New York City

You never feel indifferent about New York. It is beautiful and ugly, joyful and scary, very high and very low, it is King-Kong and 9/11, awesome and awful, but never dull.  I came here in 1962 as a child and fell in love. It is a lifetime affair. New York is a home to great art, music, theater and great inspiration, but it is more than that. It is a home to the most varied amalgam of humanity anywhere on the planet. A remarkable "Tolerance Laboratory", it is "live and let live" at work and working; something that our nation and the world should learn from. Beyond the obvious joy of finding amazing ethnic restaurants of any culinary distinction, you learn the greatest thing of all, that all people have more in common than not. People from the most foreign cultures have the same joys, sorrows and needs as you yourself. All small children are joyful and optimistic. The cultural differences are a coating over hearts and minds that are not alien. They are living, loving, and striving people with the same dream that brought me here; the dream to be free and live my life as best as I can and make the most of it. I know I would have become less than what I am without New York.

Robyn Drake, Designer

He came to my High School as a speaker lecturing on studying at Pratt, of his work, inspiring me to become an Interior Designer, something I felt instinctively but knew nothing about. Thanks for being a signpost in my life’s direction.

Arnold Freedman, Harold Leeds, Ed Carol, John Futterman and John Pile

They were my teachers at Pratt who opened my eyes to see and think as a designer. I put into practice what I learned from them every day. Ed Carol became a role model. His elegant manner of dressing and his gracious manner taught me by example how to be a gentleman.

Ben Baldwin

He was one of the great designer, also mentor and friend who gave me the opportunity to work for him. It was a magical time of inspiration and learning. Through him I met de Kooning, Capote, Lois Nevelson, Ward Bennet, Jack Lenor Larsen and Cartier Bresson. He exposed me to the gold standard of creative people. It changed my perceptions of what is possible.

James Maguire

He was head of the Ford and Earl Design offices in NY. Having a nose for talent, he employed a roster of designers like Bob Bray, Mike Schiable and Juan Montoya who all rose to design prominence. James was open to the design process, constantly pushing us beyond our comfort zone to reach for the best possible solution. Entrusting me with designing the townhouse of the legendary chairman of RCA, Robert Sarnoff, this well met challenge erased any doubts I had about my design vision.

Ken Scott

The most charismatic, intelligent and colorful character I have ever known. After seeing the Sarnoff house, he hired me to design his house in Cuernavaca Mexico. I moved there for a year and a half overseeing construction as well as interior design. Living in Cuernavaca at that time was extraordinary. Dolores del Rio and Helen Hays were often dinner companions. Parties at the homes of the international community were always an event. Ken once said, “Some day when you are older you will think of this time as one of the most interesting in your life”. He was right.

Michael Borden

Michael is an incredible talent in both fashion and interior design. I owe much to him for expressing the importance of styling and accessorizing at a time when I needed it and for introducing me to some of my most important clients at the beginning of my career.

Emily Fisher Landau

I was fortunate to work for Emily Fisher Landau, the great art collector in the beginning of my career. She had this radar for seeing the essential in what you looked at in one glance. She taught me this; when you look at something, understand your first impression. Do not analyze or filter with preconceptions. She is the most decisive person I ever met. The focus was always on design. I learned to trust my instincts from her and working with her made me a better designer. She once said, “Money can buy everything but time, don’t waste it.” She was right.

My Dear Friend

You are the most private person I have ever known. Your level of taste, design sense and a need to create the beauty you surround yourself with speaks of the true aesthete you are. Your glamour and style are that of a Bond Girl, sexy but never crass. I think you have the best walk I have ever seen. Like an empress entering her court, all heads turn when you appear. You have been an important part of my life since I first met you. I think of you as a sister and a muse. You have a passion for design which manifests itself in your beautiful homes. With the bounty that life has given you, your generosity to worthy causes and friends is by your very private nature of course, anonymous.

