New york observer kyle pope President, Observer Media Group Christopher Barnes Senior Vice President Stephen Goldberg Executive Vice President Barry Lewis

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We’ve happily added some new contributors to this issue. Marianne Rohrlich, of New York Times Personal Shopper fame, scouted the city for colorful outdoor furnishings (pp. 10, 12). Alex Taylor, contributor to ARTnews, checked out the new photography show at cutting-edge Chelsea gallery Hasted Hunt (pp. 14, 16). Observer culture editor Sara Vilkomerson interviewed Cortney Novogratz, mother of seven, about their family retreat in Great Barrington and their new Bravo show (p. 34). Chloe Malle, Observer residential real estate reporter, navigated the world of staging for condo developers (pp. 18, 20), and another reporter down the hall, Max Abelson, reminiced about his days with a special New York breed—high-end realtors (p. 23). Finally, the intrepid husband-andwife duo, Tim Street-Porter and Annie Kelly, took us uptown and down, uncovering many dream apartments. Their new book, Rooms to Inspire in the City (Rizzoli), is due out this month.

the home observer spring 2010


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in the shops Modern Wing

A folding bird feeder of white painted steel is $50 at MoMA. Momastore.org, 800-851-4509; 81 Spring Street (at Crosby Street), or 44 West 53rd Street.

Faux Fleurs A 10-inch square patch of fake green grass, with or without flowers, is $20 at CITE. Citenyc.com, 866-764-0888; 131 Greene Street (at Houston Street).

Decked Out With longer days and warmer nights, the desire to stay outside can be downright overwhelming, just like when we were kids, ignoring our mother’s call to come home. The new crop of colorful furnishings for outdoor living provides the perfect excuse to stay out after dark, light up the barbecue and check out the night sky. by marianne rohrlich

Shine a Little Light

Solig, a set of three 2-inch-wide, battery-operated LED lights are $2.99 (they shine for about 90 hours and are not rechargeable) at Ikea stores. Ikea.com or call 800-4344532 for store locations.

Perch

The Shadowy Chair by Tord Boontje is made in Senegal of ­woven nylon cord on a steel frame and goes for $2,898 at Anthropologie. Anthropologie.com or call 800309-2500 for store locations.

Plated and Popped

Sorrento, Melamine dinner plates in a choice of four colors are $5.95 each or $19.95 for a set of four at Crate & Barrel. Crate­ andbarrel.com or call 800-9676696 for store locations.

10

At Your Service

Garcon, a rolling cart with two removable serving trays, is $69.95 at CB2. Cb2.com or call 800-606-6252; 451 Broad­ way (at Broome Street).

the home observer spring 2010


in the shops A Seussical Pot

Sky pots hold plants upside down and have an internal reservoir for selfwatering. In three sizes: small, $55; medium, $75; and large, $95. At Flora N.Y. Florany.com or call 212-274-1887; 85 Franklin Street (at Church Street).

Baby Bar-B

Bodum’s 15-inch barbecue grill is $55 at Mxyplyzyk. Mxyplyzyk.com or call 800243-9810; 125 Greenwich Avenue (at 13th Street) or 10 Columbus Circle (Time Warner Center).

Sunshine

A string of eight solar-powered LED globe lights will stay lit for about nine hours when fully charged; $19.99 at Ikea stores. ikea.com or call 800-434-4532 for locations.

Red, Rustic and Recycled

Emmet, a modern version of a rustic-style sofa, made of recycled plastic, is $649 at Room & Board. Roomandboard. com or call 800-301-9720; 105 Wooster Street (at Spring Street).

By the Yard, Olé

Outdoor fabric inspired by Mexican textiles is $54-$136 a yard, from Sina Pearson. Sinapearson.com or call 212-366-1146; 150 Varick Street (at Spring Street).

Salad Days

A large plastic bowl shaped like a lettuce leaf is $9.99 (a small one is $4.99) at Tarzian West. Tarzian-west.com or call 718-788-4213; 194 ­Seventh Avenue (at Second Street) Brooklyn. 12

the home observer spring 2010


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collecting

Staged, Startled and Photographed by Alex Taylor Contemporary photography is moving so fast that it’s easy to forget that the medium, invented in the late 1830s, is still in its youth. Has it really only been 170 years? It seems longer. This is partly because mass culture and art culture are saturated with images, and because technological tricks like Photoshop continue to crush painting in terms of formal inventiveness and fictive manipulation. More changes are on the way, as digital replaces film and further alters the meaning of the medium, which used to mean a kind of documentary “truth” but no longer does. This is creating all sorts of impossible philosophical problems for artists, curators and the public to think about. In the meantime, the gallery Hasted Hunt Kraeutler in Chelsea organized “Great Photographs of the 20th century: Staged and Startled,” a

small, handsome show of work by eminences including Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helen Levitt, William Eggleston, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. The show runs until May 1. All the photographers in the exhibition are

well known, and about half have received lavish retrospective treatment in New York in recent years. Robert Frank, fresh off last fall’s triumph at the Met, is represented by two images from The Americans, his traveling, late-’50s dispatch from the American Empire of Solitude. And yet it’s Avedon, forever gracious, who comes across as the superbly adept figure of the last half of the past century. His portraits of power and beauty types combine courtly manners with an almost interrogatory formal candor derived from his use of silver backdrops and sets. Attention from Avedon equals eminence, even if the subject was as slickly exotic as the German actress Nastassja Kinski posed with a happy-to-see-her boa constrictor. The photo, Nastassja Kinski and the serpent, Los Angeles, California (1981), originally ran in Vogue and has been included in the

Still startling after all these years: Richard Avedon’s

Nastassja Kinski and the serpent (1981); and above, Joel Sternfeld’s

McLean, Virginia,

Courtesy HASTED HUNT KRAEUTLER/NYC.

December 4, 1978.

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the home observer spring 2010


38 Annual th

2010

Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House, originally scheduled for April 30 - May 28, has been postponed until Fall 2010. Please check www.kipsbay.org for updates on the revised schedule. Thank you for your continued support of this time-honored tradition and important fundraiser. The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House raises critical funds for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which provides much needed afterschool and enrichment programs for 13,000 children throughout the Bronx. Sponsored by:


collecting

On the Watch List

“Staged and Started” as a glossy, plus-size print. Also included in the show are a series of contrastable works by Eggleston and Friedlander, both masters whose subject may be fairly termed the nova of everyday but of wildly different temperaments. Eggleston is a Southern bred raconteur in love with the lush, dye-transfer color. Friedlander is a rigorous formalist (he works in black and white) who works with a swiveled rhythm and hipster humor. In New York City (1966), the artist appears, as a hovering shadow, on the back of a woman’s coat. A photograph by Friedlander of, say, a dense street scene, rarely gives itself up for first impressions. Come to think of it, neither does life. Most of the works in “Staged and Startled” fall within the documentary tradition of photography. An exception is a photograph of the celebrity couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt by Steven Klein, the newest in the show. Titled Case Study #13 no. 18 (2005), the photo recycles Bonnie and Clyde–style glamour—Pitt points a handgun; Jolie bares a tattooed arm and mugs for the camera—in a strippeddown, blank setting that may either be a cheap motel suite or, more likely, a set for a shoot. It’s anyone’s guess. This is photography surrounded by invisible quotation marks—a distinctly 21st-century picture coming out of the image glut and indistinct memories. Haven’t we seen this before? Haven’t we seen everything before? That is one of those questions photography will have to answer as it heads into a unnerving new decade. “Great Photographs of the 20th Century: Staged and Startled” continues through May 1 at the Hasted Hunt Kraeutler, 537 W. 24th St., Chelsea, 212-627-0006, hastedhuntkraeutler.com. 16

Ryan McGinley at Team Gallery When the book is written on the youth craze in contemporary art, the 32-year-old McGinley may well merit a chapter. (His friend, the artist Dash Snow, who died last summer at the age of 27, merits a chapter, too, albeit a cautionary one.) Since his debut at the Whitney Museum seven years ago, with photos of young downtown types caught in exquisite states of stupidity, McGinley has had a much-in-demand career as the chief lifestyle photographer of youth. Since then he’s shot assignments for Vice and The Times. This latest show, of black-and-white nudes, stretches his range. It will be interesting to see how McGinley develops from here. “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” continues through April 17 at Team Gallery, 83 Grand Street, Soho, 212-29-9219, teamgal.com. JoAnn Verburg at Pace/MacGill In 2007-2008, Verburg had a mid-career survey at MoMA and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis that covered a career that’s moved from early, conceptually under documentary images of the American West to immersive, multipaneled triptychs of Mediterranean olive trees. Her recent work from the ancient Italian hill town of Spoleto is among her best. Her multilayered photos of the city capture it’s narrow streets, angled alleyways and classically decrepit stucco fronts. These images are, on the surface, materially minded. They tell a deeper story about the time lapsing and the movement of time, as do portraits of certain Spoleto citizens. “Interruptions” continues through May 1 at Pace MacGill, 32 East 57th Street, ninth floor, midtown, 212-759-7999, pacemacgill.com. —A.T.

the home observer spring 2010

Courtesy HASTED HUNT KRAEUTLER/NYC; Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Courtesy Team Gallery and Ryan McGinley; Ledge, 2009: Copyright JoAnn Verburg, Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Lisette Model’a Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, 1940-46.

