Tag Archives: Master Class

Master Class: Dakota Jackson

Revitalization, New Designs, and a Course for the Future

CJ Dellatore Dakota Jackson


Back in May of this year I attended many of the events at New York’s D&D Building Spring Market, you may remember the post I wrote summing it up.

Perhaps the most interesting panel discussion of the day was moderated by Julie Iovine of The Wall Street Journal, and included Kati Curtis, Ally Coulter, and Dakota Jackson.  The conversation focused on the state of the luxury design industry post the 2008 financial collapse.  Mr. Jackson in particular made some controversial thought-provoking comments that intrigued me, so in the interest of getting more insight, I contacted him to see if we might meet.

He’s a busy man so it took some time to organize, but we finally sat down last week in his Flagship Showroom for a spirited conversation.  I’d like to share some of what I learned from this American design legend.

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Master Class: Scott Salvator

a candid assessment of today's interior design industry

CJ Dellatore Scott Salvator


With an illustrious career spanning more than 30 years Scott Salvator has been celebrated on the pages of countess shelter magazines, and has created rooms for the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse – the Academy Awards of interior design as he calls it – a record 4 times: in 1994, 1999, 2002, and 2007.

Our design editor Carl Lana has had a personal friendship with Scott for more years than either of them are willing to admit to, so when I conceived of the idea to interview him for a Master Class post Carl made the introduction.

We were invited to Scott’s insanely chic Upper East side apartment (honestly one of the most creative spaces I’ve ever seen!) for a candid chat.  What Scott had to say about contemporary interior design; about what someone new to the industry needs to know to succeed; and about what he learned from Mario Buatta, Gary Crain, and Robert Metzger makes for invaluable insight every design professional will find helpful.

Carl Lana conducted the interview, here’s a recap.

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Master Class: Iain Halliday

Australian based BKH opens an outpost in New York

Iain Halliday


“I had always believed that our work could stand up in a world market, and there seemed to be no better time to try.”

-Iain Halliday


Several months ago I was introduced to a handsome Australian gentleman named Hamish Adamson, who heads up the newly established New York offices of BKH (Burley Katon Halliday) on 5th avenue.

Now I freely admit that I’d not heard of the firm before meeting Hamish, but once I had the opportunity to see their magnificent work we here on the blog decided to profile the firm’s principle Iain Halliday in a Master Class post.

Via Skype Halliday explained that BKH has evolved over it’s 30 year history from a design house with a very strict modernist based style to something much broader.

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Master Class: Robert Couturier

Thoughts on the state of contemporary interior design

Robert Couturier…………………………

I’ve been incredibly lucky working in the interior design industry, and have had the opportunity to meet many talented people.  But I’d never had the pleasure of meeting Robert Couturier, until last week.

We’ve long been Facebook friends, and here on the blog we humbly count him among our readers.  I messaged him and asked if he might be interested in an interview – he agreed and graciously invited me for an afternoon chat.  We talked about the ups and downs of decorating in the age of the internet, about how 1st Dibs has impacted the industry, and about his favorite contemporary architects.  He also shared some images that represent the scope of his formidable portfolio.

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Master Class: Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz

Balancing masculine architecture & feminine decor in Venice Beach

12_EDITBenjamin Noriega-Ortiz


Last week my long time friend Steven Wine, the genius behind the feathered fixtures at ABYU Lighting (who just happens to be Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz’s partner) sent me a message on Facebook about a home Noriega-Ortiz designed and decorated in Venice Beach, California.

The house is a mix of modern minimalist architecture and diaphanous, ethereal decoration.  When it was completed, BNO Design began shopping the story around to the mainstream shelter magazines, but the project was deemed ‘too feminine’ for publication.  I was, of course, intrigued.

I decided to contact Benjamin to chat about the home.  He invited me to coffee at his Soho atelier to talk about it.  During our meeting he generously explained his design process for the home, room by room.  It was a fascinating opportunity to learn about his work, and a great chance to publish the project here on the blog.

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Hillsdale Haven

Master Class with Charles O Schwarz Interior Design

Entry Hall12

Charles O. Schwarz Interior Design in House Beautiful, March 2013


“I love that this house is not fashionable or chic.  This house is about everything that comes in and out of its doors; dogs and cats, flowers and vegetables, family and friends, food and wine.  This is what life is about and it is what my client and I understand keeps the soul and spirit in this house alive.”

-Charles O. Schwarz


I first discovered Columbia County, New York in 1989.  I’d been invited to spend the weekend at a friends family compound in Canaan, in the northern corner of the county.  Six years later I bought my first house there in Claverack, and restored it to its 1822 glory.  Everyone who’s visited there understands there is something quite magical about Columbia County.

When my friends at House Beautiful told me that a historic Hillsdale House (in the southeastern corner of the county), restored and decorated by Charles O. Schwarz, was being featured in the March issue, I decided to catch up with Charles to talk about the home.  What follows is an excerpt of our conversation.

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McMillen Inc. 2013

Master Class with Ann Pyne, the firm's current President

House BeautifulHouse Beautiful February 2013    Decoration by Ann Pyne of McMillen, for her mother, Betty Sherill


McMillen, Inc. was founded in 1924 by Mrs. Drury McMillen, a young married woman from St. Louis who’d moved to New York City.   She operated out of her townhouse at 148 East 55th Street, selling 18th century furniture sent to her from Europe by William Odom, who was then the head of the Paris Atelier of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.

In 1972, Betty Sherrill assumed the President’s chair for the firm from Mrs. McMillen, and held that position until 2000.   In that year, Luis A. Rey (who had joined the firm in 1972) took the helm.  Ann Pyne (Mrs. Sherrill’s daughter) succeeded Mr. Rey in assuming the role.

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to chat with Ms. Pyne.  We discussed the home she recently decorated for her mother (featured in this months House Beautiful), interior decoration in the age of the internet, and her fondness for Clarence House fabrics.  She also shared a few of her favorite resources. (That’s a cue to open Evernote!)

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Lifestyle Driven Design

Master Class with Philip Gorrivan


“Every room I design has a soul… and that soul is discovered in the alchemy between me and my clients.”


I had the pleasure of meeting Philip Gorrivan in 2007, the year he’d created the opulent blue and green dining room in the HC&G Hampton’s idea house.  It was in the course of our first conversation that summer that he explained his modus operandi regarding interior design.  At lunch last week he told me his design process hasn’t changed, and why he thinks it’s so successful.

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