LATEST NEWS

Is What You Have Who You Are? Quirky Design Features That Reveal A Secret Self

By Archana Aithal Rose August 18, 2016

In his autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, actor Rob Lowe talks about a unique installation at Cary Grant’s Malibu home, when he goes there to hang out with his then-girlfriend, Grant’s stepdaughter. Lowe reckons it was the single best design feature he ever saw, “…put in a home—a restaurant style milk dispenser. I wanted to stick my entire face under it.” Now can you picture Cary Grant, the official poster boy for cosmopolitan swagger, standing in his kitchen with a tall glass of milk? Wine, maybe, Champagne, definitely, but milk? That quirky design feature just revealed that beneath his stylish veneer was a man of simple needs who had a thirst for well, milk.

Related: What do Lenny Kravitz, Justin Timberlake and LeBron James Know About Interior Design? Perhaps More Than You Thought.

Not much has changed since Rob Lowe’s earlier days. Little quirks in people’s homes speak volumes about their personality. Forget the run-of-the-mill luxury features; personal add-ons are increasingly becoming intrinsic to the homeowner’s’ self-expression. Homes have graduated from being just comfortable living spaces to museums that mirror our personalities. In his book, Snoop, Professor Sam Gosling calls it behavioral residue, “There is a subconscious way in which we affect our space.”

So what is the behavioral residue when someone has a gnome world in his apartment? At first, singer Michael Fredo’s West Village studio seems rather non-descript and standard, with a kitchen, bed and bathroom, strewn with an excess of his uncle Tommy Hilfiger’s designer merchandise. Everything’s rather humdrum, until, you open the closet to a real gnome world. Floor to ceiling covered in vegetation, cliffs, a beach, these hand-sculpted creatures are doing rather un-gnomely stuff like sipping a pina colada by the ocean or playing the piano. Music plays in the background to complete the trippy experience. Says Fredo, “Ever since I was a kid I’ve been creating secret worlds, some in closets, attics, basements, under flood boards and behind tiles in my mother’s house that she never knew about. One day, I’d like to buy a big townhouse in New York and build a life-size version in it.”

Related: Designers Build A Sleek Tower That Eats Smog And Makes Jewelry

If Fredo’s gnomes feel like a cuppa Joe, they could take the C-train to coffee connoisseur Chad Gallant’s CPW apartment. Most coffee lovers would just settle for a high-end tabletop coffee machine or an antique Italian press at best.

Chad however wanted his commitment to coffee to run a tad deeper—like, 3 feet in a wall, deeper. He had an espresso machine built into his kitchen wall. Chad thinks a lot can happen over coffee and it starts with questions over how the machine got there.

It’s obvious that food is very central to Top Chef judge, Padma Lakshmi’s being.  Writer of several cookbooks, New York Times columnist and a food show host, she says, “It’s something that nurtures me, physically and emotionally.” Naturally, the kitchen is central to her home, a place where she spends a lot of time with her daughter.

So, to get her daughter involved in cooking, Padma installed a kiddie kitchenette within the large kitchen of her Soho apartment. “My daughter loves to experiment, so she has her own spice drawers, along with kid-friendly equipment. We cook a lot together and often catch up on the day in the kitchen. With my busy schedule, it’s the perfect bonding time and helps us connect over our common passion-food.”

Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

Archana Aithal Rose’s articles have appeared in The Times of India, CNNGo, Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue, covering such broad range of topics as fashion, art, travel, culture, celebrities, architecture and technology. In addition to writing, Archana's also known for her mad photography and cooking skills.

  • AGORAFY
    Avocado toasts are the reason why millennials can’t afford a home, says one Australian real estate developer. #AvocadoToast #Millennials https://goo.gl/TBCPnv
  • AGORAFY
    Five years on since Superstorm Sandy, Queens’ coastal peninsula is in the midst of a development boom. #Development #Rockaways https://goo.gl/BRKRrD
  • AGORAFY
    It turns out, renters can’t get enough of good ol’ no-doorman-no-frills apartments. Too bad developers aren’t building any. #Doorman #LuxuryRentals https://goo.gl/pdnbo6
The Housing Market In Shenzhen, The Silicon Valley of China, Slows In 2017
The city of Shenzhen has been on the real estate radar for quite some time. It is known as the Silicon Valley of China. Many…
Developers Jump Aboard The Trend To Revamp Transit Hubs And Remake Cities
Never has the often used marketing term, “close to transportation” been more important when attracting home buyers. These days it’s not just homes that are…
Millennials Are Fueling The Current Sizzling Real Estate Market
Ever wondered why the hosts of home improvement shows seem to be getting progressively younger, along with the fresh-faced couples getting their new properties made…
The Best Cities For Recent Grads To Rent – Without Blowing Their Entire Paycheck
What’s next post graduation? For most, the logical answer is to find a job. After the excitement of finishing your studies and the big celebration,…
Luxury Knows No Limit In Malaysia As A Deluge Of New Developments Hit The Market
The amount of newly constructed high-end real estate in Malaysia is almost as abundant as the lush vegetation which covers the tropical landscape. Despite vacant…
Don’t Call It A Commune – Upscale Co-Living Is Attracting Major Development
What may have once been referred to as a commune is today termed a co-living space. The big news that it’s not hippies with hemp…
It’s Official—New York Is Now The Most Expensive City In The World To Build
As if you didn’t already know, it’s expensive to build in New York City. Not just expensive but now officially the most expensive place in…
An Ultimate Destination For The Most Comprehensive Real Estate Data, Agorafy Prepares To Launch Nationwide
In the coming days, Agorafy will be entering a new chapter. It is the beginning of a new growth cycle in real estate technology with…

TOP 10