James Welling at David Zwirner For this show, Welling’s fifth at the gallery, the artist has trained his camera on to Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House, that swank suburban hideaway home of postwar architecture in New Canaan, Conn. Departing from some of his more doggedly experimental procedures, Welling photographed the building and it’s surrounding 47-acre compound with a series of color filters between the lenses. The resulting series achieve luminous, almost psychedelic affects as Welling captures the building at morning daybreak and its radiant reflection. These pictures are so sublimely beautiful that they become a little useless, too. Come to think of it: Wasn’t that the idea behind Johnson’s design? “Glass House” continues through April 24 at David Zwirner, 525 West 19th Street, Chelsea, 212-727-2070, davidzwirner.com.


220 East 60th Street bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves. • Please join us for an art preview and cocktail reception on April 21 & 22, 2010 • 5-9 pm


real estate

When All the World’s Real Estate Is Staged

Robin Standefer, one-half of Roman and Williams, shopped for all the furniture and objects for the 211 Elizabeth Street apartment herself, explaining, “There is a certain spontaneity to it; the place got very layered.” Fresh flowers and expensive hand soap mark the Calcatta Gold marble bathrooms as lived in.

18

By Chloe Malle Model, or “staged,” apartments are no new addition to the world of luxury real estate marketing. The artfully staged apartment is a furniture-laden showcase providing prospective buyers the ability to imagine actually living in the space their broker hopes they will decide to call home. Corcoran agent Leslie Marshall, who handles sales at Third + Bond, a new development that contains one of the model apartments shown on these pages, with interiors “curated” by Pratt students and faculty, told The Observer: “People have a difficult time imagining living in a space if it is just empty, bare rooms. They wonder, ‘Is this room big enough for a dining table?’ Or, ‘Could a kingsize bed fit in the master bedroom?’ The model apartment answers those questions for them. It helps people envision themselves there.”

But as the nuances and complexities of residential real estate development continue to multiply like bacteria in a Petri dish, the motivation behind model apartments varies per project. Five Thirty-five West End Avenue employed a collaborative (or competitive, depending on how you look at it) approach to its model apartments: Each one of 15 high-end interior designers were assigned the task of decorating one room. The completion of the designs were celebrated with a charity gala, and the finished spaces were on display for a month. Designer Inson Wood, who decorated one the largest spaces, told The Observer: “We had up to 200 people a day, every day. It was so popular! It’s a great way of getting press for the building.” At 211 Elizabeth Street, the bespoke, historically conscious apartment building in Nolita, archithe home observer spring 2010


NIKKI FIELD

REPRESENTING MANHATTAN’S P R E M I E R P RO P E RT I E S

The Field Team Nikki Field, Senior Vice President, Associate Broker, 212.606.7669 Kevin B. Brown, Senior Vice President, Associate Broker, 212.606.7748 Helen Marcos, Associate Broker, 212.606.7747 Jeanne H. Bucknam, Associate Broker, 212.606.7717 Zoe Haydock, Sales Associate, 212.606.7727 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL* 2008 Real Estate Professionals: Top 100 Agents in America Top 10 Agents in New York

The United Nations Plaza Collection Riverfront Living

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14 ROOMS: $4,995,000

7 ROOM DUPLEX: $4,500,000

7 ROOM DUPLEX: $4,000,000

5 ROOMS: $1,800,000

EAST SIDE MANHATTAN BROKERAGE I sothebyshomes.com/nyc 38 EAST 61ST STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10065 NIKKI FIELD SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATE BROKER I T 212.606.7669 I NIKKIFIELD.COM Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. is Owned and Operated by NRT LLC *As featured in the annual ranking by REAL Trends Magazine, sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and lore Magazine


real estate

Inson Wood, one of the interior designers at 535 WEA, “tried to take it [the design] very personally.” The walls are treated with a fivelayer strie glaze, and the pricey art is on loan.

tects Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman and Williams were asked by the developers to design a model apartment in the building with themselves as the envisioned inhabitants. The finished product featured black, hand-lacquered walnut cabinets, replete with Italian tomato sauce and a tall bottle of San Pellegrino stowed inside, and luxurious area rugs drawing attention to the walnut-herringbone parquet floors. Ms. Stadefer confessed to The Observer: “Steven and I are not that fond of model apartments. They always seem extremely generic with very little character.” So the dynamic design-duo—whose other credits include the Standard and Ace hotels­ —insisted on one condition. “We told them, ‘We need you to let us make this a very real home as opposed to a home/sales office.’ So we embarked on it and really thought of it with ourselves as the owners. We used ourselves as the benchmark, which is really something that every designer does to a certain extent.” 20

At Third and Bond, the model apartments provide Pratt students with the opportunity to display their own ecofriendly designs, such as the dual-height bench from David Zachary featured here.

the home observer spring 2010


Local Experts Worldw ide

MANHATTAN PROPERTIES

PIERRE HOTEL: Entire tower floor in triple mint condition. 11 rooms with 3 bedrooms, 5,000± sq ft. Spectacular views in all directions. $25,000,000. WEB: NYO0016598. Roger Erickson, 212.606.7612

485 PARK AVENUE: Luxurious 11-room, full-floor

MODERN DUPLEX PENTHOUSE: Union Sq. Extensive

coop. High floor. Large bright rooms with high ceilings, balcony terrace. $12,000,000. WEB: NYO0017028. Brucie Boalt, 212.606.7702

panoramic views with 3,000± sq. ft. terrace. 3-bedroom, 3-bath condo. $7,995,000. WEB: NYO0016890. Eric Malley 212.606.7625

240 EAST 47TH STREET: Extensively renovated 3,600±

980 FIFTH AVENUE: Exceptionally large 6-room on the 20th floor with 2,700± sq ft. Stunning Central Park and open sunny views. $4,495,000. WEB: NYO0016979. Austin Schuster, 212.606.7797

HAMPSHIRE HOUSE GLAMOUR: CPS. Triple mint

sq ft condo. Superb floor plan. 5 bedrooms, 41⁄2 baths, amazing views, high-end amenities. $5,100,000. WEB: NYO0015951. Margaret Cohn, 212.606.7680.

29 EAST 64TH STREET: Traditional 6-room pre-war

THE PIERRE: Fifth Avenue. Landmark, high-floor 2-bed-

EAST 80S PENTHOUSE: Enjoy the Manhattan skyline

co-op with beautiful renovations. High ceilings, open views. $3,700,000. WEB: NYO0017039. Jeanne Bucknam, 212.606.7717, Nikki Field, 212.606.7669

room, 2-bath. Best deal in Pierre. Natural light from 3 exposures. $2,200,000. WEB: NYO0016003. Lois Nasser, 212.606.7706, Chris Rounick, 212.606.7643

from a wrap-around terrace in a 6-room post-war co-op. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. $2,195,000. WEB: NYO0015964. Fred Williams, 212.606.7737

RITZ CARLTON RESIDENCE: 26th floor, 2-bedroom,

430 EAST 57TH STREET: Classic pre-war building on

125 EAST 74TH STREET: Impeccable 4-room pre-war

21⁄2-bath corner condo with views. $1,795,000. WEB: NYO0016955. Roger Erickson, 212.606.7612, Reg Fairchild, 212.606.7771

Sutton Place. Sun-filled 4-room with fireplace, southern views. $1,325,000. WEB: NYO0016602. Stan Ponte, 212.606.4109, Robin Reardon, 212.606.4118

co-op with high ceilings, arched entry-way, original architectural details. $1,595,000 WEB: NYO0017019 Roberta Golubock, 212.606.7704

3-bedroom, 31⁄2-bath with sweeping city views in a prewar co-op. $4,290,000. WEB: NYO0016917. Allison Koffman, 212.606.7688, Juliette Janssens, 212.606.7670

MANHATTAN BROKERAGES I sothebyshomes.com/nyc EAST SIDE 38 EAST 61ST STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10065 T 212.606.7660 F 212.606.7661 DOWNTOWN 379 WEST BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10012 T 212.431.2440 F 212.431.2441 Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. is owned and operated by NRT LLC. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark. Farm of Jas de Bouffan, used with permission.


real estate

The Mighty Starchitects

22

Jean Nouvel conquers New York. Below: Frank Gehry addresses the faithful.

