Category Archives: Fine Print

Fine Print: DesignPOP by Lisa S. Roberts

Architect and collector Lisa S. Roberts new book DesignPOP (Rizzoli 2014) surveys the best furniture and accessories (so far) of the 21st century. In between the bold photographs of these iconic contemporary pieces, Roberts discusses new materials and processes, as well as how sustainability and social responsibility, influence designers’ paths. She points out that even the definition of designer is changing as disciplines merge. For example, products from companies like Apple and Dyson often exemplify considered cutting edge design.

As I flipped through the colorful pages of DesignPOP, I was struck by how many of the items I’ve come across in my life, and even own. While I covet high end design, I don’t have the funds for splurging on it. However, Roberts mixes the practically unattainable with practical everyday products

For example, she puts forth the Soft Urn designed by Hella Jongerius, which appears to be a traditional pottery vase, but is instead made of silicone. I discovered silicone urns a number of years ago (I think mine are by Menu though), and love them because if the kids knock them over, they won’t break.

I’ve bet you seen the Bobble, even if you don’t realize it. Bobble is an ergonomically-shaped, thin plastic water bottle with built in filter, designed by Karim Rashid. I have one for each of my kids to keep by their bedsides; I purchased them at Target. I’ve never changed the filters… should probably get on that.

Other designers highlighted include Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson, Marcel Wanders, Yves Behar, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Philippe Starck, Ross Lovegrove, and Jasper Morrison.

I sent Roberts a few questions to answer about her findings and favorites from DesignPop, answered below, complete with products featured in the book.

Lisa S Roberts Author Of Design Pop 2014

Were most of these products familiar to you before starting the research? Any new finds?
I knew many since I follow the industry very closely. But during my research I discovered the Flip Flop Vase by Diederick Schneemann, the Chubby Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij, the Lytro Light Field Camera by New Deal Design, and the Nest Thermostat by Tony Fadell.


Flip Flop Vase by Diederick Schneemann
Made from recycled flip flops washed up on Kenyan beaches .


Chubby Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij
Made from 3D printed recycled refrigerator plastic, with their waste made into clothes hangers.


Nest Thermostat by Tony Fadell
$249 at Amazon
We purchased one of these, drawn in by both the design and “smart” functionality. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it to work with our HVAC system, but not for lack of trying. This 2.0 version may be easier to implement. They have a great help line.


Your picks all come out of the 21st century. What are some products designed before 2000 that may have been included if  you expanded the time frame?
There were a lot of game-changing designs before 2000. There’s the Vermelha Chair by Humberto and Fernando Campana, the Wiggle Chair by Frank Gehry, and the Bookworm by Ron Arad.


Vermelha Chair by Humberto and Fernando Campana
$12,821 at Switch Modern
The upholstery is completely made of intertwined cotton ropes.


Wiggle Chair by Frank Gehry
$1,140 at AllModern
Designed back in 1972 and made from cardboard.


Bookworm by Ron Arad
$408 at Lumens
I’ve always been intrigued this piece in the MoMA catalog. It’s flexible and can be made into any shape.

Which brand new products would make the list if you did a follow up?
The Carbon Balloon Chair by Marcel Wanders. It’s made of carbon fiber and resin, weighs about one and a half pounds, and can hold up to 198 pounds. Also the Polygon Chair by Joris Laarman, which combines advanced technology with hand assembly. It’s comprised of mathematically designed CNC milled pieces that are assembled like a puzzle, by hand.


Carbon Balloon Chair by Marcel Wanders
An ultra light carbon fiber chair inspired by balloons.

Do you own any of the products featured in the book?
I own many of the products in the book. Some are on display in my personal gallery and some I live with. I love the Collapsible Strainer by Boje Estermann because it takes up so little space in my drawer. The Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit sits in my foyer and is as attractive as it is comfortable. The Fred Humidifier by Matti Walker comes out whenever someone in the family has a cold. I also have two Midsummer Lights by Tord Boontje that hang over the conference table in my home office.


Collapsible Strainer by Boje Estermann
$60 at Lumens
Last year I bought a collapsible silicone salad spinner at T.J.Maxx for our little condo in Florida. It is one of the best gadgets you can buy, because really, who has room for a salad spinner. Ditto for a full-size colander.


Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit
Two-and-a-half years ago I interviewed Dror Benshetrit at his studio in NYC for Design Milk. He had one of these chairs there and I was instantly smitten. It’s felt and very visually satisfying. The full interview is here, and you can see some extra tidbits and photographs here.


