Celebrated Interior Designer Howard Slatkin certainly knows how to host a dinner party. From the moment you enter his elegant foyer, a stunning jewel box with references to Peter the Great's summer palace in Peterhof, you are taken with his striking sense of style. A row of Slatkin's legendary scented candles are artfully arraigned on a rare French console and tight bouquets of lily of the valley blooms reflect the light off an antique Venetian mirror. The room is a feast for the senses and a prelude to the rest of his exquisite, sprawling Fifth Avenue abode.
The sign of a great entertainer, Howard's low key, genteel demeanor instantly puts guests at ease, offering champagne in antique etched crystal flutes along with every one's favorite cocktail nibble, pigs in a blanket, nesting on an antique English silver tray.
I've had the pleasure of dining with Howard at his home on several occasions and those nights remain memorable both for the host's impeccable attention to detail and the sheer fun of the evening. Howard embraces the beauty of his environment and celebrates his home, sharing the joy that it brings to him with his guests.
Slatkin's new book, Fifth Avenue Style, (Vendome Press, 2013) is an homage to his fabulous Fifth Ave. abode. The book takes readers on an intimate tour of his sanctuary and chronicles the nearly three year renovation of the space creating most certainly one of the most luxurious, refined homes in Manhattan today. Lush photography highlights the exquisite details of each space as Howard walks us through the rooms, carefully detailing each exquisite design element, from choice of fabric and trims to the careful positioning of electrical outlets. The prose is informative and approachable, peppered with delightful anecdote's and a wealth of design information.
Having experienced Howard's legendary hospitality firsthand, I was thrilled to see special attention given to his impressive French Empire inspired dining room, a gorgeous confection of flora and fruit themed carved walls and a remarkable hand painted ceiling. It is both lavish and intimate; a space made for celebrations. Several pages of vignettes are devoted to his impressive collection of antique china, crystal and table linens; as Slatkin muses, "We all eat, so why not make it a feast for the eyes as well as the palate?"
Dining room inspiration included Raphael's Loggia at the Vatican and a French Empire Savonnerie carpet.
Chinese export Imari-style plates are set for the first course.
18th century plates in a spring time pattern celebrate the season.
A living room niche is home to a custom silk velvet banquette and flock of porcelain aviary.
A serene and elegant gallery welcomes guests.
The guest suite channels a dreamy secret garden with a fanciful French Empire steel and gilt bronze canopy of Indian printed scarves and walls covered in 18th century Chinese wallpaper.
Fifth Avenue Style is fabulous for so many reasons; it's a coveted view inside a majestic Manhattan home, but it's really Howard's ability to create an intimate living space with rooms meant to celebrate and share with others that make Fifth Avenue Style so stellar.