I asked a very dignified James Stirling, a senior British A-lister if he ever signed autographs. “I don’t do those”, was his pointed reply. seen on Curbed NY’s post (including the New Museum in the Bowery, whose architects, Sanaa, are this year’s Pritzker Prize winners), not to mention myriad projects that tragically never made it to fruition, thanks to the credit crunch (including brilliant high-rises by Calatrava and Herzog & Meuron). New York is now a proud patron of the new architecture; radical buildings by A-list designers are now commonplace in the Big Apple. This is so welcome. Recent architecture, hitherto the dull background of our environmental consciousness, can now be as hip and sophisticated as the contents of art galleries and store window displays, the ads on billboards and the sartorial gestures of fashionable pedestrians. And an antidote to the soullessness of so much of our surroundings, like the row of Trump Palaces that line an interminable stretch of the upper West Side Highway.  “Starchitects,” though? Isn’t this a vulgar way to talk

about successful protagonists of the “Mother of the Arts,” as architecture was traditionally described? Well, yes. There was more politesse in the Renaissance, or whenever that phrase was coined. But they didn’t have dental care then, and the word “hip” didn’t exist, so I’m happy living in today’s world, putting up as gracefully as possible with today’s tabloid-isms. There are some who really do get upset, though, and one of them is Frank Gehry. As reported in Curbed NY, when asked in an interview with the London Independent newspaper if he was a starchitect, he replied, “I don’t know who invented that f*****g word starchitect. I am not a star-chitect. I’m an architect!”  Well, perhaps, but Frank has not always been shy of courting his legend. During the earlier days of his A-list status, while he exhibited models of his Disney Concert Hall at the Venice Biennale, I witnessed him outside the U.S. pavilion, autographing programs for a line of fans stretching around the entire building, then posing at a window from the inside as more fans outside took his photo. I also remember hanging out with Suzanne Stephens, the distinguished Progressive Architecture editor who, during the early ’80s, had championed the fledgling careers of the New York Seven, a group of young architects, many of whom—including Gehry—are now A-listers. She could barely get the time of day from all the starchitects wafting grandly around the receptions with their entourages. As a footnote, I asked a very dignified James Stirling, a senior British A-lister, if he ever signed autographs. “I don’t do those,” was his pointed reply. the home observer spring 2010

Tim Street-Porter; getty images

By Tim Street-Porter “Starchitects Conquer New York” is the title of a recent, well-researched blog post on Curbed NY’s Web site. (For the uninitiated: This is an indispensable source for architecture and real estate news and gossip.) The piece’s New York Post–style heading spells out the state of play between the city’s major developers and the architectural community. Not all architects are nerdy like Steve Martin’s stereotypical character in It’s Complicated. They can be glamorous! Well, a few anyway. Fortune only knocks on the door of a chosen few: those with talent to spare, huge entrepreneurial skills and the right connections. However, the purpose of this excellent blog was to show us that New York is finally getting some exciting new buildings after decades of mediocrity. In the three decades leading up to the present century, important new architecture was created in most places (London, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and so on), but not in New York. (On a walking tour around midtown 10 years ago with Herbert Muschamp, the late architecture critic of The New York Times, we passed Eero Saarinen’s CBS building and agreed that it was the city’s last decent skyscraper; it was built in 1965.) Then, as the new century dawned, New York’s property developers finally discovered that putting big-name, Pritzker Prize–winning designers on the marquee gave a cachet to your next co-op project, as had already proved to be the case in Europe. Good for business, in other words. In the blink of an eye, the international A-listers—Renzo Piano, Felix Calatrava, Jean Nouvel, Sir Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Herzog and Meuron, et al.—were all to be seen disembarking at Kennedy, brandishing plans. The results of this enlightened business activity can be


New York Observer:Home Observer - Spring

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ast November, after three years of writing about magnificently overpriced New York residential real estate, I moved to the Wall Street beat. It is sober and civilized by comparison. What I feel nostalgic for isn’t the real estate itself. Even though it’s fun to visit cosmic Manhattan homes­—like the hand-built third floor of the Plaza, the $34 million penthouse at 1020 Fifth Avenue or Brooke Astor’s Park Avenue duplex—I only went when they were on the market. So they tended to be hollowed, or staged with fake furniture, and sometimes entirely empty. It was very kingly but slightly sad. What I miss much more are the real estate brokers themselves, especially the few at the top. They were eloquent, acrobatic, cruel, connected, imaginative, well bred and ill-mannered, sometimes all in the same afternoon. There were all kinds. Kirk Henckels was a good-natured equestrian who always wore a bow tie. Carrie Chiang was a competitive ballroom dancer. John Burger liked talking on the phone about the subtleties of Park Avenue co-op design, even if he was poolside in the Hamptons. Dolly Lenz was the genius power broker who explained over lunch at the Four Seasons that she doesn’t have tirades; she just cuts people out of her life. After I wrote a story that described how the recession had made her into a mere mortal, she stopped talking to me. A. Laurance Kaiser IV, whose father died after leaving his Park Avenue club and stepping into a pothole, sold a single duplex at 834 Fifth Avenue four times—first for $225,000; then to John DeLorean; then to Reginald Lewis, the first African-American allowed into a so-called Good Building; then to Carl Icahn’s old chief investor, who paid $33,444,500. “They lie, the brokers—they lie to brokers, they lie to clients. There’s lying. Lying,” Linda Stein, probably the first New York celebrity real estate agent, told me in the spring of 2007. “There is no high except the money, which is extremely taxable.” She was found murdered by her assistant that October. And Edward Lee Cave was the pristinely genteel agent whose eponymous brokerage was taken over last year by Brown Harris Stevens. “When I first started, all the doormen had white gloves,” he sighed then. “And they don’t anymore. It’s called change.” —Max Abelson

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on the shelves

Zaha’s Aha! Moments

Above: Plans for the London Aquatic Centre for the London 2012 Olympic games. Left: Hadid with designer Karl Lagerfeld. In collaboration with Patrik Schumacher: below left, Icone Bag (Louis Vuitton), and below right, Melissa shoe.

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Zaha Hadid Complete Works by Zaha Hadid Rizzoli, $50

By Chloe Malle “Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase is Zaha Hadid’s grandmother.” So declares Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, and author of the recently released edition of the acclaimed Anglo-Iraqi architect complete works. Like Duchamp’s Nude, Hadid’s work is collage-like, planar, multi-faceted—and so is this book; a complex layering of plans, photos and ideas, often one indiscernible from the other. As renowned for her unbuilt designs as for her built ones, this sharp-cornered coffee table tome makes little distinction between the two, seamlessly—and confusingly—weaving between the built and the abstract. While organized chronologically by project with Hadid’s formulaic descriptions of each project, this is not a handheld tour through the architect’s work, but rather a montage of what inspired it and what it, in turn, inspired. With photographs of the models—or, gasp, finished buildings—the exception to the rule, the book is more a collection of abstract paintings and drawings than traditional blueprints and architect renderings. Her paintings and drawings are angular, postimpressionist works with deftly woven architectural tilts. Her drawings imagine the aftermath of the explosion—or implosion—of a modernist Utopia where only fragments remain; mobile, definitive, the only narrative today’s urbanism can provide. Her drawing titled New York, Manhattan: A New Calligraphy of Plan is a somber take on Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie, this one with large swatches of black space and curled, diagonal lines creeping through. Flipping through the pages of abstracted paintings and Futurist renderings, one thing becomes clear: Zaha Hadid builds flows motion. In fact, perhaps in deference to this, the entire volume seems to be in flux, a compendium of dynamics and motion. Even the Walter Benjamin quotation about the invention of film changing the very nature of time that prefaces Betsky’s introduction is in sharp italics, zealously pushing the eye to the next page before we have the home observer spring 2010


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Hadid’s imagining for a new urban planning scheme for London’s Trafalger Square.

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finished with this one. But Hadid’s secret weapon is the deliberateness of this flux. This is not diaphanous, curling movement, this is specific, staccato and determined. As Betsky lyrically notes of her structures, “There are now shards and planes that slice through the landscape to open up a space we did know could exist.” Ms. Hadid is architecture’s defiant dowager empress. Most renowned for her Vitra Fire Station in Germany and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, she was the first woman to win architecture’s premier Pritzker Prize in 2004, predating Kathryn Bigelow syndrome by six years. The Contemporary Arts Center is certainly the most accessible of Hadid’s designs (likely one of the reasons it, unlike so many others, actually got built). Included in this latest edition are designs for her most recent commissions, the GuggenheimHermitage Museum in Lithuania and the Aquatics Center for the 2012 London Olympic Games, as well as examples of the architect’s forays into interior design, fashion and even automobiles. The plans for the London Aquatic Center are sinuous and spectacular, a hovering blue whale over London’s gray skyline, and her object design, near the back of the volume, is combative and almost frightening. Her black, asymmetrical jelly shoes are best suited as beach footwear for the Witches of Eastwick. And the interior design items—lacquered white amoebas molded into space age settees and carpet designs resembling a Kandinsky painting on acid—wouldn’t be my choice for the living room. Zaha Hadid: Complete Works is not for the faint of heart. There’ll be no absent-minded coffee table flip-throughs with this one. As in all spheres of her work, Hadid demands more. the home observer spring 2010


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on the shelves

Above: Ponti sketching at an improvised desk on a construction site.

Gio Ponti’s own apartment in Milan. Below: On the book’s cover, Ponti is peering through one of his mass-produced 1950s “Superleggera” chairs.

