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Peek Inside the Homes of Bette Midler, Martha Stewart, and John Mellencamp

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Peek Inside the Homes of Bette Midler, Martha Stewart, and John Mellencamp

By James Tarmy
September 6, 2018

Peek Inside the Homes of Bette Midler, Martha Stewart, and John Mellencamp

Flip through virtually any design magazine today, and you’ll get an “inside look” into a celebrity’s newly completed home. There will be furniture that seems to have never been sat on, kitchens devoid of cookware let alone food, and bedrooms that appear to be designed for a house museum devoted to Generic Good Taste.

The photographer William Abranowicz has certainly captured his fair share of these interiors in his 40-year-long career; he’s done work +for Architectural DigestElle Decor, and dozens of other glossies. But he’s also managed to stumble across some genuinely striking homes (which often still belong to celebrities) that manage to express something warmly personal about their owners.

He’s compiled these interiors into  American Originals (Vendome Press, September). The following images are a sampling—they might appear to have nothing in common, but that, more or less, is the point.

Martha Stewart's kitchen

Martha Stewart’s kitchen

The copper pot- (and pan-, and mold-, and pitcher-, and everything else-) filled kitchen of Stewart’s Bedford, N.Y, home. Stewart, Abranowicz writes, commissioned him to shoot five features for her then-nascent magazine, Martha Stewart Living.

Source: Vendome Press

John Mellencamp's living room

John Mellencamp’s living room

Abranowicz describes Mellencamp’s home on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island as “modern Gothic.” It’s laid out in the shape of a crucifix, with austere interiors to match.

Source: Vendome Press

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's living room

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s living room

The couple has a well-documented history of real estate renovation (and investment), which Abranowicz helped memorialize with photographs in DeDeneres’s interior design book, Home. In this living area in the couple’s Santa Barbara, Calif.-area house, what appears to be a large Yayoi Kusama “infinity net” painting hangs alongside a wire sculpture by Ruth Asawa.

Source: Vendome Press

The living room in Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg's country house

The living room in Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg’s country house

Midler shares the weekend home in upstate New York with her husband, who Abranowicz describes as a “performance artist and commodities trader.” Abranowicz was commissioned by German Architectural Digest to photograph the house.

Source: Vendome Press

Bette Midler's guest room

Bette Midler’s guest room

The house was designed by Fernando Santangelo, who headed up the redesign of Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont in the 1990s.

Source: Vendome Press

Eve Ashcraft and Heather Smith MacIsaac's living room

Eve Ashcraft and Heather Smith MacIsaac’s living room

Abranowicz has photographed homes of the not-so-famous as well. Ashcraft, a color expert, and Smith MacIsaac, a travel writer and editor, have a striking, vibrant house in Manhattan.

Source: Vendome Press

Stephen Earle and Mitchell Gross's living room

Stephen Earle and Mitchell Gross’s living room

Even the minimal homes in Abranowicz’s book have something extraordinary. In this Manhattan apartment, Earle, a creative director for the developer Related Co., and Gross installed a dramatic wooden staircase.

Source: Vendome Press

Sean Scherer's living room

Sean Scherer’s living room

Scherer owns an antique store in the Catskills of upstate New York called Kabinett & Kammer and is, Abranowicz writes, “a maximalist who knows when to hold back.”

Source: Vendome Press

An interior of Susan and Keith Kroeger's Westchester, N.Y., compound

An interior of Susan and Keith Kroeger’s Westchester, N.Y., compound

The living room of the Kroegers, who have an architecture and landscape design firm, boasts a painting by Frank Stella that Keith bought for $75 when he was a sophomore at Princeton.

Source: Vendome Press

The dining room of Andrea Filippone and Eric Fleisher

The dining room of Andrea Filippone and Eric Fleisher

Filippone, an architect and landscape designer, and Fleisher, the director of horticulture at Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, created a 26-acre estate in Pottersville, N.J.

Source: Vendome Press

Cliff Fong's bedroom

Cliff Fong’s bedroom

Fong is an interior designer and has worked with Degeneres and di Rossi. It was through photographing the couple’s house that Abranowicz met Fong, who has an apartment in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood.

Source: Vendome Press

A gallery in Valerie von Sobel's house

A gallery in Valerie von Sobel’s house

Von Sobel, an artist and philanthropist, has an exquisitely eclectic house in Beverly Hills, including a gallery with wallpaper she commissioned based on a painting by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux she saw at the Louvre.

Source: Vendome Press

American Originals  is available Sept. 11.

American Originals is available Sept. 11.

Source: Vendome Press


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