Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Barry Wine, An Original Decorator

I love the mannequins and the rug and the Barcelona chairs
Can you be kooky and have good taste?

I can't sleep, so I am reading The Sunday New York Times on line. I came across this article, which made me smile. Lately I have been wondering about all the original decorators out there, like are they a dying breed? Nowadays with so much HGTV (and other TV design, decor, DYI, flipped out houses), more decor magazines coming and going, design and decor blogs, it seems like most people want to aspire to making their personal spaces look like someone else's. To sell a house, we have to neuter it. To be magazine worthy, we have to ape what the magazines sell us.
I come from a place and time where such conformity was mocked, and certainly not appreciated as talent. I myself have been mocked for my decorating point of view, which I always prided as being unique. A stint on Rate My Space knocked me silly, and had me rushing to conform for approval. Luckily I came to my senses, and got back in touch with who I am, and thus, I have left the vintage medical hand colored illustrations of life size skeletons (front and back view) hanging in the guest room, along with a collection of crosses. I also kept my Gris Gris altar, something many New Orleans homes wouldn't be without.
So here we have Barry Wine's home as featured in The Sunday New York Times, and it feels so good to see somebody from my tribe getting some ink.

The headboard is fashioned from antique frames
glued together and hung from the ceiling
I love the collection of saint paintings -
I have a collection of women saint paintings

In the guest bathroom downstairs,
the limited-edition Nana polyester shower curtain
by the painter Lisa Yuskavage cost $1,500
"a very extravagant shower curtain," Mr. Wine said.
He bought it during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2006.

From The Sunday New York Times:

ON a recent afternoon, Barry Wine ladled out thick, homemade clam chowder to friends gathered around his marble kitchen island. Then he poured the leftovers into a steel canister and inserted the canister into his Pacojet, a $4,000 machine that will make ice cream out of nearly anything. If clam chowder ice cream turns out to be delicious, Mr. Wine, who was the owner and chef of the Quilted Giraffe in the 1970s and ’80s, will have scored another culinary triumph.
The same adventurous spirit that informs Mr. Wine’s cooking — Marian Burros in The New York Times called it “what other chefs aspired to” — pervades his freewheeling approach to interior design. In the living room, a mannequin is suspended from chains attached to the ceiling. Rorschach ink blots are displayed as art. On the second floor, an extra dining table that belonged to Mr. Wine’s father and stepmother in Detroit is set with plastic replicas of the foods he ate as a child. (The tub of fake cream cheese is utterly convincing.) A dozen or so Manolo Blahnik boxes, which Mr. Wine found outside the shoe store on West 54th Street in Manhattan, form a shrine-like sculpture.
The whimsical, anything-goes approach would seem more at home in a Williamsburg loft than on a bucolic estate in upstate New York with views of the Shawangunk Mountains. But Mr. Wine, 65, has always had the sensibility of a downtown artist and the ambitions of a country squire.
He has managed to satisfy both in one lifetime. He and his wife, Susan, opened the first Quilted Giraffe in New Paltz in 1975, after he gave up a career as a Wall Street lawyer. They moved the restaurant to Manhattan in 1979. Though Mr. Wine had never taken a cooking class — the closest he came, he said, was working at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee while he was in high school — he was lionized for his creations.
In 1973, the couple had purchased 80 acres in New Paltz, which included a stone house built by Dutch Huguenots in 1797. They used it as their main home until they moved to Manhattan, when it became a weekend residence. In 1992, when their restaurant closed, they took up full-time residence again.

See more photos and read more HERE

And yes I dined at The Quilted Giraffe many times, and it had a fabulous decor as well as fabulous food.

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