Category Archives: Design

At Home With Ariel Ashe- New York Observer

Interior Designer Ariel Ashe Invites Us in to Her Home

The sought-after decorator repurposes antiques and mixes ethnic with modern touches in her West Village home.

Ariel Ashe in her West Village home

“Piñon is the first thing I smell when I get off the plane in New Mexico,” said interior designer Ariel Ashe, of the aroma coming from the scented candle burning in her West Village apartment. Country music played in the light-filled, spacious one-bedroom furnished with ethnic rugs and ornaments.

When Ms. Ashe is not traveling and gathering inspiration for her esteemed design firm with architect Reinaldo Leandro,  Ashe+Leandro,  she meets him each day for coffee before heading to their charming two-room Soho studio. It’s rare to find an interior designer and architect as equal partners, but Ms. Ashe, an uncommon mix of worldliness from a small town in New Mexico, and Mr. Leandro, a young modernist from Venezuela, complement each other. Ms. Ashe invited us into her home to tell us how she designed for her most personal client, herself.

Ariel Ashe's living room. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You’ve been in this apartment for a year, have you always lived downtown in NYC? Always. I love my neighborhood—I’m on the third floor of a building with no elevator and I love it. No hanging around! There’s a lot of natural light in this apartment and three skylights.

How did you pick the art and decoration? I’ve been collecting stuff since I started working as an interior designer in 2002. Some pieces are client rejects—some are gifts from furniture makers and a few pieces are by my favorite woodworker, Rob Pluhowski. The art is from all over—again, gifts, purchases and stolen (from my parents).

Art wall featuring prints by Norman Bergsma. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You have great artwork here. Do you have a favorite piece of artwork? My Kate Moss obituary by Adam McEwen, which hangs above my fireplace in the living room and a tiny painting of Mick Jagger by Nikki Katsikas. Both are whimsical but brilliant. Adam McEwen was an obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming an artist. I also have a Richard Aldrich painting from the Bortolami Gallery, a space we designed a few years ago.

How did you approach designing your own apartment as opposed to a client’s? In exactly the same way. I thought about the best layout for me, chose a color palette, established a budget and got to work. We’ve done over 40 apartments in New York so I’ve had a lot of practice.

A teak root table with an antique lamp. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

You travel often. Is that essential as an interior designer? Yes. You can only get so much inspiration from magazines and Pinterest. From a hammock in Nicaragua to a tile floor on the Amalfi coast,  I take thousands of photos with my iPhone.

What are a few cities you draw inspiration from? Rome, Santa Fe, New York. I love places with strong history and culture. With culture comes great design and good food.

An antique bust and new skull. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

What makes New York home? Mostly the people. My sister and brother live here. My work is here. Although, I still consider New Mexico home. I’m starting a project in Placitas, N.M., with my dad who is a builder. Martha’s Vineyard is my home in the summer.

What are the most cherished items in your home? Things I’ve taken from my parents’ house. A bow and arrow set, Navajo rugs, an oil painting in my bedroom and a pink Three Musketeers book.

A hallway featuring a Navajo rug. Photo: Celeste Sloman/New York Observer

Do you have a favorite spot in your home? My closet is pretty amazing. My sister organized it for me the day I moved in and comes over to reorganize it. A fashionable friend lived here before me and the closet intimidated me at first. I couldn’t fill half of it but I’ve been working on that…

Do you have any advice for aspiring interior designers? Work hard: There’s nothing stopping you! Intern, assist and always do more than what’s asked of you. See art. Travel. Read books. Use all of this to develop a style. Don’t ask to leave early.

Read more at The Observer.

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At Home With Ryan Korban- New York Observer

At Home With Ryan Korban, Interior Designer to James Franco and Debra Messing

  • “I love luxe. I would sit on fur all the time if I could.” Ryan Korban’s unashamed delight in luxury is his trademark. He made his confession to the Observer from the fur-covered couch of his sumptuous Central Park South pad. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a view of Midtown Manhattan includes a plethora of custom furniture. 

    Philadelphia-born Mr. Korban replenishes his home’s floral displays each week shares his home with his boyfriend and three dogs, a Yorkie/Chihuahua, a Chihuahua, and Pomeranian. He has lived in New York City for 10 years, designing homes for stars including James Franco and Debra Messing. A favorite project was the Balenciaga store.

    “My life is about retail,” admitted the designer. “It’s figuring out what kind of shelf Prada puts their bags on. I love the energy this city puts into commercial spaces and my favorite spot, Madison Avenue is the center of that. It always needs to be fresh and moving.”

    What’s your favorite spot in your home? 

