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How the Other Half Lives

I sometimes have a hard time explaining to people what it's really like to live and work in New York. The amount of wealth here is staggering but it's kind of like living in fantasy land. I decorate summer homes that are bigger than most American's main homes. It's a bit ridiculous and you really just have to laugh sometimes at the absurdity of it all. Especially when you start to think that a $500, 000 studio is actually quite reasonable. That's why I recommend reading The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan by Steven Gaines.

One of my favorite stories is about One Sutton Place South (above), whose residents included Bill Blass, Sigourney Weaver, Carolyne Roehm, and of course, C.Z. Guest (below). Guest lived with her family in the famous penthouse apartment which was unceremoniously stripped of it's former glory by hedge fund president Richard Perry and his wife Lisa. It was featured in September 2002 Vogue and the slick and stark white modern monstrosity can also be seen in the new Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People.

If I've learned anything from the interior design world in New York, it's that nouveau riche don't understand history nor do they care to learn. Hence the proliferation of historic homes that are razed to make room for McMansions. But I digress. The chapter on Sutton Place is also filled with great stories about the popular interior designers of the day including Dorothy Draper and Elsie de Wolfe that I know my fellow design junkies will appreciate. The book might also make you realize that how the other half lives isn't all it's cracked up to be.


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