Friday, January 17, 2014

FIfth Avenue Style: Howard Slatkin

I saved this one for today, because of its New York City roots. You see, Scott, my partner and friend for almost 8-years, is turning 50! Yeah, in addition to being a cradle robber, he's got a similar love for houses and an increasingly more tolerant understanding of my interior design whims. I know that these posts are really set up for the review of books - but I had to interject that little Happy Birthday to him. We're spending the weekend in New York City, and thus - my choice to share with all of you the beautiful book Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin, photos by Tria Giovan, published by Vendome Press.

Based totally on the renovation and decoration of his personal Manhattan apartment, the book catalogs room by room of the incredibly impressive home that Slatkin has made for himself.

The book starts off with a little blue print, hand drawn of course, of the whole apartment. I can't tell you how amazing I think this is! Why don't more designers showcase their work like this? As you flip through the pages of the book, room by room and vignette by vignette, all beautifully captured by Tria Giovan, quite possibly the best interior design photographer out there, you can flip back to the blue print and see the way all the rooms work together. It's brilliant! Especially for those of us who like books that cover a whole house.

The spaces are impressively arranged and furnished, and all of the vignettes are perfectly styled. I know I've said this of many books I've reviewed and suggested you buy, but if you like complexly layered vignettes, that are all-together gorgeous and sophisticated, you won't want to pass up Fifth Avenue Style.

Slatkin loves to entertain, create flower arrangements (in a dedicated flower room - by the way!!) and the book includes lots of tablescapes like this one.

The apartment is lovely at every angle, and fully decorated at every inch. It's very glamorous, very gilt, and very luxurious - no expense was spared, no detail overlooked. In the living room of the apartment you're immediately welcomed by windows overlooking Central Park. The room, Howard jokes, is his bowling alley. Long, and narrow, the room is broken into several different spaces. To help visually widen the space, Howard painted the floors and wood panels the same color, and then set in to create a light, cloud like space inspired totally by the colors of nature and the park, below.

On the opposite side of the living room you see the gorgeous painted floors, along with the paneled walls. Washed in a variety of colors to absorb all the right shadows and reflect the most light, Howard spent months with artists to get the exact right look - painting everything the same color was just not going to work. Once it was all perfect, the floors and walls were waxed. Here Howard also used mirrored doors to the dining room, helping to create symmetry to the windows on the opposite side. Gorgeous!

Off of the back hall is the Guest Suite, complete with a gorgeously dressed canopy bed and custom wallpaper hand-painted by an artist to match some Chinese wallpaper that Howard found but didn't have enough panels to do a whole room in. Can you imagine being a guest in Howard's apartment? Ah - a dream!

And here in the back hall, you can see the detail on the door to the Guest Suite. Each of these mahogany doors is inset with hardstones from the Urals, and hexagonal tortoiseshell veneer that Howard found at a work room in Paris. Details, details!

Here, in the banquette niche of the living room, Slatkin used gilt wood brackets with built in recessed lighting to showcase his collection of Chinese export porcelain birds. The silk velvet on the banquette is accented by the finest passementerie and was chosen by Howard as a place comfortable for several people to lounge for parties, but long enough to be a rather luxurious place to nap for Howard and his dog, Winnie. 

A bar in the living room, ready for any cocktail at a moments notice. A combination of tables makes up the vignette, and a gilt Louis XVI wall clock is from Hubert de Givenchy's personal collection. I find this so inspiring, as all the other vignettes created by Slatkin. He's so good!

Definitely obsessed with the details, Slatkin's apartment is unlike any other designer home I've seen, and his poetic accounts of how he came to his final decisions in decor and design, the trips he has taken, and the collection that he has amassed on those trips, all brought together here, in a home that is filled with such glamour and sophistication - well it's inspiring. Exactly what a book on interior design should be. So, if you're looking for the next great design book to add to your collection - look no further. I can assure you, this one will take you days to pour over, and give you years and years of inspiration for every room in your house ... even if you don't have a candle or silver room! Purchase available via amazon below.

Happy Reading! 


  1. Artie thank you for featuring Fifth Avenue Style, one of my favorite design books of 2013. The artistry throughout Howard's home is absolutely breathtaking!

    Happy Birthday to Scott, have a great time in NYC!
    The Arts by Karena

  2. Love the door enhancement with the tortoiseshell . What a creative eye!

  3. Happy Birthday to Scott. Hope your trip to NYC is fabulous. Love what you showed.. oooh. I want to see the whole book, guess I'll be buying! xo marlis

  4. INCREDIBLE! Happy Birthday celebrations! Thanks for sharing this awesome place! I can't stop admiring all the photos!!!

  5. Hi Scott, thank you for the beautiful editorial on my book, I am deeply grateful for your time, kindness and praise----and great generosity. I love your blog, filled with inspiration and beauty, so it is a great honor to be included and have your praise. With all best wishes, Howard

  6. This book is definitely on my to-purchase list. His taste is exquisite. Thanks for the post and happy birthday to Scott.

  7. Wishing a very happy birthday to a very talented man. Hope you two have a lovely weekend.

  8. Artie,
    I just found this post- love your embrace of the high and the low, the modern and the antique-

  9. Like and appreciate you post here . Great thanks for shared .