With a storied imagination, a collector’s passion and an obsessive attention to detail, Howard Slatkin has created a one-of-a-kind Fifth Avenue aerie in which every doorknob, tile and 19th-century silk lampshade was designed by him.
There are few people in today’s world who have the time, resources or inclination to build something as monumental as an 18th-century European palace within the confines of a Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre. Howard Slatkin, the interior designer and co-founder of a namesake home fragrance brand, has all three, and a simple mantra: “The desire to live in comfortable rooms filled with treasures that ultimately represent one’s journey through life,” he says.
The decorator has always been in high demand, as much for his perfectionism as for his personality. Congenial, slightly obsessive and profoundly well read (with an enviable ability to make references to foggy facts — like the name Jean-Étienne Liotard, an obscure Orientalist artist — without a conversational pause), Slatkin has garnered a loyal clientele over the years. The typically private Nili de Rothschild was quite exuberant when expressing her longtime devotion to the designer: “My late mother-in-law, Liliane de Rothschild, taught me a lot about decoration. Twenty years ago she concluded my education by introducing Howard to me. His sense of beauty is so exquisite and personal that our homes gained by his hand are not only pleasing to the eye but caressing to the heart.”
When Slatkin was looking for an apartment to buy in the city (the New Jersey countryside is home base and headquarters for his atelier and 20-member staff), the only requirements were “a location on upper Fifth, tall ceilings and a view of the park.”
After his broker faxed over floor plans of the Fifth Avenue property, Slatkin immediately put in an offer without ever stepping foot into the apartment.
Perched on a cashmere and suede sofa in the living room, elderflower iced tea in hand, Slatkin talks animatedly about his personal quest to transform the prewar co-op into a showcase of Old World craftsmanship and custom details — every single doorknob, tile and 19th-century silk lampshade is one of a kind designed by him.
Read the rest of the article and see the home here