A Feast of All Thing Ponti

Gio Ponti by Ugo La Pietra Rizzoli, $85 28

By Tim Street-Porter Giovanni “Gio” Ponti was one of the great 20th-century design luminaries; his career, based in Milan—the epicenter of Italy’s design community—successfully embraced publishing, teaching and the industrial and visual arts. The 400-page Gio Ponti, published by Rizzoli, is a newly revised version of  the monograph published in Italy in 1988, a time when the great man had become a neglected figure following his death, in 1979. Perhaps he had been taken for granted for too long, as

the focus of attention diverted to entrepreneurial figures such as Ettore Sottsass, whose attention-grabbing range of Memphis furniture, launched in 1981, was dominating the headlines.  The arrival of the Ponti monograph restored luster to a much-loved design maestro whose career spanned more than 50 years of  productive brilliance. This newly repackaged (but not redesigned) version of Gio Ponti has the same catalog-like feel as the 1988 original, and feels a little dated in its production values. There are the home observer spring 2010


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He created costumes for La Scala opera and designed his own clothes, even appearing on Italian best-dressed lists. He was a prolific product designer, and drew an automobile for Alfa Romeo. just two full-bleed, whole-page illustrations, for example. Nonetheless it is packed with invaluable images of his products, drawing and paintings: a feast of all things Ponti. To fully enjoy this wonderful designer, however, I would suggest adding Taschen’s stylish $9.99 Ponti to the shopping cart as a companion volume. With one of Ponti’s signature ’50s interiors on the cover, and a sophisticated explanatory text, this diminutive soft back is a perfect Ponti amuse-bouche. Importantly, it includes recently taken color photographs of the terminally chic ’50s villas in Caracas (Oscar Neimeyer was an inspiration here) and the brilliant 1960s Parco dei Principe hotels in Rome and Sorrento; the big volume feels bereft without these key images. This brave little book will hook you on Ponti, leaving you ready to tackle the serious heft (and riches) of its companion. (Finally, check out the new Triennale NYC Museum at 40 53rd Street, the site of the old American Craft Museum, whose opening show in May is on Gio Ponti.) Even if had Ponti been an architect and nothing more, his place in history would have been secured with his 1956 Pirelli Building in Milan, one of the most rational and elegant skyscrapers ever designed, of which Ponti himself said, “Nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away.” However, as we learn in Gio Ponti, this was just one of his many hats in a career spanning more than 50 years. Editor Ugo La Pietra provides an introduction and lead-ins to the chapters (arranged by decade), and there are essays by Italian design luminaries, as well as text by Ponti himself. It opens with the 1920s, notable for Ponti’s early success as head designer of ceramics for Richard-Ginori, an episode that won him the grand prix at the Paris “Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in 1925. Also notable in the ’20s chapter were sophisticated designs for houses and furniture, as well the home observer spring 2010


on the shelves as his creation of the legendary Domus magazine in 1928, which he continued to produce, on and off, until his death. Besides the multitude of photographs of Ponti’s productions, there are his drawings; he drew ceaselessly and captivatingly throughout his life, demonstrating further his stylistic genius as a formmaker. Ponti also served as a university professor, and was the author of numerous books and innumerable articles. He created costumes for La Scala opera and designed his own clothes, even appearing on Italian best-dressed lists. He was a prolific product designer, and drew an automobile for Alfa Romeo. As a furniture designer he was already established in the 1920s, featuring motifs that anticipated those of the 1940s, and his vibrant ’50s collaborations with Fornasseti are especially notable. 

A sense of joie de vivre infused everything Ponti turned his attention to, and this alone makes Gio Ponti irresistible. Which is just as well: Much of the writing is difficult and vague. Italian commentaries and postulations on design tend not to make much sense, emanating as they do from the opaque cauldron of  Milanese intellectualism. Which reminds me of an article I once wrote for Domus that was translated and published in Italian, and then retranslated into English at the back of the magazine for English-language readers. When I read the latter, I was surprised to find that my straightforward text, with its carefully constructed analogies, had emerged from the blender wonderfully atmospheric and poetic—I remember wishing I could write like that—but making no sense at all. 

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on the shelves

Edwina von Gal’s minimalist East Hampton garden, where the visitor becomes “acutely aware of the beauty of the basic elements of nature.”

Modern Gardening

A Clearing in the Woods: Creating Contemporary Gardens by Roger Foley, The Monacelli Press $50

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By Nancy Butkus This book invites you to take a spin around 25 of the most luxurious contemporary gardens in America—courtesy of veteran garden photographer Roger Foley. His cinematic photographs capture the distinct beauty of each garden, from the soft blur of seaside grasses in a Long Island meadow to the man-made limestone grottoes of a Coral Gables extravaganza. The acompanying text, also written by Foley, lays out the design brief and the guiding inspiration and mentions many of the primary plants and trees utilized, but more on this a bit later. Edwina von Gal, a gardening superstar whose clients include Calvin Klein and Steven Spielberg, created a minimalist landscape for her own home in East Hampton. She relied on simple

elements like low stone walls, fields of tall switch grass and an isolated tree or three; the overall effect is breathtakingly beautiful, with a decidely Shaker appeal. She wants the visitor to become aware of “the bark on a tree, to just stop a second.” These 12 acres, void of all ornamention, just shimmers with its quiet beauty. The garden at Mount Sharon in Virgina pulls out all the stops. Designed by Charles Stick for a private client, it incoroporates four terraces of formal parterres, gushing fountains, rose-smothered pergolas, Italian statuary and clipped hornbeam trees à la Française. Because the property also encompasses long views of the rolling Virginia hills, it achieves the perfect yin-yang of garden design—wide open areas complemented by manicured and detailed inthe home observer spring 2010


We just look expensive.

timate spaces like the Chinese Chippendale-style pavillion. But this is also where an editorial flaw in the book becomes painfully apparent: There is not one caption in the entire 200-page book. All of the plant information is presented on the opening spread; after that, you’re on your own. I kept turning back to the text, desperate to know what I was looking at: Is this the winding path that leads to the Ellipse pavillion? And what are those multitrunked trees with blotchy bark in the doubleperennial border? Garden plans, especially when presenting multi-acre properties with different “rooms,” would also have helped. The Coral Gables garden designed by Raymond Jungles (for a landscaper who works in the tropics, could there be a better name?) is a masterpeice of built environment. The 2-acre garden, surrounded by eight adjacent properties, is a series of sink holes, ponds, streams, waterfalls and a lake, all cut from the local limestone. Excavating down 20 feet, Jungles was able to create a Disney-like fantasy, utterly private, with dramatic changes of scale and carved-out niches for sitting, and looking like Mother Nature’s very own, well, jungle. The other 23 gardens in the book are just as varied and spectacular, ranging from the Texas hill country to a Tulsa garden with an English slant. The only big omission: captions! These bluffs, paths and pools are man-made in a 2-acre Florida garden.

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Clockwise from bottom left: Cortney (holding Major), Five, Tallulah, Holleder, Breaker, Robert, Wolfgang, and

Tim Geaney

Bellamy

The Novogratz family, when not renovating, moving or filming their own Bravo TV show, escape to a 100-year-old farmhouse outside Great Barrington. This is a place they can really call home By Sara Vilkomerson For locals in Great Barrington, Mass., it’s known as the house with the yellow shutters. “People were like, ‘Are you really going to keep them?’” laughed Cortney Novogratz. “I love New England, but things there are pretty chill and conservative, and you see a lot of antiques and dark floors. We wanted to brighten it up and do the complete opposite.” Ms. Novogratz, 38, and her husband Robert, 47, are not just the owners of the NYCbased design firm Sixx Design, they’re also soon-to-be reality stars once Bravo starts airing 9 by Design on April 13, which follows this busy couple and their seven children—Wolfgang, 12; twins Bellamy and Tallulah, 11; Breaker, 9; twins Holleder and Five, 4; and baby Major, 15 months (at the start of 9 by Design, Ms. Novogratz is eight-and-a-half-months pregnant)—as they renovate and design achingly-cool properties in Lower Manhattan and beyond.

High and low mix in the loft-like downstairs. The blue swivel chairs were bought for $50 and then reupholstered. An expensive Cappellini table is surrounded by Kartell Ghost chairs. Floors and walls were painted white to brighten the space.

photography by Joshua McHugh

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the home observer spring 2010


Nine Is Enough the home observer spring 2010

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Top: Simplicity was key for the kitchen where the family spends a lot of their time. Colorful art contrasts with the white laminate cabinets, which were fitted with expensive hardware. Above: Yellow shutters and porch curtains made with umbrella fabric brighten the farmhouse facade.

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While the family just celebrated their one-year anniversary in their current 8,000-square-foot West Village townhouse, it’s the Great Barrington 100-year-old house they purchased eight years ago that is their oasis of choice. “To be honest, I think [the house] is the how we’ve been able to add more children and continue to live in the city,” said Ms. Novogratz. “We love the city, don’t get me wrong, but there are times you really need to step out of it, and the house has been incredible.” Due to the nature of their business—which has expanded to designing hotels on the Jersey shore and an upcoming project in Mexico—the family, which live in a property as they renovate before “flipping” it, have adjusted to having their living quarters constantly change. In fact, they’ve moved more than 15 times, reportedly even three times in one year … twice (“I’m sure one of my kids will grow up and buy a place and never leave it,” Ms. Novogratz joked). “We get to enjoy the house, and then it’s time to move on to the next project,” she said. “I wouldn’t stop doing this because we move quite a bit—we choose to do this, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s fun. We get to do what we love and get to spend time with the kids.” the home observer spring 2010


The chair with the faux zebra upholstery once belonged to Cortney’s grandmother.

the home observer spring 2010

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Above and right: The children’s bedrooms are all painted in bright, bold colors with white or neutralcolored bedding. Their trophies and ­keepsakes are displayed in the country house to avoid clutter in their city residence. The paintings of women adorning one wall are flea market finds.

