Friederike Kemp Biggs's NY Penthouse

Places To Write Home About by Polly Devlin

Writer and author, Polly Devlin (and full, disclosure, also mother of our co-founder Daisy Garnett), has gathered together surely some of the most fascinating, glamorous and diverse homes for her just-published book about New York interiors.  As she writes herself, these 24 houses ‘are fired by imagination and created by people who refuse to live in a narrowly functional world’.  They belong to artists, designers and people about town such as Hamish Bowles, European Editor-At-Large of American Vogue (it’s no coincidence that the title for the American version of this book is called New York: Behind Closed Doors).  They vary from a downtown brownstone crowded with modern art and flea market knick-knacks to grand duplexes on Park Avenue and a ‘Romanesque-style’ former Baptist Church in Harlem. One apartment owned by architects has an imposing three-storey brick wall whilst another has bright mauve silk from Egypt lining the hall walls.  It seems that page after page, each room is ever more extraordinary.  And matching the flamboyant, elegant interiors is Devlin’s writing – disarmingly frank about her subjects, the book makes for a very funny and absorbing read.   ‘The way we arrange our house interiors is an advertisement for our interior life’ she writes. ‘Emotional disharmony makes for disturbing and untidy and even slovenly environments; places have profound effects on well-being, and style and taste are like perfect manners’.  It’s a coffee table book that you’ll buy for others, but want to keep yourself.

— Francesca
20th September 2017