Monday, April 27

Sean Michael Beolchini, Milan

Sean Michael Beolchini, a photographer in Milan (below, elbow), hosted a dinner party last weekend during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual furniture fair and the reason I went to Italy. I arrived late--more shamefully than fashionably--to the 9:30 pm soiree. I was with some friends, and there'd been a curling-iron session and a foreign-bank withdrawal situation and a series of winding streets and four pairs of women's shoes on cobblestones and, and, and--never a good enough excuse for such tardiness. Still, Sean and the design-industry guests, seated around a massive rectangular dining table, greeted us warmly with wine, food and Italian chatter. The spinach quiche was a surprising delight...

I was invited to Sean's by Marco Velardi of Apartamento, a wonderful magazine about everyday interiors (mostly of very cool, eclectic people). And I never knew it existed. Somehow, in the sea of design in Milan, our paths crossed one night at the infamous Bar Basso. I found a Homebodies soulmate! If you like Homebodies, you must check out Apartamento. Even better, buy the book. The writing and the photography is fabulous.

Anyway, I ended up hanging out that night with Marco and his friend Andy Beach, author of the blog Reference Library, with whom he organized a much-talked-about pop-up store during the fair. Friendship solidified in the following days. And so, the dinner party.

I don't know much about Sean, except he's from DC and now lives in Italy. He shoots for Pig, which is the coolest magazine in Italy (said a graphic designer seated my left). And according to a quick Google search, he also co-founded the sunglasses company Super. (Google Image is informative, too.)

Sean was totally laid-back about this whole blog thing during the party, which kind of surprised me. I wasn't so sure I should leave the conversation, let alone budge from a prime spot in front of the Parmesan cheese, to take pictures of a photographer's home. Plus, all I had was an iPhone, though Sean offered to lend me one of his many cameras. No time to learn a new machine, though. I decided to just go at it on my own. Sorry about the poor quality, and Sean apologizes for the mess, just like everyone seems to, needlessly.

Dining Area
How amazing is the series of arcing lamps that mimic the room's arches? Overheard at the party, the story goes that Sean's relative swiped them from Corso Magenta, a main drag in Milan, when city workers were replacing these antique lights with new ones along the avenue. Do you believe it?! It's too great of a tale to be true.

Familiar faces can make uncool lateness feel a bit better. New York designers Kiel Mead and the trio known as Rich, Brilliant and Willing were there, as was British designer Max Lamb. And of course, my fellow late friends, Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov of Design Unseen (until recently, they were the girls from I.D.), and Kristin Victoria Barron of Kreist.

Nearby on sideboards and tabletops, sunglasses and assorted objects sit on organized piles of books, arranged to reveal the good bits.

Everyone kept asking me, "Did you get the Elvis?" Yes, see below. A portrait of Kiel at 11:26 pm or 23:26 pm, as some might say. The lanky hipster also coaches cross country at Pratt, his alma mater. We talk about running together. I am terrified of the challenge.

Sitting Area
Just below, a shot from the other side of the long, open room. A sitting area is adjacent to the dining area. There's a stack of televisions and a row of old folding cinema chairs. Pig and Apartamento are on the coffee table, along with a tiny skateboard. Life-size skateboards are plentiful, too. Also on the table are headphones, sneakers and tiny jars filled with tinier things.

The Skinny-Fat Chair
I loved this chair, how curvy the arms are, how narrow the back is, how wide the seat flairs. It goes everywhere. It's Beyonce. Theo Richardson of RBW liked it, too. That blur to the left is Kiel jumping into the shot. Weird, huh? Here's what happened in about one minute:

The Far End
Way in the back is white wall and an open space. Maybe Sean shoots here? There are a few clues to what might go on in this space: a bicycle with a banana seat, a rolling ladder and a lonely frame........Oh, and Marco claims the plant is his.

The apartment is below ground level. The windows look out onto the street.

Eventually we moved outside. Theo demanded to know everyone's middle name. Skinny design boys--all members of the New York-based American Design Club--in their skinny jeans. I sat in front of a bicycle. We talked about moving to Italy.


  1. Cool pad. I dig the orange kitchen clock and the gigantic plant. Am now thinking of designing kitchen cabinets such as these for my tiny country or island home I hope to build some day.

  2. Really cool place. Very homey. Makes me think the photographer is a cool guy. I love the curvy chair and the arches in a basement apartment. How cool is that?

    You were probably on time...Italian style. I'm from Argentina...lots of Italians. Anyway, on time is 2 hours after the supposed time to be there. Not kidding.

    Of course, you were with some I'm not sure it applies. But hey, you were trying to act as the Romans do. Right?

    I'm always eager to read your new adventures.

    Until next time!

    1. hi beatrize just hoping that you and the family
      are doing good .
      it is wais from san jose ca .

  3. This adventure feels so mid-'90s, or is it just so my mid-20s. Unexpected, romantic, foreign. Dreams and memories. Keep it up!

  4. love the banana seat bike! too funny. such and eclectic space, those are my favorite types of spaces for sure! :) fun post.

  5. This is actually from Lorna, but for some reason the blog is not accepting her post:

    This is so interesting. I love seeing other people's homes and yards/gardens too, including back yard patios, which tell a lot.

    You have inspired me to pick up the mess in my house so that I can take pix of it! Ever since putting in new flooring I have been delaying the picture taking.

    I hope you visit my blog and read the latest: The importance of being crazy.

  6. Oh, Liz!!! thanks for taking me along. I just so get those places, like I'm right there. Love that little kitchen, seems to have so much love, and the striped rug is cool and the lamps, ohlala... fabulous... I know, right... cobblestones and high heels..! I also love his organized clutter. Did you love Italy?

  7. that last photo takes the i can almost hear "moon river". thank god you posted! i missed the blog!

  8. Thanks for your comments, all! Sorry it's been a while--I was gone for 10 days and very little internet connection. I don't know....I think I was really officially late, Italian-style or not! Hani, wish you could've been there. Someday I'm coming to La Quinta to crash your dinner party!

  9. .......and then what happened....?????

    I nearly feel I was there, or is that just wishful thinking
    loved this installment of your interior life.

  10. OH, I absolutely covet those lamps. I do.