Opposite: Robert and Cortney’s bedroom also uses bold color combined with graphic art.

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the home observer spring 2010


the home observer spring 2010

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the home observer spring 2010


The large wooden platform allows for a lot of horseplay and is inspired by the docks in the nearby Berkshire lakes. Opposite: The sunroom is everybody’s favorite room in the house to settle in with a good book.

But the New England home, which the family uses yearround and occasionally rents out to help fund family vacations, is a constant. “It could be we only spend two nights, or three weeks, but we feel recharged when we come back to the city. We eat so healthily—in the summertime everyone has gorgeous gardens,” Ms. Novogratz said. “We constantly just kind of relax when we’re up there.” Except when it’s time to pack up 7 kids to go skiing. “For me to take seven kids out West? Forget it,” she said. “[Up in Great Barrington] it’s just five minutes from our house—I can get [the kids’] boots on in the car.” She paused for a moment. “It can be a little overwhelming, but we know how to manage it.” the home observer spring 2010

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Art and Commerce Sandra’s Nunnerly townhouse apartment is filled with bold art and muted tones, reflecting a life lived in on three continents. By Annie Kelly It must seem a long way from New Zealand for Sandra Nunnerley, who has followed a gently winding path around the world to find herself in New York as a successful decorator. She first studied architecture in Sydney, but soon became fascinated with the art world, eventually moving to New York via Europe, to work at the legendary Marlborough Gallery in the landmark Fuller Building on the Upper East Side. Here, Nunnerley promoted the Color Field painting school (a Kenneth

Noland painting from that period hangs in her living room today.) “I really loved the art world,” explains Nunnerley, “especially during the 1980s, with the photorealists like Don Eddy.” But then she started thinking about decorating as an interesting career move, “It wasn’t an option in New Zealand when I was growing up,” she says. A large Manhattan corporate design firm (now closed) proved an ideal learning environment. Soon, Nunnerley was heading their special projects depart-

photography by Tim Street-Porter

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the home observer spring 2010


A large print by Richard Serra anchors the living room. Furniture designed by Nunnerley. Opposite: Decorator Sandra Nunnerley in her living room, in front of a painting by Kenneth Noland.

the home observer spring 2010

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A black Jansen table sits at the living room window, surrounded by Jean-Michel Frank chairs. A Jean Royere light fitting hangs above upholstered furniture designed by Nunnerley.


A portrait of Nunnerley by McGough and McDermott hangs above a Japanese bowl. Below: A model of a Maori canoe sits in the living room next to a Venetian glass lamp.

ment, and was encouraged to branch out on her own. “I was fortunate that my work was published right away. I also did Kips Bay and other showhouses,” she explains, which gave her a chance to meet fellow designers. “I’ve had great mentors as well, people like Albert Hadley, and art dealers Leo Castelli and Holly Solomon.” Today Nunnerley runs a “high-end boutique residential decorating firm, with really great clients. There’s nothing that escapes her eye, from a building elevation to the trim on a pillow.” She loves her home on the Upper East Side. “I came to this townhouse from a 53rd floor apartment, and I don’t miss the view at all.” With her art collection, and cool tailored interiors, it is easy to see why Nunnerley prefers her “indoor” views, and in summer the large tree behind the building is full of birdlife from nearby Central Park. The apartment opens directly from the elevator, and a large living and dining area spreads out to the right. An elegant black-laquered Jansen dining table sits by the front window— for large dinner parties it can be wheeled into the center of the room. Jean-Michel Frank dining chairs are spread discreetly against the walls, ready to be pulled up at a moment’s notice for a meal. The sleek, modern kitchen, set into an alcove, separates the public and private spaces. This was once two apartments, but Nunnerley has seamlessly incorporated them so that she has two bedrooms, both with a view of the back garden. Here an endless stream of friends from all over the world come to stay. “Every year I love to travel, adventure-travel, places like Africa and Burma—and everywhere I go, I find fabrics,” explains the decorator. These fabrics can be seen around the apartment, as pillows and placed over ottomans, contrasting with her favorite muted linens and cool-toned silk velvets. Today, she finds she has come full circle, as her offices are in the same Fuller Building that housed the Malborough Galleries during her first years in Manhattan. “I can walk to work!” exclaims Nunnerly. 46

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The master bedroom, with its Scalamandre fabric headboard and Empire chest of drawers, is at the peaceful rear of the apartment.

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Bush’s home office opens onto a book-filled workroom. One of a pair of Madeleine Castaing chairs sits in front of the table.

Small Is Beautiful Russell Bush has lived in this prewar jewelbox for more than 30 years, proving small spaces can deliver big statements.

“I always begin with the fabrics, rather than the furniture,” explains Russell Bush, a dapper, elegant decorator, sitting behind a long, felt-covered table at home, wearing a shirt of his own design. His first career was as a fashion designer, which explains his love of fabrics, and why the red lacquer Chinese cabinet in his living space is filled to the brim with the latest from Rogers and Goffigon, John Rosselli, Carolina Irving and Pierre Frey­—among others. His next career was with New York decorator Peter Marino; he eventually decided to leave, in hopes of leading a less stressful life, but he soon discovered the opposite: “I really wanted to keep my life simple, but my phone started ringing and I found people wanted my help—I am still working with them to this day.” Bush lives in one-bedroom prewar apartment on lower Park Avenue, in a building that originated as the Vanderbilt Hotel, built by the Commodore’s great-grandson Alfred ­Gwynne. It was designed by Warren and Wetmore, who also built Grand Central Station for the Vanderbilts. After 30 years in this elegant but tiny apartment, Bush still harbors a desire to someday live in Paris—perhaps inspired by the famous Oscar Wilde remark: “When good Americans die, they go to Paris.” photography by Tim Street-Porter

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Cecil Beaton’s bed, bought at auction in England, takes pride of place in the bedroom. Opposite: A set of four 18th-century mezzotints by Thomas Frye hang on the passage wall.

The front door opens directly to the main living space, passing a small kitchen, masquerading as a built-in cupboard. In his home office space, Bush has set up a long table that doubles as a dining table, draped in an olive-green felt cloth cut with a decorative edge. Books are everywhere, in towering stacks at the entrance to the room, filling the book shelves, and even cleverly concealed behind the four screens in each corner upholstered with “Les Colonnes” from Braquenie (found at Pierre Frey fabrics). “Screens make great storage spaces!” exclaims the decorator. One of a pair of treasured 19th-century chairs from the great French decorator Madeleine Castaing sits near the table. “I would visit her at her store in the sixth arrondissment every time I went to Paris,” explains Bush, “ and I saw them in a storage room. Of course, nothing was ever really for sale unless she liked you.” After expressing a wary interest in them during several trips to Paris, the purchase was negotiated, and today they add a touch of exoticism to the small space. When Bush was growing up in the Pennsylvania countryside, he was inspired by a Vogue magazine story on Cecil Beaton’s two houses and vowed that he would live like that 50

someday. Years later he spotted a bed in a friend’s apartment that he recognized as being from the Beaton estate. Somehow he persuaded the owner to part with it. So now, even though the purchase of Ashcome House escaped him (it was bought by Madonna in 2001 for a small fortune), at least he sleeps in Cecil Beaton’s bed. Today it is covered in a leopard print bedspread and overlooked by a portrait painted by Lawrence Mynott of Beaton’s great friend, Stephen Tennant. What’s next for this cultivated decorator? More personal projects. Bush has always been fascinated by 19th-century photography and has started to try “almost everything from daguerreotypes to digital, wet-plate collodian images, handpainted silver gelatin prints using oil paints, and polaroid lifts and transfers,” says the designer. He especially loves to print in the traditional silver gelatin way, providing the same type of reseach challenge that he invariably undergoes for each decorating project. This charming little apartment shows that if space is lacking, style becomes the essence. Beaton and his friends would have approved. —A.K. the home observer spring 2010


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A Family Affair A young couple with two children find serenity and style in a Park Avenue Classic 8 that once belonged to Barbara Walters Back in 2005, New York decorator Timothy Whealon got a call from a stylish couple in their mid-30s who needed help with a new apartment. “They heard about me from a mutual friend, and they liked a published house I decorated,” he explains. The couple were moving from a downtown loft, but didn’t want to sacrifice their hip urban lifestyle in the transition to their new Upper East Side apartment, with its formal and conventional layout. After all, it did once belong to Barbara Walters, who is from quite another generation. When he walked over from his

nearby office to take a look, Whealon realized that not much rearranging was needed—the three main rooms lined up in an attractive enfilade, and three of its four bedrooms had great views over Park Avenue. “The big changes were really cosmetic, “ explains Whealon’s assistant, Sarah Klug, “but we totally redid the kitchen, bar and bathrooms. Every room in the apartment has new wall treatments which include decorative painting, combing and wallpaper.” This is obvious right from the entry, which has

photography by Tim Street-Porter

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The dining room is anchored by a Hurvin Anderson painting. Opposite: A demilune table occupies a corner of the main living room. the home observer spring 2010

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In the living room, Bridgewater chairs in Lee Jofa’s Herbert’s Carnation Weave flank a sturdy brown sofa. An abaca rug provides texture.

