10 Questions: Thomas O'Brien

Summer Style Survey

Designer Thomas O'Brien shared his summer style with us:

The Color of Summer 2012:
For me it's green, always green.

All Time #1 Vacation Location:
I've just come back from Japan and I loved it. I think it's an amazing country. The Moss Garden in Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

Hotel You'd Love to Escape To:
I would go back to the Hotel Okura in Tokyo in a minute. It's a wonderful vintage hotel from the 1960s that blends true early modern design with a traditional Japanese aesthetic, in a completely refined way.

Most Prized Souvenir from Your Travels:
Currently I love all the cast iron cookware that I picked up in the Kappabashidori district in Tokyo, where a number of cookware and knife shops are all located together. It's been very nice this summer to cook with these different Japanese forms of cast iron pots and pans. They're so handsome and functional.

Planted in the Garden this Year:
I have these very beautiful, wonderful mature oak trees at my house on Long Island, but one winter one was seriously damaged in a storm. It's holding on at this point, but I worry about the trees so much. After years of looking, this spring I found a pair of very pretty young white oak trees to plant here, to add in and start a new generation. That's been the big garden project of this year. Hopefully they will grow for ages to come.

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Favorite Patio in the World:
I live by Central Park and I run there, especially in the summer. My favorite thing is to head down the Mall lined with American elms and end up at the stairs by the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, looking over the lake. That's the treat in the middle of my run. The Park is my patio and backyard.

Must Have Item for Summer Entertaining:
I love my round wood serving bowl from the Target Pantry collection. It's part of a group of pieces with a turned edge that fit so nicely in your hand. And it's great to use in multiples. I put out three in a row to hold a mix of summer salads of various kinds. It's become my summer entertaining routine.

Most Refreshing Summertime Drink:
I steep fresh ginger and lemon in water and make it into iced tea.

Essential Song for Your Party Playlist:
Shelby Lynne.

Best Book in the Beachbag:
In Japan I found all kinds of wonderful vintage American books at Tsutaya Books in Daikanyama, the neighborhood in Tokyo that is similar in some ways to Soho. And I brought home Alexis Lichine's New Encyclopedia of Wine and Spirits, the 1982 edition, by Alfred A. Knopf. It is one of the most engaging, informative and intriguing encyclopedic books I've ever found, and one I am actually reading all the way through. It's fascinating to me as an addition to all the cookbooks I collect, a truly rich source and so chic in and out.

Thanks, Thomas!

To celebrate summer, Apartment Therapy has asked some of the most stylish people we know to answer a few survey questions on how they enjoy the season. There's more to come!

(Image: Bethesda Fountain via Central Park Conservancy)

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