Midsummer Light by Tord Boontje
$98 at A+R
I bought two Midsummer Light shades, one in citron and one in violet, many years ago, thinking I might use them in the guest rooms on the Cape. I didn’t, but I still have them. I know one day I’ll find the right spot. They’re magical.

Which are your favorites?
The iPhone because I can’t live without it and the Bank in the Form of A Pig by Harry Allen because it always makes me smile. I love my Rainbow Chair by Patrick Norguet because it captures light in the most amazing way, casting a rainbow shadow on the floor. Also, of all the designs I own, it has increased the most in value since I purchased it!


Bank in the Form of A Pig by Harry Allen
$200 at Nordstrom
This design, which is now done in shiny turquoise, pink, gold and other colors, was modeled on an actual suckling pig that had died of natural causes, cast it in resin. $10 of every pig bank sale goes to the Humane Society.


Rainbow Chair by Patrick Norguet
$8,500 on eBay

Which design do you most covet?
Tide Chandelier by Stuart Haygarth, but it’s so big, I would have no place to put it.


Tide Chandelier by Stuart Haygarth
£20,000 – 30,000  at Phillips
A valuable example of trash to treasure.

Design Pop Book By Lisa S Roberts 2014

Design Pop by Lisa S. Roberts (Rizzoli, 2014)
$26.27 at Amazon

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Fine Print: Erin Gates’ Elements of Style Book

Erin Gates sent me an advance copy of her new, very first design book, Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life. I’ve been browsing through it for the last couple of weeks, thoroughly enjoying the photos of the rooms she decorated for herself and clients, studying her style charts, and catching up on her life. The tone is easy, breezy, much like her blog, with plenty of personal tidbits interwoven through her design adventures and accomplishments.

Erin’s come a long way since I first met her, on assignment for Boston Globe Magazine in early 2009 after she sent me scouting shots of  the place she and Andrew rented in J.P. It landed her on the cover, and it’s still one of my favorite stories, not just because Erin and her house looked amazing (thanks Eric Roth for the excellent photos), but because Erin was full of enthusiasm and money saving tips.

Her blog and business have exploded and her design skills honed, while her excellent attitude and work ethic prevail. Congratulations Erin Gates!


Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life by Erin Gates
Available October 7, 2014 (Simon & Schuster) $22.14

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Photo by Michael Parteni

Erin’s used this buffet over and again. She bought it for $75 at an estate sale and painted the inside turquoise (you can see that iteration in Erin’s place in Jamaica Plain, which I wrote about for Boston Globe Magazine, March 2009.) She went orange for the South End. Now it’s lined with malachite wallpaper.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

This is my favorite room. I’ve long been a sucker for a library dining room with Saarinen table and a fireplace. The sheepskin rugs nesle perfectly into those acrylic chairs from IKEA. The client stuffed the fireplace with little logs, which add some rustic texture; plus the circles are an excellent contrast to the stripes on the rug.

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Photo by Michael Partenio

A sunroom with violet ikat cushions on barley twist chairs and Buddha on custom made brass base.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

Love this cerulean blue wall behind the banquette upholstered in the ever popular Chiang Mai print by Schumacher. Those Cherner chairs work well with the fabric’s twisting design and earthy colors.

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Erin provides some charts with formulas for achieving different styles.

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Erin’s favorite paint colors. You’ll have to buy the book to get the exact names. Ok, I’ll give you one: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue.

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Photo by Michael Partenio

I love how despite the graphic black & white rug and bedding, Erin’s guest room is totally feminine. Pale pink walls (Benjamin Moore Blanched Coral), a starburst mirror, and mirrored side tables will do that. Swiss dots + a boho throw + Nordic rug + Hollywood Regency glam. And somehow it all works.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

This bedroom is interesting too, with its tufted headboard, chocolate brown linens, Asian-themed toile wallpaper and fretwork bookshelves, plus a leopard print bench.



Photo by Sean Litchfield

Nursery with a black accent wall went viral on Pinterest.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

Oh, this Madeline Weinrib rug again, this time in brown. It seems to work everywhere! (Tip: IKEA makes a black & white version.) I generally don’t like tan stone (only contractors do!) but Erin makes it work in this space where they’re stuck with it.

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 Photo by Sarah Winchester

Erin’s parents Connecticut home. I wrote all about her mom’s garden for Boston Globe Magazine, April 2013.