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The library, paneled in reclaimed pine wood, has a view through to the dining room at the other end of the apartment. The sofa is covered in Velvet Mogador in Foret from Old World Weavers, and the ottoman is covered in a pale cowhide.

been hand-stenciled in a dramatic tree pattern, based on 18thcentury wallpaper in Sweden’s Drottningholm Palace, the current home of the Swedish Royal Family. The main dining and living rooms lead off to the right, where Whealon has given the couple a fresh contemporary style of decorating that suits their new uptown lives. Especially as they have now had two children in quick succession. “Their mother kept the original guest bedrooms as they were, she just gave them children’s beds and added her own personal touches,” adds Whealon. The dining room came together all at once when the couple bought a graphic painting by Hurvin Anderson, which anchored the whole apartment, as it can be seen from all of the main rooms. The living room is a fresh and pretty space, with 56

comfortable armchairs upholstered in Lee Jofa’s Herbert’s Carnation Weave, which flank a sturdy brown corduroy-velvet sofa. Whealon brought the formality of the room down with a rustic abaca rug, and gave the walls a pale cream yellow treatment to keep it fresh. This room leads onto a comfortable library with reclaimed pine paneling, designed by architect Leonard Woods; it includes bookcases full of books and baby pictures. A cowhide ottoman holds piles of magazines and flowers, and a round table by the window struggles to support mounds of books. The master bedroom is incredibly peaceful, considering it overlooks busy, traffic-filled Park Avenue, and Whealon decorated it to be a calm space, adding the large comfortable bed. the home observer spring 2010


Above the living room fireplace hangs a glass-framed mirror from the 1920s. the home observer spring 2010

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The former guest bedroom was adapted by the client for her new baby. Below: The powder room was wallpapered to create a jewel-box feeling in this tiny space.

“My client had a lot of interest in this room; she loved the new Lulu DK fabric, which we used for the curtains and ottoman,” says Whealon. “I wanted to bring more geometry into the room, so we added a blue-and-cream David Hicks carpet.” Whealon painted the walls a pale blue, then decided to give the woodwork a warm, cream-colored trim to balance the cool hues of the room. He hung an early 20thcentury raw crystal chandelier to bring a bit of glamour and reflected light into the space. After months of work, this is now the sophisticated apartment of a well-traveled couple who were lucky enough to find the right decorator to help them create a family home in enviable comfort and style. —A.K. Styled by Carlos Mota, whose new book Flowers, Chic and Cheap, is coming out on May 4 from Random House. 58


For the tranquil master bedroom, Whealon designed the bed and used Paradiso fabric by Lulu DK for the curtains and bench. the home observer spring 2010

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Rustic Hideaway Juan Montoya’s 110-acre retreat in the Hudson River Valley—with its very own lake— is a rich mix of earthy materials and Asian antiques

Designer Juan Montoya’s work—often seen in the pages of Architectural Digest—is unerringly elegant and refined, but when it comes to his country retreat, the designer turned to a more rustic palette. Montoya, born in Bogota, Colombia, has a degree in environmental design from Parsons and was, for a while, a practicing artist and sculptor—which informs and influences his current work. A true cosmopolitan, he has apartments in Paris, Miami, New York and Bogota. When asked how he manages to spend time in all of them, he replies, “I

have work everywhere, and it is convenient for everyone if I have a place nearby.” In addition, Montoya has a new furniture collection for Century, as well as fabric, carpet and accessories collections for other manufacturers—not to mention design projects that stretch from Punta Mita, Mexico, to France, San Francisco and, of course, New York. Hidden in the hills of the Hudson River Valley, Montoya’s country retreat on 110 acres overlooks his own lake. He discovered the property back in 1981, and over the years has ex-

photography by Tim Street-Porter

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The main living room is a rich mixtures of Asian influences. Opposite: The stonewalled main house overlooks the lake.

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In the dining room, Montoya used stone from the property for the floor. Opposite: The guest house was originally planned as the designer’s studio.

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tensively reworked the rather plain original house beyond recognition. Today the sweeping driveway leads up to the main house, past the lake and into a granite brick courtyard. The guest house on the left, added some years ago, sits on top of a stone loggia, which serves as a sheltered spot for cars. Entered from the stone staircase, the main house is ­multilevel, with a highly eclectic décor reflecting Montoya’s cosmopolitan life. He has created a rich, rustic opulence, using an earthy palette of browns, beige and orange, crisply accented with white. His skill as an architect is revealed through his sense of spatial relationships and the varied combination of textures—the reed-covered cathedral ceilings, sisal carpet and dark, reclaimed wood­—making the house feel distinctly Asian, despite the very European mix of furniture. The three bedrooms have views of the hillside, where large boulders are randomly scattered. The two smaller bedrooms sit side by side; their beds are hung with blue ticking, and the low-beamed ceilings give the rooms the feel of a

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The guest bedroom, with twin four-poster beds in the main house, has a nautical, Scandinavian feel. Opposite: Montoya based the design of his swimming pool on a floor pattern in a Swedish palace.

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much older house. On the top floor, the master bedroom sits in an “A” framed space, with its own deck, overlooking the surrounding forest. On a lower level, Montoya has positioned a large living space, punctuated by a tall tropical fig tree that reaches up to a skylight. This is a rich, masculine room, where dark furniture echoes the woodwork and overhead beams. A large central stone fireplace anchors the rustic mood. Evident throughout the house is the designer’s love of books, and at one end of this space, Montoya keeps most of them corralled in a small library. On the ground floor, a stone-walled dining room has views through a rustic loggia, next to a busy and much-used kitchen. Here, Montoya’s partner, Urban Karlsson, often cooks meals at home for the couple, who, despite all their travels, manage most weekends to escape to this quiet corner of New York State. —A.K. the home observer spring 2010


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A Nest Grows in Brooklyn Stick artist Patrick Dougherty will weave a giant nest at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this summer. It’s a perfect match for the borough’s environmentalist mindset. By Nancy Butkus

Paul Kodama

Richard Wunsch

Not only are Patrick Dougherty’s sculptures 100 percent non-toxic—no paint, no metals, no animals suspended in formaldehyde—they will eventually go back to the earth whence they sprang, as a composted pile of saplings, leaving no trace behind. Mr. Dougherty, a mild-mannered, boyish-looking 65-year-old has built more than 200 stick sculptures since 1988, but this is his first New York City commission. Scot Medbury, president of the BBG, looks on the commission, part of the Garden’s centenary celebration, as “an exhibition that is uniquely ours, with plants at its core,” and plans to site it in the Plant Family Collection, the sweeping landscape that, no coincidence, happens to be highly visible from the Terrace Cafe, a popular eating spot. Garden visitors can watch the nest take shape on August 1, when a rotating team of volunteers will begin the giant weave under Mr. Dougherty’s direction. A tractortrailer load of “weed trees” harvested from different sites in the New York area will be built into a unique sculpture that “fits the site and has the right scale,” according to Mr.

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Saplings from strawberry guava, considered a weed in Hawaii, and rose apple, whose fruit in no way resemble apples, are woven to form a 30-footer at the Contemporary Art Museum in Honolulu. Opposite: The artist in front of a pair of 30-foot-high willow and maple sapling sculptures, at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wis.

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George Vasquez

Dougherty. Each of his creations, for institutions and those lucky private clients, is unique and site-specific, but all are handmade laboriously over a three-week period using techniques heretofore known only to birds and beavers. Mr. Dougherty admitted “the base at the bottom is hard to do,” but the morning and afternoon teams of three or four volunteers will find the rest “easy”—assuming they’ll be wearing prickle-proof gloves and have full-up Nalgene water bottles at the ready! Visitors to the garden will be able to ask questions and observe up close, as Mr. Dougherty considers the building phase just another aspect of his creative process. The stick sculpture will live in the garden for one year, with no special attempts to prolong its existence by propping it up with nails, screws or Krazy Glue. Visitors will have complete access to it until the garden staff feeds it into its new Morbark Wood Hog, which will grind it down and send it to the compost pile. An ignominious end to what will have been, for a brief time, a fantasy shelter made of sticks and dreams.

Top left: These maple saplings—deemed “irresistable” by the artist—were harvested from a nearby prison. Topping out at 70 feet, this instillation at the Decordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass., was built in 1990.

Bottom left: Summer Palace (2009), at the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania, fits any childhood fantasy, wicked witch not included.

Opposite: Be It Ever So Humble (1999), a 24-foot-high Palladian stick villa, was built at

Rob Cardillo

Star Kotowski

the College of Art in Savannah, Ga.

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Mole and Ratty will live happily ever after at Toad

Hall, woven from willow saplings—what else!— in 2005 at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Childhood Dreams (2007) turns ominous at the Desert Botanic Gardens in Phoenix.