    The terrace! I love having my espresso outside every morning. The dogs can run around while I water my plants. We do a lot of entertaining and who’s kidding? I love drinking out there!

    First item you purchased for this apartment? 

    It was a custom-made, black-lacquered, three-paneled screen by Daniel Scuderi. There’s something really sexy about screens. 

    How did you pick the art and decoration? 

    It happenned organically, I’m always looking. The colors and textures are bronze, marble, shagreen, parchment, ostrich, alabaster, chrome, brass, and crystal. I love material that has soul. I also tried to keep my apartment more of a wash of color. If you notice the sconces above the fireplace, they’re painted the same gray as the walls to blend in. The crystal was quite a purchase for me. 

    What are a few of your most treasured items? 

    A pair of Maison Jansen lamps with crystal fruit bases, my bedroom sideboard from Italy, my antique parchment armoire, and a massive crystal from Phoenix Gallery in NYC. My zebra is the epitome of exotic fantasy. It died of natural causes, but I worked through the whole process with the maker. I wanted to be able to pick the skin, build a mannequin and pick the zebra’s pose, and that’s why it’s one of my favorites.

    How do you approach designing your own apartment as opposed to designing a client’s home?

    It’s been a process over the years. When I first started working, my home became a collection of all my projects, an overwhelming oasis of more is more. Now it’s very edited and I don’t veer off my path. For clients, I constantly experiment with new and different materials. 

    Which elements did you know you had to incorporate into your home?

    My two large custom sofas have been with me from my last apartment. The first was a Knoll sofa that I got at an auction and I had expanded. Later I got the second made to match and they’ve really grown with me. Their scale really dictated the living room layout but it ended up being a good thing. In two apartments before they were face to face, and now they’re back to back.

    What is a typical day like for you?

    Every day is different. I am all over meeting architects, clients, lighting designers, general contractors, structural engineers, metal workers, mill workers, and doing site visits, showroom visits, and budgets. There are always timelines. I’m currently working on a project on the Upper East Side, but all of my projects are pretty much at different phases; there’s never a dull moment. 

    You are one of the few interior designers that mix design and fashion. What’s the most overrated current trend?

    Street style. Whenever I go downtown it’s like every person is standing on the corner waiting for someone to take their picture. I see people getting dressed more for themselves uptown. Downtowners change their style with the wind, uptowners are not changing that blow-out for anybody! 

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At Home With Nicole Miller- New York Observer

At Home With Fashion Designer Nicole Miller in Her Tribeca Apartment

Nicole Miller in her home.  (Photo by Celeste Sloman/New York Observer)

“I like to spread out my Sunday newspapers with my coffee in the morning,” said Nicole Miller, while sprawled on her couch on a rainy afternoon in Tribeca. Ms. Miller shares the 3,200-square-foot loft with her husband, son and Godzilla, her beloved Rhodesian ridgeback. The palatial space consists of three bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, three bathrooms and a large living area. The arched windows and simplistic white walls are enhanced with views of the Freedom Tower. Bright accents, including orange and green rugs, Verner Panton royal blue chairs, and midnight black wood floors add depth to the airy space. Even Ms. Miller’s vase collection, ranging from a Scandinavian blue vase to a forest green vase handmade by her teenage son, proves that the beauty of the home’s décor lies in the details.From home goods and handbags, to jewelry and bridal gowns, Ms. Miller has been one the power players in the fashion industry since the 1980s. Calm and serene in demeanor, she confessed to being a real foodie. “My mother’s French, so I was always obsessed with food, except I hesitate to mention foie gras anymore because people want to kill you.” The designer can be found picking up fried sea urchin from Nobu, dining at Da Silvano, or finding the right ingredients at Chelsea Market for Bouillabaisse or risotto.

You are an avid collector of contemporary art. Have you always been collecting? I went to RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and the first paintings I ever bought were at RISD alumni auctions. The first one was a still life from one of the teachers. I’ve bought a lot from my friend Mary Boone who also attended RISD. As for my Ross Bleckner painting, I told Mary I wanted one and she said, “I will keep it in mind.” One day she called and said, “I have the Ross Bleckner for you.” I went over to the gallery and was thinking, “What if I don’t like it? How can I say no?” Then I walked in and said, “Oh my god. Sold!” She couldn’t have picked out a more perfect piece for me. I also love this painting by Julio Galán. He had been painting my dresses in Mexico and I ended up introducing him to my friend Paige Powell, who worked for Andy Warhol; Andy loved his work and bought some pieces.