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Photo by Michael J. Lee

Erin and Andrew Gates with the doggies.

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G E T  the  L O O K

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Fine Print: The Urban House

One of my resolutions for 2014 is to feature new design books more promptly. The first one of the year is The Urban House: Townhouses, Apartments, Lofts, and Other Spaces For City Living  (Rizzoli, February 2014), written by author Ron Broadhurst, with foreward by starchitect Richard Meier, who has his own book, Richard Meier Architect, coming out this month.

The 298 page paperback, presented in a nice, thick square format, presents 25 new(ish) spaces for city living, photos, descriptions, and floor plans. There are projects by established architects including John Pawson and Annabelle Selldorf, as well as emerging architects, including Barbara Bestor and Messana O’Rorke. Here is a sampling of 13 lofts, townhouses, and apartments that caught my eye (sorry the scans are slightly funky).

The Urban House Rizzoli Annabelle Seldor

Annabelle Seldorf
Former YMCA in Chelsea, NYC

The Urban House Rizzoli Annabelle Seldor

Annabelle Seldorf
Former YMCA in Chelsea, NYC

The Urban House Rizzoli Messana O'Rorke

Messana O’Rorke
Townhouse in the West Village, NYC

The Urban House Rizzoli Work Architecture Company

Work Architecture Company
Subterranean loft in NYC

The Urban House Rizzoli Barbara Bestor

Barbara Bestor
Floating bungalow in Venice, California

The Urban House Rizzoli Unstudio NYC

UNstudio NYC
Art collector’s loft in NYC

Doc - Jan 30, 2014, 5-10 PM - p12

Wells Mackereth
Little Venice House in London

The Urban House Rizzoli Wells Makereth

Wells Mackereth
Little Venice House in London

The Urban House Rizzoli Lorcan O'Herlihy

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
House in Dublin

The Urban House Rizzoli Simon Jacobsen

Simon Jacobsen (son of architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen)
Simon Jacobsen’s own townhouse in Georgetown, D.C.

The Urban House Rizzoli John Pawson

John Pawson
Apartment in Ghent, Belgim

The Urban House Rizzoli Andree Putnam

Andree Putnam
Apartment n San Sebastian, Spain

The Urban House Rizzoli Annabelle Seldorf

Annabelle Seldorf
Townhouse in the East Village, NYC

The Urban House Rizzoli 1100 Architect

1100 Architect
Duplex in TriBeCa, NYC

Doc - Jan 30, 2014, 5-10 PM - p2

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Architect’s own house in Venice, California

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Foodie Friday: Flour, Too by Joanne Chang

Pastry chef and Flour Bakery owner Joanne Chang just debuted her second cookbook, Flour, Too. This time around Chang includes recipes for the cafe’s most popular sweets and savories. I went to the book launch party at Flour’s newest outpost (in my neighborhood!) and sampled all the goodies. Here are my Instagram photos. Now I need to try out the recipes in my own kitchen. I’m hosting a 6th grade graduation brunch for 25 this Sunday, so it’s perfect timing. The problem will be which to choose . . .















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Fine Print: Irving Harper Works in Paper

Irving Harper: Works in Paper (Skira Rizzoli, $45) is a monograph that showcases the designer’s never exhibited fantastical paper sculptures. Harper, who is 95-years-old, worked in George Nelson’s studio for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s. It was he who designed the Marshmallow sofa and the Ball clock, as well as the Herman Miller logo. He began constructing his uniquties in his Westchester County home back in 1963, “to relieve stress.” He stopped about 10 years ago, because he ran out of space to display them; ore than three hundred works fill his house and barn.


The pieces, which include people, animals, and abstracts, are made “mostly out of paperboard, but also balsa wood, beads, straws, toothpicks, pinecones, telephone wire, twigs, dolls’ limbs and glass eyeballs, Mylar sheets, Styrofoam lumps, and pieces of the ceramic clocks.” Really, you need to see them to appreciate them…

Irving Haper paper sculpture

 Construction paper, ping pong balls, on wood base

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted construction paper, found wooden spindles, on wood base


Construction paper

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted corrugated cardboard, painted ping pong balls, twigs

Irving Haper paper sculpture


Construction paper, mat board, hat pins, glass doll eyes

Irving Harper paper sculpture figures

Paperboard, toothpicks, clock parts, pearls, plastic eyes

Irving Haper home

Irving Harper’s home

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Fine Print: 25 Best Design Books of 2012

