In an issue packed with young, forward-thinking homeowners (several of whom are themselves cutting-edge talents leading the way in architecture and interior design), it may come as a surprise that a sense of history pulses so strongly through these pages. Indeed, November’s theme is “Reinventing Tradition,” and, far from being a conventional affair, our featured spaces exude an exciting energy and a decidedly contemporary blend of old and new.
Consider the 1863 Connecticut house on the cover, the retreat of influential AD100 designer Giancarlo Valle and his wife, Jane Keltner de Valle, a former AD editor. “The house was well-loved, and you could feel the good energy,” says Jane of the New England classic. “It had an unimposing formality that we tried to maintain.” In-demand designer Hugo Toro shares his slightly futuristic, superchic Paris apartment, commenting of his modus operandi: “I like to engage with traces of the past, as a way of preserving the soul of a place.” Also overseas, designer Bryan O’Sullivan has set up his family in the Barbican, a Brutalist London landmark that he’s been obsessed with since his student days. A sensitive renovation of the Grade II–listed concrete beauty ensued—“I’m all for preserving the past,” says O’Sullivan, while noting that the old kitchen definitely needed to be updated for modern-day life. He struck the balance perfectly.
In Brooklyn, an Italianate 1890s town house proved the ideal dwelling for a pair of artists with diametrically opposed creative needs in their live-work environment: Grammy Award–winning musician Jon Batiste makes a lot of noise, while writer Suleika Jaouad requires complete silence. The thick walls and large rooms of the gracious structure “could hold both,” Jaouad eloquently writes. History in the making.
Amy Astley’s letter appears in AD’s November 2023 issue. Never miss an issue when you subscribe to AD.