Magazine article Out

Ones to Watch

Magazine article Out

Ones to Watch

Article excerpt

WE SEARCHED THE COUNTRY TO BRING YOU FOUR TOP UP-AND-COMING GAY DESIGN TALENTS.

Age: 32

Sign: Taurus

Status: Single

Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Favorite room in his apartment: "My bedroom. I painted it Baker-Miller pink, a color proven to reduce anxiety, reduce appetite, and increase melatonin production. I was, like, 'Holy shit-if there is a color out there that can make me feel less stress, fall asleep fast, and lose some weight in the process, thank God!' And you know what? It works."

DAVID ALHADEFF

DESIGN STORE OWNER

At 29, David Alhadeff had the cojones to open a high-end design store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the Polish and Ukrainian neighborhood just one subway stop out of Manhattan that is known more for coffee-houses, thrift stores, and groovy restaurants than as a shopping destination for avant-garde design. Three years later insiders are comparing Alhadeff's shop, called the Future Perfect, to the legendary SoHo design store Moss. The stores aren't really that similar, but the vision is: an eye for the unusual, the willingness to take a chance on an unknown, and an almost childlike fascination with stuff-the good, the bad, and, yes, even the ugly. "I definitely don't take myself too seriously," admits the Seattle native. "I'm not afraid to put a golden pig on a $5,000 dining table." This month Alhadeff (with business partner Jill Goldhand) is opening A&G Merch next door, a more practical shop offering stylish versions of mundane but necessary home accessories and furnishings such as shower curtains and sofas-things most residents of this red-hot neighborhood go to Manhattan to buy.

The Future Perfect, 115 N. Sixth St., Brooklyn; (718) 599-6278

Ages: 34 and 40

Signs: Gemini and Sagittarius

Status: Partners for eight years; business partners for three

Location: Chicago

Favorite part of their house: "We have an 800-square-foot outdoor deck with unobstructed views of the skyline, and we just love it. We use it like an outdoor living room."

JAMES DOLENC & THOMAS RIKER

INTERIOR DESIGNERS

There's certainly no shortage of talented interior designers who are partners in life and business and-surprise!-gay. But there is most definitely a shortage of design teams who excel not just in creating gorgeous interior spaces but also in doing so with a specific business plan that takes the financial mysteries out of the process. JamesThomas is one such firm. James Dolenc has a master's in architecture, and Thomas Riker studied design. They met at a party while critiquing the host's faux Corinthian columns. Because both have worked extensively with corporate interiors, they approach every project from a business standpoint. "We both think residential design is highway robbery," says Riker, referring to the usual practice of seemingly random markups of furniture and services. Dolenc and Riker have taken the bold and unusual step of charging by the hour and creating a very specific proposal for each client that allots a specific number of hours to each design phase. That way clients know how much the project will cost, period. And it adds integrity to the design process. "When we show clients a $5,000 sofa, they know it's the best option, not the one that makes us the most money in markup," explains Dolenc. The results of their collaboration are beautiful: modern but not minimal interiors, with specific attention to rich materials mixed with just one carefully chosen color that is carried throughout Ultimately, a JamesThomas space is harmonious not just in design but also in meeting budget-and that makes for very happy clients. …

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