The constant stream of books into my home may be the best perk of being a blogger. While I’ve been aiming to pare down my possessions, I still revel in the glossy pages of beautifully photographed rooms. It helps that I have a rather grand set of built in bookshelves in my living room, which looks best when full. Then of course there’s the console table behind the sofa that needs a stack, and the coffee table (a Heywood-Wakefield with a top that turns, inherited from my husband’s grandparents). A couple of these don’t squarely fall in the design category, and I don’t actually own every one, but I did browse and love them all.


b e s t  d e s i g n  b o o k s  2 0 1 2


Steven Gambrel Time & Space, Abrams 2012


Playful Home, Rizzoli 2012


Kelly Wearstler Rhapsody, Rizzoli 2012


Diane Keaton House, Rizzoli 2012


 Classical Chinese Furniture, Vendome Press 2012


Brooklyn Makers, Princeton Architectural Press 2012


Susanna Salk Be Your Own Decorator, Rizzoli 2012


Jennifer Post Pure Space, Rizzoli 2012


Cupcakes and Cashmere, Abrams 2012


Home by Novogratz, Artisan 2012


Young House Love, Artisan 2012


Amanda Nisbet Dazzling Design, Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2012


The Art Book, Phaidon 2012


This Old House The Best Homes, Abrams 2012


Alvar Aalto Houses, Princeton Architectural Press 2012


Thom Filicia American Beauty, Clarkson Potter 2012


Roman and Williams Things We Made, Rizzoli 2012


Interiors | Atelier AM, Rizzoli 2012


The Iconic Interior, Abrams 2012


200 Small Apartment Ideas, Firefly Books 2012


Ann Getty Interior Style, Rizzoli 2012


 Lars Bolander Interior Design and Inspiration, TeNeues 2012


Eric Cohler Cohler on Design, The Monacelli Press 2012


Darryl Carter The Collected Home, Clarkson Potter 2012


French Flair Modern Vintage Interiors, Flammarion 2012

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Fine Print: Kelly Wearstler Rhapsody

Photo: Thomas Whiteside

Beverly Hills-based interior designer (fashion designer, “Top Design” judge, trendsetter, cool chick) Kelly Wearstler, has a new book—Kelly Wearstler: Rhapsody (Rizzoli New York, 2012). The glossy, glamour-filled book, her fourth, will be released next Tuesday, October 23rd.  It profiles Wearstler’s latest residential designs (previously unpublished) and her sumptuous new hotels, as well as her creative process. I have a copy already and I’m thoroughly enjoying the photographs, though I wish there was more information to accompany them.

Kelly Wearstler: Rhapsody
Rizzoli New York, 2012

Flash sale site One King’s Lane is offering the boook for pre-order today for only $38  instead of $55, starting at 11 am ET. (If you need an invite email me.) The second Kelly Wearstler “Tastemaker Tag Sale” also goes live at the same time this morning. The sale will feature home accessories from Wearstler’s archive.

Kelly Wearstler “Tastemaker Tag Sale” launches today.


Inspiration trays: A library of all the elements in a given room. Each piece is loose and free-gloating to accommodate changes during the course of a project. 

Artful hand-painted wall covering in a guest bedroom.

“I wanted to create something very free-form and alluring in this space. The organic sweep of the staircase juxtaposed against the graphic features of the grand stair vestibule manifests a kind of sexual tension.”

Wearstler aimed to mirror the movement of the rug pattern with the black and white photography hung on the wall, in a varying frame and matte sizes. Fuchsia alligator chairs are the focal point. 

A punk-inspired girl’s bathroom. 

A  boy’s bathroom in black and white stone.

Bold hand-painted silk wall covering in a private receiving room. 

Art deco-inspired ski carpet and espresso-brown 1960s Italian leather chairs. 

“If there is one thing I know, it is that the color of a room has a profound impact on the mood and energy of its inhabitants.”


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Fine Print: Miles Redd The Big Book of Chic

I’ve got a ridiculous stack of luscious design books on my (Heywood-Wakefield) coffee table. I may have to start posting twice a day in order to work them all in. If you’re on top of things, you’ll note that a couple of these came out in the spring. Eek.

Let’s start with NYC interior designer Miles Redd’s  The Big Book of Chic (October 2012, Assouline), which I don’t even actually have IRL.  However, Assouline did provide me with a digital version and press images. Plus, I found a nifty video on their site in which Miles waxes poetic on the roots of his personal style and his vision for this printed masterpiece.