Larry Fisher

He was one of the most vital and “alive” men I have ever met. With unlimited energy, he worked hard, played hard and enjoying every waking moment. Tough as nails, an inveterate deal maker, yet he was always fair and correct. When he gave his word, it was in stone. While designing his residence in Bedford, New York we were reviewing drawings for the pool house. He crossed out the skylights with a red pencil. “Larry, the space will be very dark”, I gasped to no avail. When the house was up, he came to look at it, saying “It’s too dark in here”. I mentioned the canceled skylights. “Put it back in, never live with a mistake” was the only reply. I have lived the truth of that statement all my life. I remember Larry with great respect and admiration.  As the cliché goes, “They just don’t make them like him anymore”, and they don’t.

Shelley and Donald Rubin

When I first started working on their townhouse, Shelley and Donald would talk about a Museum they were planning to house an ever growing art collection. This dream became a reality in very short order. The Rubin Museum of Art is more than a repository of rare objects. More importantly, it is a vital living cultural fulcrum that touches the lives of many people of all ages and backgrounds using art to connect, and encourage understanding, among people of different cultures. Further, it is a gift to the city of New York and people from far and wide who experience it.
Color, art, exotic objects, ease and most important a personal style are the key elements to a Rubin Residence. Shelley is a joy to work with; intelligent, adventurous and open to new ideas and concepts, she embraces the design of her homes and the people who work on them. She is always positive as she navigates many obligations and projects. More than clients the Rubins have become great friends.

Paige Rense

Legendary editor in chief of Architectural Digest, Paige Rense invented the luxury interior design publication, period. She catapulted the best designers into a new level of public awareness thereby lifting the status of the entire profession. No magazine before was printed on such high quality paper and high resolution photo quality reproduction; the greatest asset you can give to an interior photo.  Her feature on my design for Princess Yasmin Aga Khan thrust my career into high gear when she published it in AD. It made all the difference. Paige saw the design world with a broad embracing vision, presenting interiors from the most restrained to the most eccentric as long as there was design honesty, style and pizazz. She is sorely missed by many in the design community. Currently working on a book about her husband, renowned artist Kenneth Noland keeps her very busy. We chat occasionlly. She is a great lady.

Ellin Dodge

Ellin has been a friend and guide to me for many years. She is a fantastic numerology consultant, working with corporations, celebrities and me. Ellin has been right on the button with her advice. Whenever I ignored her counsel, I was sorry. Thanks for all the good advice and patience.

Roberto Redo

Roberto came from one of the most prominent families in Mexico. He was charming, fun, had great innate talent and taste and was loved by all who met him. We became business partners for a couple of years. He had great flair, real sophistication of the kind one only acquires by living on an international scale and had incredible social contacts. He went his own way, finding 9 to 5 too restricting. I miss him and wish I could thank him for all the joy, really fabulous parties and the entrée to rarified and private places abroad. He is gone now. A real gentleman of the old international world, no one will ever replace him.

Anne Eisenhower

I met Anne through Roberto Redo. We became great friends instantly. At that time she was a practicing interior designer with her own firm and a fellow AD 100 designer. We went out socially and had the time of our lives. I had just designed Xenon and the party never stopped. We always helped each other professionally. Anne is a disciplined designer with great taste and a sense for living in a space. Upon her marriage, I was honored when she asked me to help manage her design of several homes here and abroad. Working closely with her was an invaluable lesson in intelligent design. She is a dear friend to this day and I hope till the last farewell we will all come to.

Karen Fisher

Karen’s passing has left a void in the world of Design and Architecture. A former design editor, she turned matchmaker for designers and architects to people seeking good, accredited professionals. She acquired a roster of reputable designers and architects whom she could trust to refer to her clients. I was fortunate to have gotten some great projects from her. Karen was not only an agent; she was a friend always there to advise me when needed. She gave much graciously and selflessly, with great style in all she undertook. It was Karen that introduced me to my clients Shelly and Donald Rubin for which I shall forever be grateful.

Emery von Sztankoczy

Both a life partner and a Business partner Emery has proven to be an extraordinary person in my life. He amazes me with his intuitive design talent. With an uncanny ability to visualize in 3D, his analysis of spatial relationships is invaluable. We design by complementing each other’s point of views and enjoy the process immensely, even the constructive arguments. He is a true left / right brain person who can see things both artistically from pragmatically. We understand each other’s strengths making each other better designers.