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Adam Rodriguez

Nell Campbell

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LOW

HIGH LZF-Agatha Suspension Lamp Designed by Luis Eslava Studio, the Agatha lamp is made of natural wood veneer. 2modern. com, $1,598 small, $1,836 large. Phrena hanging lamp Designed by Karl Zahn, it’s sold at the

MoMA store. 81 Spring Street, 11 West 53rd Street, $92.

LOW

Saarinen Round Dining Table Available in Soho, Flatiron and meatpacking district stores; dwr.com, $1,613-$6,984 (depending on finish). HIGH

Ikea Docksta dining table Available in Brooklyn, Paramus, and Elizabeth stores, $149. LOW

HIGH

‘Noon’ Sideboard Designed by Pastoe from Suite New York. Basic lacquer, configuration N06 (as shown). Suiteny.com, $7,650.

Ikea Torsby sideboard $299.99.

The Same but Different 72

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LOW

HIGH Karl Springer Goatskin Desk

From Galere, 1stdibs.com, $7,800.

West Elm Parsons Desk with Drawers Available in

Broadway, Chelsea and Dumbo stores, $299. LOW

HIGH John Dickinson Lamp

From Modern One, 1stdibs.com, price on request.

CB2 Ada table lamp CB2.com, $59.95.

LOW

HIGH Rin Chair Designed by Hiromichi

Konno from Suite New York, its moulded plastic seat has a chrome base. Suiteny.com, $840. Ikea Jakob office chair Ikea.com, $139.

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THEY’VE SOLD MORE JAGUARS THAN ANYONE IN THE WORLD, SINCE 1938.


HOME Gallery

Antique & Vintage Woods of America

Almo Specialty, the exclusive distributor of Liebherr refrigeration in the New York area, introduces the new HWS 1800 integrated wine storage cabinet.  Liebherr’s eye-level wine storage concept is sleek and original. The compact size and recessed handle means the unit sits flush with cabinetry giving designers flexibility and the homeowner the perfect, accessible conditions for fine wine.  Visit almospecialty.com to learn more.

almospecialty.com

ANTIQUE & VINTAGE WOODS OF AMERICA We offer one of the most respected and diverse inventories of reclaimed and recycled wood in America. Dedicated to the Green Earth Concept, our major goal is to salvage and reclaim old wood and incorporate it into new and restorative construction. Our antique flooring products and beams come from salvaged barns and gristmills. Our vintage flooring products come from managed forests or from fallen trees over 100 years old. Our vintage line has widths over 36 inches. We have 2 million board feet in inventory and can do large commercial projects as well as smaller ones. High end consulting services are available for all of your specialty wood needs. 2290 Route 199, Pine Plains, NY 12567 518-398-0049 info@antiqueandvintagewoods.com

At Carlyle you can: Purchase a new custom sofa or sofa bed that will last for over 50 years. Have that same sofa recovered over and over again, by us. Have your cushions and /or mattress replaced when needed, by us. Have a trusted source for all your heirloom re-upholstery and cushion needs. Over 50 years of expertise, our own showrooms and a local factory make us the wise choice for quality driven New Yorkers.

Center44, the Midtown Manhattan marketplace for antiques and modernism. 75 dealers and every period are represented at Center44’s showrooms, open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, 222 East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017 212-450-7988. Take a look at our website www.center44.com. Nate Berkus recently said “Center44 is my favorite place to shop!”

www.carlylesofa.com

222 East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017 212-450-7988 www.center44.com

the home observer spring 2010

Since 1995 when the family-owned Broadway Kitchens & Baths opened its flagship Manhattan store, customers have asked the same question, “I want to redo my kitchen and bathroom, but where do I start?” The answer is “Broadway Kitchens & Baths”. BKB now has 3 convenient locations; Manhattan, Englewood NJ and Stamford Ct. BKB has a simple mission to help the customer make good choices, then execute the renovation on time, and within budget.

www.broadwaykitchens.com

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2009 that totaled £2.1 billion/$3.3 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $80 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai. *All auction sales figures include premium.

20 Rockefeller Plaza #6 New York, NY 10020 212-636-2000 www.christies.com  

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HOME Gallery

Il Fanale Lighting Collection from Italy is represented exclusively in the United States by Country Gear Ltd. located in Bridgehampton. This lighting collection, is inspired by Old World traditions and design, and created using classical materials of copper, brass, iron, ceramic and Murano hand-blown glass, using handcrafted production techniques. This collection brings together the combination of Old World patina finishes of antique brass and aged copper with the timeless elegance of ceramics and Venetian glass, offering unique lighting for your home, garden or business. 2408 Main Street Bridgehampton, NY 11932 631-537-1032 www.countrygearltd.com

“Live with Fine Design” provided by the Greenbaum team of 18 talented designers. Over 2000 resources and our own Workrooms with 30 Artisans capable of creating your desires. Visit our stores with over 140,000 square feet of magnificent home furnishings only 30 minutes from the City. Visit our website for our complete story

101 Washington Street Paterson, NJ 973-279-3000 1105 Mount Kemble Avenue Morristown, NJ 973-425-5500 www.greenbauminteriors.com

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With 8 wholesale branches and 7 showrooms, Davis & Warshow is the NY metro region’s resource for all things plumbing, from the largest industrial valve, to the most elegant faucets and fixtures available. Legendary for superlative service, Davis & Warshow has been named Supply House Times “Wholesaler of the Year” in 1988 and again in 2003. Davis & Warshow is a 100% employee-owned company. For more information on Davis & Warshow, visit www.dwny.com.

For over 60 years Elgot has been Manhattan’s premier source for kitchen and bath design, remodeling and major appliance sales and installation. That’s why discerning New Yorkers rely on Elgot for quality, service and experience. Our staff is always happy to help you choose energy efficient and eco-friendly products to allow you to support green living in Manhattan. From tootight spaces to arcane building codes to co-op regulations, we’ve seen and done it all! Elgot, 937 Lexington Avenue (68th/69th Sts.), New York, NY 10065. 212-879-1200. www.elgotkitchens.com

www.dwny.com

937 Lexington Avenue (68th/69th Sts.), New York, NY 10065 212-879-1200 www.elgotkitchens.com

JMB Design Group is a full service boutique Design/Build firm in Locust Valley on the North Shore of LI. As the head designer, Mr. Novak’s meticulous attention to details transforms the concept of his design into reality. Whether residential or commercial, JMB offers the same high level of service. The sister company Wilcox Construction Management affords the client a well run construction project with the advantage of having their architect on the job until completion. To schedule a consult call 516.671.1171

Just Shades has been in business for over 40 years, so it comes as no surprise that Just Shades offers the largest selection of ready-made shades in New York City. From traditional pleats and silks to the more contemporary parchment shades, we carry a shade for every lighting situation. We cater not only to top designers and decorators, but to individuals looking for that perfect shade. For the hard to please, we also create custom shades from our fabrics or from your own fabrics. 21 Spring Street, NY, NY 10012; 212-966-2757; www.justshadesny.com

516-671-1171 jmbdesigninc.com

21 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 212-966-2757 www.justshadesny.com

the home observer spring 2010


HOME Gallery

Kravet is a fourth generation, privately held family business with headquarters in Bethpage, New York. The company offers the widest range of fabrics in the decorative fabrics industry. Recent acquisitions of several other textile companies have further enhanced the Kravet Inc. brand offerings to the trade. The company continues to focus their efforts on introductions of designer inspired collections, fabric, furniture, trimmings, as well as new categories of carpet, lighting, and decorative hardware.

Lerebours Antiques features an eclectic collection of Continental as well as American antique, vintage and mid-century modern furniture, lighting and art. Open Monday thru through Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday by appointment. Please view our website, www. lereboursantiques.com. Matthew Patrick Smyth recently described Lerebours Antiques as “one of the nicest shops in NYC.”

Lighting By Gregory is the nation’s premier distributor of designer lighting and fans. On the web, LBG provides a comprehensive selection of the industry’s finest brand names. And at our famed NYC showroom, Lighting By Gregory is the nexus point for world-renowned designers to share their insight with the everyday consumer. Lighting By Gregory has been at the forefront of forwardthinking lighting design for four decades.

158 Bowery, New York, NY 10012 Tel: 800-807-1826 www.lightingbygregory.com

225 Central Avenue South, Bethpage, NY 11714 www.kravet.com

220 East 60th St., NYC 10022 917- 749-5866 www.lereboursantiques.com

Both of Ligne Roset’s Manhattan locations display Europe’s largest collection of brilliant contemporary furniture designs. We are proud to introduce new groups of upholstered chairs created by the late, renowned Pierre Paulin just before his death last spring. Our talented design staffs are always ready to work with you on that one needed piece or on a total plan for your new condominium. For the full Roset collection and Quick Ship program: www.lignerosetny.com.

The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center is New York’s largest antique center, housing 100 galleries on three levels the length of an entire city block with varied collections from America, Europe, Africa and Asia. They specialize in fine furniture, silver, jewelry, tapestries, paintings, clocks and many other objects of art. Featured in the photo from European Decorative Arts Company is a Duvinage and Maison Alphonse Giroux decorative panel. Ivory, engraved brass, maple, pearwood on laminated wood, gilt bronze frame. Signed. French. C. 1877-1883.

