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How To Spot a Design Junkie

High design isn't something that is out of reach anymore, and having the right chair has become as de rigueur as having the current bag or shoe.

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Mod Saarinen chair

Mod Saarinen chair.

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High design isn’t something that is out of reach anymore, and having the right chair has become as de rigueur as having the current bag or shoe. But there are some people who might be a little too slavish in their worship at the altar, especially if it’s one-of-a-kind and carved by George Nakashima. Here, a few experts list the tip-offs that tell you you’ve entered the home of a true “design junkie.”


MILES REED, Interior designer

1. A first edition Jansen Decoration book.
2. Subsciption to the World of Interiors.
3. iPhone.
4. Brown and white Beni Ourain Moroccan rugs.
5. Old Master drawings in French mats mixed with Cy Twombly  paintings.
6. Horn cups filled with black felt tip pins and “DON’T FORGET” pads, beside old school telephones.
7. 19th-century mahogany breakfast tray.
8. The odd piece of William Kent furniture.
9. Matchboxes in tortoiseshell covers.
10. Order.

SIMON DOONAN, Barneys New York’s creative director
1. White Mod Saarinen chair.
2. Fornasetti plate, preferably a really perverse one.
3. Adlo Turro goatskin cocktail cart.
4. Philippe Starck gnome stool.
5. A battered leather Chesterfield in forest green.
6. C Gere sunburst.
7. Jonathan Adler muse vase. (Yes, he is my significant other. So what!)
8. Bright yellow Goyard trunk at the end of the bed.
9. Plattner table.
10. Paul Evans four-poster bed.

ROBIN STANDEFER AND STEPHEN ALESCH, Principals of architecture firm Roman and Williams
1. Something nearby that was once living: buffalo fur, hippo skull, big black raven, caribou hide, skeletons, a hedgehog.
2. A library of well-worn design books, dog-eared with broken spines.
3. A custom Versalab coffee grinder.
4. Beautiful, substantial and extraordinary windows. Beefy expensive windows are a sign of devotion.
5. Three dozen somethings from your grandmother. It could be cameras, clam shells or gold bullion.
6. Anything from Wyeth.
7.  A found object from a faraway place that did not fit in their suitcase: driftwood the size of a man, a 100-pound chunk of coal, a 40-foot piece of rope the thickness of an arm.
8. Items with the largest age difference possible placed as close as possible. Nothing says design fanatic like a scrollwork chair from 1620 Denmark next to a new stereo.
9. Something carved by Alexander Noll.

REED KRAKOFF, Creative director of Coach
1. Marc Newsom’s Lockheed lounge.
2. Flock of Lalanne sheep.
3. Jean Michel Franc parchment Parsons table.
4. Prouvé presidents desk.

PETER SOM, Designer

1. Philippe Starck Ghost chair.
2. Castiglioni’s Arco Lamp.
3. Method Home products. (Bonus points for environmentally
sound product use.)
4. Saarinen tulip table.
5. Eames ‘la chaise.’
6. Peter Traag Mummy Chair.
7. Vitra miniatures. (Bonus if you have a menagerie of them.)
8. Stendig calendar.
9. Marcel Wanders Zepplin chandelier.
10. Alvar Aalto clear curved glass vase. (Bonus if you have different sizes.)