“This is a book about dreams coming true; the curiosities in the rooms I have decorated; and the people, artists, and places that have inspired me.”

There are some good glimpses of his character and aesthetic from this video. He’s quite appealing. There are also stills of the pages of color-drenched, carefully curated rooms. My favorite nugget:

“I think my love of color came from my mother’s love to dress me up in like, pastel jeans. . .She just would go crazy [with] apricot sorbet color sweaters and mattress plaid pants. I took to it pretty quickly.”

Hailing from Atlanta, Redd moved to NYC to study film at NYU, though his true interest lay in set design. After graduating he worked for antiques dealer John Rosselli, and then assisted decorator Bunny Williams. I plan to meet later this month when she’s in Boston promoting her new line of furniture. I shall ask her about him! Redd established his own firm in 1998.

“Great rooms are made up of great objects.”

Photo credits clockwise: © Doug Friedman; reprinted with permission from House Beautiful © 1997 Hearst Communications, Inc., all rights reserved, photo by Oberto Gili; © Paul Costello; © Quentin Bacon; © Martyn Thompson.

A few of the rooms in the book:

Courtesy of Marlyn Thompson

© Francesco Lagnese

© James Merrill  |  © Paul Costello

His use of color is spectacular, dont you think?

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Giveaway: Win Amanda Nisbet’s New Book

I often feature rooms designed by Amanda Nisbet, so was excited to learn she has her first book coming out. (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, September 15, 2012.).  In celebration of “What’s New What’s Next at the New York Design Center this Thursday, I am giving away a signed copy. Just leave a comment on this post about a new interior design look you love, or one you’d wish would go away.

Stop by the NYDC for “What’s New What’s Next”

Designers, editors, and topics include:
Thom Filicia & Elle Decor editor, Michael Boodro
Charlotte Moss & House Beautiful editor, Newell Turner
 Simon Doonan on Jonathan Adler’s new collection for Kravet
Celerie Kemble on her new book Black & White
Amanda Nisbet on her new book Dazzling Designs

WHATWhat’s New, What’s Next
WHERE: New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Ave., NYC
WHEN: September 13, 2012 – 3-9pm
RSVP: Click here.

A M A N D A   N I S B E T
I love the colors and patterns she infuses into her classic designs, which lighten the mood.

To enter to win a signed copy of Amanda Nisbet’s Dazzling Designs, leave a comment on this post about a new look you love or a look you are totally over already. Be sure it posts with your email address so I can contact you if you win. Deadline to enter is Monday, Sept. 17 at midnight E.S.T.


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Fine Print: Oberto Gilli Home Sweet Home

Although it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, stores are fervently blasting Christmas tunes to get shoppers in the mood. I prefer to do my shopping online, with my sound shut off.  Between intrusive tunes and the disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores, I thought it would be helpful to start featuring the best design-related coffee table books that have been published recently. While I’m anti-paper in most aspects of my life, I still adore a glossy book. This one makes a beautiful holiday gift.

Oberto Gill: Home Sweet Home, Rizzoli, October 2011

Oberto Gill: Home Sweet Home showcases “sumptuous and bohemian interiors” shot by Oberto Gilli throughout his career. (His work has appeared in House & Garden, Town & Country, Vogue.) There are photos of more than 40 homes shown in full, from New York City penthouses and artist lofts to seventeenth-century Italian villas and country homes in Morocco. Here is a sampling:

Decorator Muriel Brandolini’s first apartment in New York, 1992

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Oberto Gili’s home in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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Oberto Gili’s home in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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Artist and photographer Andres Serrano, New York City, 2000

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Artist Ellsworth Kelly’s studio in Spencertown, New York, 1996

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Vineyard owners Laura di Collobiano & Moreno Petrini’s 16th century abode in Tuscany, 2007

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Oberto Gili’s home in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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Paola Igliori (poet, photographer, writer, filmmaker), Villa Lina, Lazio, Italy, 2008

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Oberto Gili’s home in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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Landscape architect Paolo Pejrone’s home in Italy, 2010

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Artist Anish Kapoor’s house, Notting HIll Gate, London, 1998

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Gallery owner John Cheim’s loft in New York City, 1989

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Oberto Gili’s home in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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Isabella Rosselini’s barn in Bellport, Long Island, 2010

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Oberto Gili’s studio in Piedmont, Italy, 2010

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For more about the man, I recommend New York Social Diary’s fantastic tour of Gilli’s brownstone in the West Village.

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