Marc Tash Interiors is your source for all your home decorating needs. We do all kinds of reupholstery, fabric slipcovers, and window treatments including Roman, Balloon and Austrian shades. Our reputation was established by providing excellent craftsmanship, reliable on-time service, attention to detail and competitive pricing. As a leader in our field, we can develop home décor solutions for all situations & budgets. Call us to schedule a FREE shop-at-home consultation. You’ll have a very pleasant decorating experience!

Second Ave. (between 55th & 56th Sts.) Tel: 212-355-4400 Fax: 212-355-4403 Website: www.the-maac.com Email: info@the-maac.com Open Monday thru Saturday 10:30AM to 6PM, Sunday 12 Noon to 6PM.

1-800-MARCTASH (627-2827) www.marctashinteriors.com

250 Park Avenue South at 20th 212-375-1036 155 Wooster Street at Houston Street 212-253-5629 www.lignerosetny.com

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HOME Gallery

Metropolitan Lighting imports a complete collection of the finest quality designer oriented lighting in all periods and styles. Illuminating fine interiors since 1939.

New York Design Center, Showroom #512 at 200 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY 10016 1-800-233-4500 or 212-545-0032 www.minka.com; www.nydc.com.

Distinctive one-of-a-kind handmade pieces are the hallmark of Silas Seandel’s furniture. He is known world wide for incorporating sculptural techniques into furniture design. His uniquely original custom pieces have enhanced many private residences, as well as high-end corporate environments. Executed in antique steel, his cocktail table, “Remembrance”, is featured here. His exclusive sculptural furniture is crafted in solid metals such as brass, bronze, steel and copper.

POSTERS PLEASE May 2: 50th Anniversary Auction of Rare Vintage Posters. Includes many of the best & most sought after Art Nouveau & Art Deco posters. Largest collections of Mele, Schnackenberg, Cheret & Automobile posters ever assembled! Special sections on Propaganda, posters on silk, Mistinguett, Buffalo Bill, Aviation & WPA. Featured artists: Toulouse-Lautrec, Cassandre, Colin, Mucha, Steinlen, Livemont, Cappiello, Loupot, Broders, Dudovich, & more! Viewing now thru May 1.  601 W. 26th St., 13th Floor New York, NY 10001 212-787-4000 alippert@postersplease.com Follow us on Twitter @PostersPlease Read our Poster Blog http://www.postersplease.com/posterblog

Roberta Roller Rabbit is a sunny bazaar packed with colorful chic apparel, life style accessories, and furniture and home furnishings. The products feature Indian hand block prints, inspired by the cultural curiosity of New York designer Roberta Freymann. Roberta’s whimsical outlook, vivid imagination and effortlessly sophisticated style translates to each piece. Visit us for design inspiration or just to get away from it all - New York, The Hampton’s, Santa Monica or on the web www.RobertaRollerRabbit.com

Beautiful Greenhouses & Sola

Because New Yorkers’ have everything but space: techline Studio- furniture that fits. Architect owned, we measure, design, and install our modular systems for a custom fit solution. Our job is to help you make the most of your home and office space. And to find spaces and places for the Exclusive things that matter.

www.RobertaRollerRabbit.com

Beautiful Greenhouses & Solariums Over 150 years ofDesign history in building custom Custom • Greenhouses • Solariu designed greenhouses, solariums, skylights and Skylights • Glass Enclosures glass enclosures Under Glass Mfg. Corp. is the exclusive manufacturer of the original Lord & Burnham greenhouses and solariums. We were established in 1989 after acquiring the Lord & Burnham product line. At Under Glass we are committed to our Motto: “Elegance and Function”. The growing manufacturer of the original Lord & Burnha environment cannot be compromised.

Under GlaSS MFG. Corp.

High Falls, New York • 845.687.47 www.underglassusa.com

Over 150 years of History

551-3 West 22nd St., New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212-645-5286 www.SilasSeandel.com

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35 East 19th Street, NY, NY 10003 212-674-1813 www.techlinestudio.com

Under Glass Mfg. Corp., PO Box 81, High Falls, NY 12440, 845- 687-4700. Email: ugmfg@aol.com, www.underglassusa.com

the home observer spring 2010


HOME Gallery

Wendell Castle: Rockin’ – May 6 – June 26, 2010. Wendell Castle’s groundbreaking unification of sculpture and furniture galvanized generations of artists and designers and contributed to the acceptance of design as an art form in its own right. While the organic, curvilinear forms of this new collection link it to many of his past masterworks, there is a confidence and quickness of gesture that suggest a new dimensionality. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition. Barry Friedman Ltd. 515 West 26th Street New York, New York 10001 T: 212.239.8600 F: 212.239.8670 contact@barryfriedmanltd.com  Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10-6

Wittus – Fire by Design has the finest selection of European contemporary indoor and outdoor fireplaces, stoves, and accessories.

40 Westchester Ave., POB 120, Pound Ridge, NY 10576 914-764-5679 www.wittus.com

Established in 1938, Jaguar of Great Neck was the first Jaguar dealership in the Country. Our experience has led to a reputation of value, personal service and after-sale support that is unrivaled. For 70+ years we have been selling to and servicing the New York area with the pride and attention it deserves. Model for model, option for option, no one is more competitive than us. We will beat any advertised price in New York...Guaranteed! Fulfill your passion for perfection with one of our awesome 2010 Jaguar XF or XK models. One is waiting for you at Jaguar of Great Neck. www.GreatNeckJaguar.com 888-263-4158

Reserve Space Now For the October 13th Issue of Observer Home For advertising information contact Betty Lederman, Associate Publisher, Home Observer 212.407.9359 BLederman@observer.com

the home observer spring 2010

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photographs by Tim Street-Porter

in the neighborhood

Mucho Musto Downtown scenester Michael Musto lives the life of a monk (excluding his 3 a.m. bedtime) in his spare Murry Hill co-op For the past 25 years, writer Michael Musto has been a fixture on the New York nightlife scene, faithfully recording the downtown high life for his Village Voice column La Dolce Musto. Musto hasn’t strayed far from his childhood Brooklyn home; he rented his first apartment in Manhattan after graduating in English literature at Columbia University in the late 1970s and now, many moves later, lives in what he calls the “Switzerland” of New York­, Murry Hill (for its neutral vibe.) “People always assume I live downtown, not in a one-bedroom co-op in Murray Hill,” he explains, “ but when I leave the apartment, I am equidistant from the midtown Broadway premieres and the Village Voice downtown.” Musto has owned this apartment for two years, and it’s surprisingly empty of possessions. “During my last move, I 80

got rid of a lot of clutter. I had collected a lot of kitch: palm trees, a doll collection and even a working fountain.” The long living room, furnished with a comfortable sofa, is perfect for entertaining. “Every two weeks, I host a movie club with four friends where we watch really bad movies,” says Musto, “like Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough from the Joan Collins Video Selection, and my personal favorite, The Ghost Goes Gear, from the Spencer Davis Group.” His bedroom has curtains that block out the morning light, as Musto generally attends five to six events a night, usually coming home around 2:30 a.m. He owes his stamina to good habits—“I don’t drink or do drugs, as I need to have a clear head in the morning to write about what happened.” Around the bedroom are various por-

traits: a 1980s-style portrait of himself by Romero Britto, and another on a laminated tabletop (“It doesn’t have legs; otherwise, I would love to eat on a painting of myself”) by Anthony Zito. When he travels for his column, he visits places with a pecularly American sense of aesthetics—Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Atlantic City. “I love the casino culture, especially as I don’t gamble. I like the shows, the buffet tables and the glitz.” Back home, he enjoys the empty spaces of his apartment. When asked to describe his personal style, Musto replies, “My taste is store-bought, but the combination is very me and can’t be replicated. I call it ‘Early Reign of Terror’!” —A.K. Michael Musto’s upcoming book, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back, is from Alyson Books. the home observer spring 2010


More Fresh Thinking Liebherr offers fresh design ideas with its freestanding product line in 24”, 30”, 36”, 48” and 60” widths. With stainless steel sides, the refrigerator can go anywhere in the kitchen, or taking advantage of cabinet-depth dimensions, can create the look of a built-in without the price of building in. And, Liebherr’s commitment to responsible manufacturing and energy efficiency is exemplified by the new 30” CS1660 (shown here) which goes beyond Energy Star® with energy consumption 25% better than federal requirements.

The Cooling Specialist for over 55 years.

Liebherr products available at these fine New York retailers: Elgot Kitchen 937 Lexington Ave. 212-879-1200

Drimmers @ MCKB 29 E. 19th Street 212-995-0500

Krup’s Kitchen and Bath 11 West 18Th Street 212-243-5787

Gringer & Son 29 First Ave. 212-475-0600

The SBS 26S1 model shown.

Design, Quality and Innovation

Distributed by: Almo Specialty - Exclusive Distributor

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optimistically inspired. kravet

fabrics. furniture. trimmings. kravet.com


The Home Observer Spring 2009