"A good spam filter is worth its weight in gold." So says David Colman in Picky Fingers Root in America's Attic (The Times), and that is pretty much what each of the designers became in eBay's Second Annual Show House, soon on view on 63rd street (June 12 - 19). Featuring 8 designers who were given a budget between $8,000 and $22,000 (no hard line here), and told to get at least 90% of their items off of eBay. The designers (Lulu de Kwiatkowksi, Matthew Patrick Smyth, David Netto, Katie Ridder, Shawn Henderson, Thomas Jayne, Sheila Bridges, Isabel Bosquet) dealt with eBay in the same way they probably deal with clients, by disregarding as much as they could possibly get away with and making sure their rooms looked great. While a number of designers found beautiful things on eBay, like a bed from China for $678 and a custom woodworker's services from Georgia for $4,700), a few plugged their own products shamelessly (not from eBay and which didn't count towards the budget). While we applaud the eBay Show House concept, we wonder there isn't something corrupting the All-American eBay when New York's finest play ball.
In The House That Rattled Texas Windows, you only have to look at the front entrance and remember you are in Texas in 1950, not New Jersey 2002, to feel the disconnect between the modern aesthetic that the wealthy John and Dominique de Menil layed down in Houston 50 years ago and the traditional response of their neighbors. Designed by Philip Johnson and almost resembling a post war apartment in this city stretched over some very nice property, the house just recieved a $3.3 million restoration and is now owned by the de Menil Foundation, which also oversees the de Menil's awesome collection of modern art (over 15,000 pieces). Beyond the outside, the de Menil's artisitic taste and abilty to take beautiful risks still make current shelter magazines look boring.
Some things just catch your eye. Adam Silverman's (retired architect at age thrity something) pottery is one of them. You can see and buy them direct from www.atwaterpottery.com.
This kitchen counter (@ $4,000) is made of translucent Panelite, a honeycomb material, and it can be found at e-panelite.com and this was designed by Whitney Sander , www.sander-architects.com. . . . . .
Don't get Dean mixed up with Tom Riddle, from Harry Potter. You have to have a garden story. Even though it is more fun to shop, it is more gratifying to not read me any longer and click through to read Anne Raver's, Proof Enough That It's a Gift to Be Simple. If you love gardens and want to see someone who has spent a great deal of time designing them, including his own, this is for you. Dean Riddle's inspiration? The Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page and Classic Garden Design, by Rosemary Verey. MGR