Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decor Detective: Guess The Homeowner

Yesterday I received an email from a reader named Brenda alerting me to this Montauk property recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal.

The oceanfront parcel spans six acres and is currently for sale in the mid-twenty millions, although other offers may be tendered (in case you're interested).

But what I would like to know is, can you use your sleuthing powers to investigate the following photos and determine its celebrated owner? (Hint: it's a man.)

I'll stay by your side during your Sherlockian journey to make sure you don't veer too far off the beaten path.


The property consists of five ramshackle cottages strewn amid fields of untamed brush and wild grasslands. There was a main house once, but it burned down in 1979 and was never rebuilt. It's charming, but certainly not in any way ostentatious. So I think we can safely cross Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld and Andre Leon Talley off the list of possibilities, don't you?
(Two of the guest cottages)

Here's one of the guest cottages. So pretty. But don't let its bucolic beauty fool you. In the 1970's, this property was known more for being a sybaritic epicenter of cool than for being a Emersonian refuge. Every A-lister of the era partied here.

Here's the interior of one of the cottages. Setting aside the fact that it feels completely Bloomsburyish, what grabs your attention? Look at the furnishings. They're a mixture of antiques and well-worn classics. If I was to translate these attributes to a person, I might envision someone with good bone structure, craggy skin and beaten-up khakis. The owner also harbors a definite fondness for ethnic textiles, I would say. And the room manifests an undeniable confidence that may well indicate a fearless approach to life.

In the photo below, I spy an animal skull, global relics, more artful clutter and more drawings featuring wildlife. And is that a bottle of red paint on the wooden tray? The vase of humble wildflowers could reveal a passion for nature, as opposed to hothouses.

This next photo doesn't show much, but the vibe is definitely sexy, moody and mysterious and you know what they say: si monumentum requiris, circumspice (If you want to know me, look around).

Any guesses yet? If you know the answer already, skip to the comments section. If not, here's another photograph (and clue). The owner allows indigenous wildlife to roam free on his property, not surprising considering his profession.
Most of you are frantically raising your hands now, right?

For those who are still in the dark, this is the absolute last clue. When his biography is written, this titled sylph will feature in it.

Come now, what say you?

Answer to be posted tomorrow.

(Update: I shamefully confess that I woefully underestimated you people. You're a big pack of culturehounds, you are. As everyone guessed from the comments, the owner is Peter Beard. My next "Guess the Owner" quiz will have to be much, much more obscure to have any chance at all of stumping the rarefied likes of you.)

(All photos via here.)


Tavarua said...

Peter Beard

Style Court said...

Brilliant post Lisa. PB sounds right to me too, but you never know.

Jane said...

Yes Peter Beard was my pick too. Someone with confidence and strength who surrounds himself with items from his travels and his life and does not give a fig for whether it all matches or clashes, has currency or dutifully complies with the latest trend. I would much rather by a characterful property like this than a Recently Renovated Gold Plated Pretension! xoxo

DM said...

peter beard... one of his works is on the living room wall

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Tavarua, Style Court, Jane and Daniel: SHEEESH!!
All right, I can see what I'm dealing with. The next one will be much more obscure. :)

jakubowski said...

hmmm, for a shabby seeming as it is the audubon duck print sells retail for at the least 25k

jakubowski said...

more audubon


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jakubowski: LOVE that you know that.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh. I guessed correctly. Love Peter. Love that house.

Bart Boehlert said...

Hi Lisa, I was thinking Peter Beard as I read your clues, but I didn't know Lee Radziwill figured in the story - tell me about that!

Anonymous said...

Just to prove not all your readers are design geniuses... until the pic of Lee, I was thinking Dick Cavett!

Lucindaville said...

Lee Radziwill was my idol as a child! How much fun could I have had at that house hanging out with Peter and Lee?

kanishk said...

it all matches or clashes, has currency or dutifully complies with the latest trend.

wagyu steak

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