Ms. Miller's living space. (Photo by Celeste Sloman/New York Observer)

Who designed your home and what are a few of your favorite things? Dan Rowen designed my home; you can see his modernist aesthetic. He had previously done many art galleries in the city. A few things I love are my Serge Mouille light fixture from a 1950s art dealer and a red Jean Prouvé sideboard that has all my kitchen stuff in it. The color makes the room so happy. My painting by Damien Loeb is a favorite, too. He actually lives in the neighborhood. 

How long have you lived here? When I first bought this apartment about 30 years ago, it was just one apartment, but since then I have connected two more spaces to the original loft space. My first apartment was on East 77th street, then I gradually crawled downtown to 52nd, then 38th, and so to here. I couldn’t live above 14th Street now. I always felt going home to Tribeca was like going home to the country at night. It has changed a lot since then, but it is still very much a neighborhood. The restaurants are great.

How does being a fashion designer influence your ideas for designing a home? Since I work in such an eclectic environment, I try to keep my apartment pretty sparse, however, it’s hard to keep things minimal the longer you live in a place. We also have a lot of plants here. My husband is more of the gardener, where as I check my basil every day and love herbs.

(Photo by Celeste Sloman/New York Observer)


You spent time studying fashion in Paris. How important a place is it for you?  Every year I go to Paris for the fabric show Premiére Vision, and sometimes for vacation. Having a French connection has always been meaningful to me. It was really helpful growing up speaking French and I’ve always had a lot of French friends. Paris always reenergizes me, but so do a lot of other places. I travel a lot in the United States and I love going to Los Angeles. New Orleans is one of the most fun cities. I’ve always loved the cities that have a culture and a personality.

I know you love to ski and wakeboard. How long have you been doing those activities and how did you start? I started taking waterski lessons about 12 years ago with Camille Duvall-Hero. She taught me how to get up on one ski. Later, I started skiing with Global Boarding in Sag Harbor. Now I ski, wakeboard and wake skate. My husband, son and I all enjoy it.

You’ve lived here for 30 years, what makes New York home? People always say, “Are you a New Yorker?” and I say, “Well, I didn’t grow up here, but I just can’t imagine living any place else.” I just have a sense of calm when I come back to New York. I’m always happy when I return from a trip. New York just feels like home. 

(Photo by Celeste Sloman/New York Observer)

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New York Observer: August Tastemakers

Tastemakers Ariana Rockefeller and Kerry Butler Tell Us What ‘Luxury’ Means to Them

From a garden terrace to truffles and caviar, these tastemakers offered their definition of luxurious living. Evan Jonigkeit

Evan Jonigkeit, actor

“My kind of luxury comes with a little bit of grittiness. While The Russian & Turkish Baths may be a little ‘janky,’ I feel fantastic after an hour of lounging around with a good friend, talking about the week and sweating out the drink or two I may have had the night before at The Narrows in Bushwick.”Ryan Korban. Photo by Patrick McMullan)

Ryan Korban, interior designer

“Luxury is having an incredible pair of shoes or an expensive bag that you wear to death. Or a formally decorated room that you use daily. The more worn-in something fabulous becomes, the better the story it will tell.” David Stark

David Stark, president and founder of David Stark Design and Production

“My definition of extreme luxury is not having to pack a bag to jump on a plane when I escape to my Miami home. Having a closet full of clothing there and heading to LaGuardia with just my laptop and keys in my pocket is the most liberating feeling ever.”Sara Story.

Sara Story, interior designer

“Luxury is finding free time to visit museums and incredible gallery shows. On my list (during my next few hours of free time!) is the Neue Galerie for its incredible mix of German and Austrian art, along with its Café Sabarsky, which has the best coffee and desserts. The New Museum downtown and David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea are two of my other favorites.”Ronny Kobo. Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images for ENK Fashion Coterie

Ronny Kobo, fashion designer.

“My definition of luxury living is the blessed freedom to truly experience this city, its art, food, people and global culture, and to have the rare opportunity to translate all that into fabrics and form. And then there’s Uber!”Chris Santos. Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

Chris Santos, chef

“There is nothing better than enjoying a beautiful day in the city. To me, the greatest luxury is being able to enjoy the sunshine without leaving my home. I am lucky enough to live in a building that has a beautiful and spacious landscaped roof deck. With built-in grills and incredible views of the city, it’s the ultimate luxury to host 50 of my closest friends for dinner parties while watching the sun set in the distance.”   Photo courtesy Vaunte.com)

Debra Larsen, founder of WorkHouse NYC, co-founder of Space 530 and principal at Transwestern Real Estate

“As I’m on my feet all day running between real estate projects, my luxury is massages. From taking the Space 530 and WorkHouse staff for a well-earned spa day at the Peninsula to popping into the ubiquitous Chinese walk-in shop—there’s no such thing as a bad massage in my book!”Anita Lo. Photo by Patrick McMullan)

