Thursday, August 9, 2018

Book Review: Friends* *Bearing Gifts by Joseph Cicio

What feels like a million years ago, I blogged about Joan Rivers' Connecticut kitchen, designed by her friend Joseph Cicio. Before being known as the designer responsible for this house, Joseph had been a long-time Vice President for Macy's, and more recently an executive with the fashion designer Donna Karan. A fascinating man, who prior to his high profile positions, had spent three years as a monastic monk. 

His memoir, FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts, is a look into the many different relationships that he built with his famous and influential friends, many of whom gave him gifts which he still cherishes today. While the stories are interesting, what I enjoyed most about the book,
 was the look into Cicio's Connecticut home. 

As I mentioned, Joseph was a close friend of Joan Rivers. He says: "Joan Rivers had a wonderful smile that could light up a room - because it was real. She loved being with people, but perhaps even more than that, she loved being with her dogs, including Max, one of her rescues."

It was Joan's kitchen that first brought my attention to Joseph. The beautiful vaulted ceiling of that space, giving towering walls that could be clad in anything imaginable.

I was gobsmacked. I still would give my right arm for this kitchen. It was in this moment that I curiously wondered what Joseph's own home may have looked like. If his penchant for displaying collections was brought out here only because Joan had so many wonderful things, or if he chose to live this way too. 

Then I saw his own kitchen. Stunning. I adore the bar set up in that low profile bamboo and wicker basket. Those glass cabinet doors with their sheer curtains behind, the roe buck antler collection, and the delftware. Be still my heart! 

Thankfully, in FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts we get a chance to look even further at his stunning Connecticut home. Here in the addition, a staircase hallway is lined with his collection of French intaglios. 

Mr. Cicio at a book signing in Manhattan, at the prestigious Lowell Hotel.

His home in Connecticut had been featured in Connecticut Cottages and Gardens in 2011, and I remember loving every single frame. It was so wonderful to see it again in his new book. Take a look: 

Such an interesting man, with some fascinating stories and even more fascinating collections - if you're an avid lover of books, design, and stories of famous and influential people, this book is definitely one you'll want to add to the collection. Take a closer look, and purchase a copy on Amazon via the link below. 


  1. Great post!
    I was fortunate to meet Joe when I was working in NYC!

  2. take me to amazon prime immediately

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