Business & Design: Less is More

The Growing Trend Towards Smaller Homes

2013_01_23_grabb_13172_3_rsznARCHITECTS Prefabricated ‘Micro Apartment’ Building

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In late January the Bloomberg administration announced the winner of the AdApt NYC competition, which sought to imagine the future of housing in New York City.  The winning proposal, by a team including nARCHITECTS, developers Monadnock, and the Actors Fund HD, will begin construction at 335 East 27th Street next year.  Their scheme, “My Micro NY,” calls for nine stories of long, thin apartments stepped back from the street.  Each apartment will be prefabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and arranged on site using a crane, saving precious construction days and millions of dollars.  Here’s the link to the story on Curbed.com if you’d like to learn more.

Reading about the project peaked my curiosity about housing trends around the rest of the country in this post recession era.  There’s some very interesting data that clearly suggests the trend toward smaller homes is not limited to urban areas.  You might find it interesting.

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‘See And Be Seen’ March 2013

Bailey House Celebrates 30 Years With A Bang

Bailey HouseHarlan Bratcher, CEO of A/X Armani Exchange, Gina Quattrochi, Wendy Williams & Alan Cumming Photo courtesy Patrick McMullan

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Bailey House celebrated their 30th Anniversary Thursday evening with quite the shindig.  For the first time ever, they hosted an awards dinner where they honored a number of organizations and individuals who were there at the beginning of the crusade against AIDS, and the discrimination/fear that ensued.  The night was a splendid and star-studded tribute to these heroes.  I was proud to be in attendance and to share in the revelry.

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The New Guard: Suzanne Eason

Of Connecticut Based Suzanne Eason Interiors

tC_PD6K8lBDowHhRNxJeI59LopJ7P43JPujei3MYnwY,Co7DhIv-ETi1yTqbmYg0xHZgcG1g50kcbOPwjOVYVogSuzanne Eason Interiors for Holiday House 2012    Photo courtesy Marco Ricca

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“I guide my clients to reach slightly beyond their comfort level for results they will absolutely love and cherish for years to come.”

-Suzanne Eason

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Last fall I attended the press preview for Iris Danker’s breast cancer research fundraiser Holiday House You may remember I covered the event in a post here on the blog.  I had the pleasure of meeting many of the interior designers who decorated rooms in the show house, including Suzanne Eason of Suzanne Eason Interiors.

Turning the corner into Eason’s small office I was instantly struck by her use of exuberant color.  The second thing I noticed was the lacquered cobalt blue ceiling in contrast to the stark white walls, which I loved.  On the whole the room was a jewel box, and exactly what I like a decorator show house room to be – tastefully appointed, risk taking, and slightly theatrical.

Last week I caught up with Suzanne to chat about design inspiration, her aesthetic philosophy, and the top 10 vendors and products she currently favors.

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High Style Is What You Make It

Tony Duquette, John Pawson and Cy Twombly - Disparate Yet Comparable

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DeBeistegui Paris apartment

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There once was a trinity of high style, Le Corbusier, Emilio Terry and Charles De Beistegui, who created one of the most unusual and surreal collaborations in design history with the Parisian apartment for De Beistegui.

I ask how would anyone top that today?  Or why would anyone even attempt to?  That being said, it is one of the great moments in the annals of decorative arts.  The melding of the flamboyant taste of De Beistegui with the stark, sculptural architecture of Le Corbusier, and the whimsically garish furnishings designed by Emilio Terry all explode onto the serene and stately 8th arrondissement of Paris.   It must have been viewed as shocking at the time.

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Celebrity Hairstylist Steven Dillon

and his charitable organization 'Cuts for a Cause'

Steven Dillon Brazilian VogueImage courtesy Vogue Brazil

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My friend Steven Dillon grew up in an Italian/Irish Catholic home in Yonkers NY, and started cutting hair in 1993 (coincidentally the same year we met.)  His career took off almost immediately.  We became fast friends and have stayed in close touch for 20 years.

His first salon job was at Peter Coppola in New York City, and his first editorial was with Walter Chin for German Vogue, working as an assistant to Ron Van Dorssen.  His first celebrity client was Yoko Ono, who became one of his regulars.

After taking a brief hiatus from the business to explore spirituality he is back at work cutting and styling in his private studio space in Midtown Manhattan.  I caught up with him this week to talk about his career, and the charity he founded ‘Cuts for a Cause’ which benefits the children of Malawi and others children’s aid organizations.

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Fringe Element

Could the return of trim be an indicator of economic recovery?

Alex-papachristidis-home-1112-xl3Alex Papchristidis’s Manhattan living room courtesy Elle Decor

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I dislike the word ‘trend’.  It’s always seemed to me that the most creative design professionals have an intellectual process behind their work that transcends what’s currently fashionable.

With that in mind, it’s hard to deny the trend away from specifying trim during the downturn of the American economy in recent years.  Honestly, can you remember the last editorial in which trims were prominently featured?  It seems that everyone (except perhaps for Ann Getty) got the ‘less is more’ memo.

That all changed when Elle Decor published Alex Papachristidis and Scott Nelson’s Manhattan apartment last fall, resplendent with colorful gimp, moss fringe, and key tassels.

Flipping through the pages (which seemed to channel Robert Denning & Vincent Fourcade) I began wondering.  Could the return of trim be an indicator of economic recovery?

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Business & Design: Coffee Table Books

The retro home accessory of the future?

837Rizzoli on West 57th Street

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When Amazon introduced the first Kindle in 2007, the idea of reading changed forever.  I remember seeing folks on the NYC subway carrying them, and wondering if the concept of an e-reader would catch on.  Needless to say it did.  What’s more of an anomaly these days is to find someone riding mass transit with a real book.

Times change.

In reading the news over the last few days I came across 3 articles that prompted me to ask the question.  Will books be considered retro by the interior design community of the future?

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Design: An Evolution Of Style

Are We Destined To Decorate By Numbers?

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When it comes to the topic of decorating there is no beginning and, certainly, there is no end.

I ask your permission to indulge myself in some observations about interior design, a topic about which I have become well versed in these past thirty-five years.  In these days of phone app floor plans, computer generated renderings, and formulated color schemes, the BIG question for me is where do we go from here?

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