Thursday, November 4, 2010


It is with great pride and more than a little satisfaction (not to mention relief) that I officially announce the "latest edition to my family," Metropolitan Home DESIGN 100: THE LAST WORD IN MODERN INTERIORS (Filipacchi Publishing), which came into the world on October 13, 2010, weighing 2.8 pounds (according to It is just over eleven inches long—small for a baby, but about average for a design book, coffee tables being what they are.

People who know me are doubtlessly sick of hearing about this book, but—oddly enough—not everyone knows me, and I think it only fair to offer the rest of you the opportunity to peek inside this (my third) book for Filipacchi, the book publishing arm of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., the parent company of the late lamented Metropolitan Home magazine (my employer of some 18 years), which ceased publication in November of 2009.

As fans of Met Home know, the magazine ran an annual "Design 100" issue, which was a look at the best in the world of design, from public buildings and private homes to hotels, furnishings, accessories, ideas, and creative individuals. The DESIGN 100 book takes up this tradition with 100 of the best residences that have either appeared in the publication or that were photographed but never had a chance to run. Among the latter are this New York City apartment by designer, entrepreneur, and most humble potter, Jonathan Adler (photograph by Joshua McHugh).

The Adler project is No. 2 in the book, and the citation reads: "Most Singular Penthouse on the Upper West Side" (that's in Manhattan, in case you aren't familiar with the neighborhoods on our fair isle). The text reads, in part: "When a forward-thinking young couple bought this penthouse, they called in design guru Jonathan Adler to create a comfortable and playfully glamorous home. Aiming for 'hotel-ish opulence and squishiness,' Adler tried to make the new place look as though it had been around for a while, 'but not in a traditional way.'" Most of the furniture is custom, but the towering lamps are vintage. The decorative tiles on the far left entry wall are glazed in (what else?) platinum. For more Jonathan Adler designs, follow the link to his web site.

Here's the bedroom from the same apartment (that fabulous black-and-white hassock is by Madeline Weinrib for ABC Home):

The entries in DESIGN 100, by the way, are not presented in a hierarchy of "bestness," so No. 1 isn't "best-er" than No. 66. The order, in fact, was determined by the book's designer, Keith D'Mello, and his colleague, Jeffrey Felmus.

The 100 homes in DESIGN 100 are located in 26 states as well as in Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. They include reality-based, accessible homes as well as places like Gianni Verace's fabled beach house in Florida, Madonna's "Hollywood Glamour" bedroom in New York City, Betsey Johnson's color-saturated SoHo living room, and Vidal Sassoon's midcentury rambler in Beverly Hills. Among the designers whose names you may recognize are Barbara Barry, Diamond Baratta, Darryl Carter, Jamie Drake, Christian Duc, Kelly Hoppen, Kara Mann, Todd Oldham, Karim Rashid, Michael Smith, Kelly Wearstler, and Vicente Wolf.

Here's a little montage of photography included in DESIGN 100 from the Introduction to the book:

Top row, from left: No. 65, Dale Chihuly's studio in Seattle (photo by John Granen); No. 92, a restored Joseph Eichler home in Marin County (photo by Shaun Sullivan); No. 69, a stunning William J. Reese house in the Hamptons (photo by Antoine Bootz). Middle row, from left: No. 97, an Aspen, Colorado, home by Hugh Newell Jacobsen (photo by John Granen); No. 48, a home on the Baja Peninsula by Marsha Maytum of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (photo by Luis Gordoa); No. 56, a kitchen addition in Litchfield, Connecticut (photo by Tim Street-Porter). Bottom row, from left: No. 12, designer Doug Meyer's 1941 home in Miami, Florida (photo by Mark Roskams); No. 28 a timely kitchen designed by Glenn Heim in Miami (photo by Quentin Bacon); and finally...

That attention-grabbing orange shot in the lower right-hand corner (by John Reed Forsman) is No. 7, the "Brightest Idea for a Boys' Bath," from a vacation home by architects Min|Day (that's E.B. Min and Jeffrey Day), whose offices are in San Francisco and Omaha (the lakefront property is on the Iowa/Minnesota border). The clients' three sons share the bathroom, but there's no fighting over sinks, since there's one for each of them. Min and Day are fabulous architects, so although this is the only picture of the place in the book, I thought I'd let you see a few other shots of the house from the Min|Day web site (photos by Paul Crosby). I have to say I love the way the house cantilevers over the sloped grade to the water.

Color is great, but white is still madly popular for interiors. White paint outsells any other shade, tone, or hue by a huge margin. But there are all kinds of white interiors, and there are a variety in DESIGN 100. For starters, there's one of my favorites, No. 33, the ultimate white-on-white Miami home, designed by Toby Zack (photo by Carlos Domenech):

Have a good sense of humor? Designer Marjorie Skouras has. She brought a whole new meaning to "bringing the outside in" with No. 45, a master bedroom in—where else?—Los Angeles (photo by John Ellis).

There are restorations of homes in DESIGN 100 by such famous architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson, but one of my favorites is a home designed in Maui by the late great Italian modernist Ettore Sottsass with Johanna Grawunder. Not only do I love the design of entry No. 23, but I got to go to Hawaii to write the story. And who parceled out the writing assignments at Met Home, you may ask? Oh, it was me. What a coincidence! (The photo is by Grey Crawford who also found the assignment terribly inconvenient.)

And since we're on the subject of celebrity designers, have a gander at No. 95, the "Best Master Bath in Britain" (photo by David Garcia). This is the 30-by-30-foot spa retreat of no lesser design royalty that Sir Terence Conran in his Berkshire country home.

Okay, I'm almost done.

No. 34 is a wilderness compound in Colorado by architect Ron Mason (photo by Frank Ooms). It consists of a number of individual pavilions which, taken together, make up the entire house. This is the most recent building:

From the rustic we go to the ultimately refined with this Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz Manhattan apartment, No. 39 (photo by Antoine Bootz). Benjamin was called in by the client to refresh the place after a fire in a neighboring apartment caused some damage. It was originally designed by his mentor (and former employer), John Saladino.

Choosing the photos that went into DESIGN 100 and writing the texts was a real labor of love. It was fun and exciting, but bittersweet in the wake of Met Home's demise. Along with the rest of the magazine's staff, I wanted to offer our faithful fans an appropriate farewell—a bread-and-butter gift, if you will, from a grateful house guest—but the collection needed to be more than just a valediction, so DESIGN 100 was conceived as a working sourcebook of great ideas for home design, even for people who have never read an issue. We hope it will inspire creativity in fashioning personalized living spaces you can live in and love.

For now, for one parting shot, we meander to Williamsburg, one of the trendier sections of the Borough of Brooklyn (my very first home town), to see No. 94, a collaboration between the owners, designer Christopher Coleman and his partner, fashion designer Angel Sanchez (photo by Annie Schlechter). This kitchen shot, with its colorful custom-designed wallpaper, happens also to appear on the back cover of the book, which seems to be an appropriate place to say adios—for now. —Michael Lassell