(Editor’s note: March WAG, our “Reinventing Design” issue, is now online with everything you need to turn your home into a pandemic-free paradise, plus new stores like Au Ciel Flowers & More, Barneys at Saks Greenwich and The Hamlet for a little retail therapy, home-buying trends from rising real estate star Rup Singh and home-selling tips from architect Ralph Mackin and gorgeous structures galore: )
If our March “Reinventing Design” issue seems to have taken on a new urgency, it’s because in the age of the coronavirus, the home – and everything attached to it – is more important than ever.
As interior designer and Wares columnist Cami writes this month, we are looking to reimagine our homes completely – delineating spaces to accommodate both school and office; squeezing the last square foot out of everything from kitchens to closets; and brightening the palette to lighten our moods. So this month, we’ve assembled experts across the board for tips on how to make your homes more enjoyable. Call it a design for living, with more suggestions on our Wits page.
Rising real estate star (and cover subject) Rup Singh, a Yonkers resident, and North Salem-based architect Ralph R. Mackin Jr. offer trends on homebuyers looking to move to the suburbs and suburban homeowners looking to sell, respectively. Each in his own way is a visionary, with Singh viewing real estate as a way to build community, while Mackin considers the past to create livable environments for present and future generations.
Several Waggers tackle subjects to help you feather those nests. Phil’s got everything you ever wanted to know about quilts and quilting – of growing interest to artists and hobbyists alike, particularly in Connecticut. What’s New Again columnist Katie reintroduces you to the wonderful world of rugs – which are often the most expensive items in a room and its real design anchors. Rugs can carry the personality of a small space or create separate spaces in one large area. Specifically, Katie writes about Oriental rugs from the Middle East, a subset of which is made up of Persian rugs. Persia is a subtheme of this issue, as you’ll see in our story about floral artist Minoo Hersini, owner of Au Ciel Flowers & More in Irvington, who pours her soul into her entirely organic arrangements. But that’s just one part of the story. In a Covid pivot, she and her development director-niece, Niliou Safinya, have opened a lifestyle boutique (the & More part of Au Ciel), whose unusual home goods, accessories and plants – all housed in the neoclassical former Cosmopolitan Building – will give you more ideas for decorating.
Hersini’s tutorials on flower arranging are just one of the many how-tos in this issue. Douglas Greenberg not only tells us about Garde Robe, the museum-quality storage and protection service for textiles that he owns with Chappaqua’s Adam Gilvar; he shows us how to care for our clothes the way Garde Robe does for top fashion designers and Hollywood stars. Yonkers resident Marie Rama, creator of Hudson Green plant-based sauces, is only too happy to whip up vegan recipes using her tasty products. (We topped some spinach tortellini with her Organic Meatless Bolognese. Delizioso.)
Elsewhere, we approach design in all its forms – for clothing (men’s accessories at the new Barneys at Saks in Greenwich, plus Neiman Marcus Westchester’s spring trends for mens and womenswear); retail itself (Jeremy, getting in touch with his British roots at the new The Hamlet in Mount Kisco); skincare (Valmont’s fabulously fizzy new Valmont DetO2X mask packets and Hydra3 Eye cream for dark circles); and wheels (Bob’s report on the new McLaren Artura, the first high-performance hybrid series supercar, opening a new era of electrification across the McLaren range; and new Wagger Melissa Hull’s take on flying in the pandemic era).
For a sheer nesting doll of design – interior, architectural, fashion – it’s hard to beat Debbi’s story on Casa de Campo, a Dominican Republic resort that’s home to Altos de Chavón, a 16thcentury Mediterranean-style villa that in turn houses Chavón, The School of Design, where you can learn about fashion and the visual arts.
But we also have gorgeous buildings galore, from Russian palaces (Barbara’s story) to recently conceived hotels (Jeremy); from the baronial setting for Goosefeather, the piquant nouvelle Chinese restaurant in Tarrytown (Jeremy again) ,and our House of the Month, this time from neighboring Greystone on Hudson, to a Bedford home that was once the estate of publishing scion Arthur Hawley Scribner.
You don’t have to live like a czarina or a publishing titan, however, to know that all the clichés are true: There’s no place like home, and that home is your castle. Our private spaces and our public ones – like the new Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall and the Vessel, both in Manhattan and both discussed in our opening essay – aren’t just about square footage. They are the magnificent shells of our souls that we create to remember a long-gone or recent past in an uncertain present for future generations. As such they are exquisite expressions of time.
A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes. Her short story “The Glass Door,” about love in the time of the coronavirus, was recently published by JMS. Read WAG’s serialization of “Seamless Sky” here. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.