Without the New York Times Home & Garden section, our lives (or our Thursdays, at least) would be very bleak, very bleak indeed. (Who, for example, would tell us about $52K playhouses?) This week, the Gray Lady visits the Montauk, N.Y., summer rental of Richard Christiansen, head of the NYC-based Chandelier Creative ad agency. (The official company URL, by the way, is awesomeville.com). Anyway, the 1950s A-frame house plays weekend host to Christiansen's underlings—"the writings of Richard Branson and the love letters Ronald Reagan sent to Nancy Reagan gave him the idea to turn a rental in this Hamptons surf suburb into a weekend extension of his office." "Branson was all about dissolving the home-slash-work disconnect, so the personal becomes the professional,” he added. “You get better ideas that way."
Now, if you're thinking normal old company retreats at a Marriott on a highway in Tampa—where everyone wears suits and retires to their own rooms—this article laughs at you, and loudly. Turns out Christiansen's summer work weekends are cold, hard bonkers:
· Well, there's this: "[Richard] Branson, you see, used to invite his staff into bed 'for a cuddle,' a custom Mr. Christiansen adopted when he started Chandelier in his apartment seven years ago."
· "There are now pickup lines painted on the bathroom mirrors ('Hey I lost my number, Can I have yours?' reads one), Hudson’s Bay blankets on bunk beds and tepees on the lawn, so the place can sleep at least 20, as it does most weekends."
· Also on the grounds, there happen to be "a couple of thousand bees are making honey" in "beehives painted in yellow-and-white stripes, which vaguely resemble yacht ensigns."
· Because many of Christiansen's staffers are surfers, the Montauk property is nicknamed "Chandelier Surf Shack, a name you’ll find painted in hot pink on driftwood signs and embroidered onto pillowcases."
· Who's the inspiration for all this? Why, Martha Stewart, of course: "Last fall, Mr. Christiansen was invited to spend a weekend at Skylands, Martha Stewart’s thunderous stone mansion in Maine, where the pink granite gravel is washed each season and the pine needles lying on the ground are sieved of debris. He came away, he said, a changed man. 'It was all about a clarity of vision: Martha really lives her brand,' he said, still in awe."
Photo: Randy Harris/NYT
· The Craziest Lines in the Times Story on Pricey Playhouses [Curbed National]
· A Stage Set in Montauk, With Bees and Ocean [NYT]
· Chandelier Creative [official site]