Anita Lo, chef

“Like most chefs, I count as luxuries the usual trifecta of foie gras, truffles and caviar. But owning a high-end restaurant slightly alters this perception, as I have easy access to many fine ingredients. So luxury is not only the expensive ingredients, but also the ones that are hard to procure or bad for your health in quantities you desire: a just picked heirloom pepper, a Maine sweet shrimp at the height of its short season, or an entire tub of vacherin cheese.”Arianna Rockefeller Photo by Celeste Sloman/For New York Observer)

Ariana Rockefeller, fashion designer

“My definition of luxury is being able to find the most beautiful textiles from all over the world within walking distance of the garment center. Within an hour I can sort through the finest silks from Asia, linens from Italy and lace from France. It feels very luxurious to be at the fashion center of the world.”Kerry Butler. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation)

Kerry Butler, Tony-nominated actress currently starring in Under My Skin at the Little Shubert Theatre

“I have two daughters with a lot of toys, so my idea of luxury is space. I also love going to a fancy hotel like the St. Regis for breakfast to start my day off right. That’s my idea of luxury in New York.”  

Read more at the Observer

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New York Observer: July Tastemakers

How to Look Good On A Plane

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  • Sara Sampaio (Victoria's Secret PINK Model): "The answer is I am afraid I don’t! It's all about comfort for me, so I wear sweatshirts and leggings (I always travel in Victoria’s Secret Pink ones.) It's a battle to keep my skin and lips moisturized — the plane really makes my skin dry."

    Model Sara Sampaio and a bevy of tastemakers answered our most recent, pertinent question. “How do you look good on a plane?”
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Interview Magazine: DANNIJO HAS IT IN THE BAG

NEESHA ARTER
http://en.vogue.fr/uploads/images/thumbs/201308/rencontre_avec_dannijo_jodie_et_danielle_snyder_cr__atrices_bijoux_new_york_1456_north_545x.jpg

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of their accessories brand DANNIJO, sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder are launching their first Fall/Winter collection of handbags. Since their early beginnings crafting jewelry and teaching themselves wirework with their father’s medical tools, the sisters have been accessorizing the necks, wrists, and fingers of celebrities including Natalie Portman, Beyoncé, and Jessica Chastain. “Handbags are new territory for us,” says Jodie. “It was really exciting to start from scratch. Some aspects of design were easier, like hardware and detailing, because of our background in jewelry, but the brand was ready for it and it was a natural next step.”

The Italian-made handbag collection pays homage to the DANNIJO boho-chic aesthetic. The styles include a backpack, two clutches, two cross-bodies, a top-handle bag, a tote, and a pouch that can be worn on any occasion. “As always, we see our collections as day-to-night and versatile, so we wanted the bags to be easy to wear,” adds Danielle. “We thought of the bag as the accessory, as opposed to accessorizing bags, which is why the collection is so sleek and clean with subtle branded elements. Like all of our collections, there is an eclectic mix of inspiration: references from ’90s grunge to old Hollywood glam, to moments of minimalism.”

Each style is available in three to four colors, ranging from black and sapphire blue to rich oxblood and more neutral petrol green. The designers used materials such as flocked suede, graphic houndstooth raffia, tartan embossed hair calf, smooth calf leather, and metallic water snake. Jodie says, “We wanted them to be well made and high quality, but also be competitively priced, and there wasn’t much at this price point that spoke to our woman.” All styles retail from $498-$1198.

The Snyder sisters always design together, but they bring their individual perspectives to the process. Danielle says she is a bit more bohemian and rock-‘n’-roll inspired, while Jodie tends towards a more classic sensibility. When it comes to a favorite bag, Danielle weighs in, “The oxblood Lipton with bibbing is probably our favorite because it’s so easy to wear and really captures the spirit of our woman. For the Fall collection, we wanted to create a rich pallet of dark jewel tones in different textures; the Viper clutch in sapphire and emerald velvet has the texture of stingray and the black leather clutch has a diamond embossing that we juxtaposed with iconic metal hardware. I love that you can hold it by the top strap or wear it as a backpack. The assortment is about ease and utility while still being chic and beautiful.”

DANNIJO’S FIRST FALL HANDBAG COLLECTION WILL BE AVAILABLE AT BERGDORF GOODMAN AND ONLINE AT DANNIJO.COM FROM JULY 17.

Read more at Interview Magazine.

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New York Observer: June Tastemakers

Seth Meyers, Taylor Schilling and Jason Collins on Summer Hangouts

  • From a roof terrace with a bottle of Champagne to an outdoor restaurant or biking along the Hudson River, these are the spots to hunt New York’s elite this summer.

Read more at the Observer.

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