Art / Lifestyle Featured

Trends in the Landscape – The Latest in High-Impact Grounds

Ridgefield, Connecticut | Krissy BlakeSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

A home’s exterior greenspaces are often the perfect place to find a moment of peace. From city plots to country estates, the configuration of a garden or the layout of a lawn can affect the overall feel of a property and add opportunities for connection and relaxation.

For those in the process of searching for the perfect view—or updating their existing grounds—here are five landscaping trends that are having an impact.

Embrace Rewilding

Munster, Ireland | David AshmoreIreland Sotheby’s International Realty

If you’re seeking to draw even more nature to your grounds while focusing on sustainability, rewilding may be the approach for you. The practice refers to the act of ecological restoration, and for gardens this can mean reestablishing natural habitats for everything from microorganisms and bees to birds and local mammals. Rewilding calls for an abundance of domestic wildflowers to appeal to pollinators, grasses that require little to no maintenance, and plants that are free to grow where they please. With a little time, your landscape should teem with life.

Go Monochrome

Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico | Oriana JuvelierPuerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty

In contrast to the maximalism of rewilding, the monochromatic landscaping trend thrives on simplicity. Create an outdoor space in a single hue: outfit a patio with all-white furniture and decorative accents to instill tranquility, and flow the theme outwards. In the garden, intersperse varying sizes and shapes of flowers in similar shades to please the eye. Contrast adds even more impact here: if you’re longing for variety, enliven your consistent backdrop with some well-chosen bright blooms.

Incorporate Water

Lucca, Italy | Daniela SpreaItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Sound is an important element to consider when creating a personal outdoor paradise, and the ambience of trickling water is of a piece with elevated landscaping. Not only does even the simplest water feature add a sense of calm to an outdoor space, but the choices are endless from a design perspective—from multi-level ponds that cascade into one another to modern marble fountains to natural stone waterfalls, an aquatic touch makes a garden even more appealing for those who like to listen.

Think Tall

Como, Italy | Luca D’AngeloItaly Sotheby’s International Realty

Don’t overlook the powers of height to make a landscape feel grand and sophisticated. Towering, manicured greenery like trees and topiaries lining a garden’s perimeter can make a space feel palatial and secluded. Planting tall varietals like hardy hibiscus, foxglove, and delphinium adds drama and instant visual impact to an otherwise flat garden. Raised flower beds are another trending way to bring height and dimension to your grounds—they improve soil drainage and help with the longevity of your plants and flowers.

Augment Indoor/Outdoor Living

Montecito, California | Sandy StahlSotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – East Valley Road Brokerage

Indoor/outdoor living spaces are always a desired feature of luxury homes, but properties that showcase a seamless flow between house and garden are even more in demand this year. Large sliding, retractable, or French doors help connect kitchens and living rooms with nature, and carrying through similar details—whether through color, pattern, or materials—lets a patio or garden become an extension of the home. To really encourage spending more time outdoors, consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen or fireplace.

Regardless of the size or style of your garden, there are myriad ways to approach a timely refresh. From letting flora get a little wild to creating an exceptional outdoor living space, this is the year to turn your landscape into a veritable sanctuary.

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Art / Lifestyle Featured

Inside Jimmy Fallon’s Unique Gramercy Park Home

In the late 1800s Manhattan, the concept of cooperative living—multiple families sharing one building—was a novelty, yet a group of developers who hit on the idea determined to move forward with it. They hired New Jersey–based architect George W. DaCunha to design an arresting Queen Anne–style building overlooking Gramercy Park, whose gates have, since 1844, been openable only by neighborhood residents in possession of a key. His ornate affair, completed in 1883, was a masterwork of redbrick, with terra cotta, brownstone, polished granite, and carved foliate accents; a mansard roof; and three of the city’s first hydraulic elevators. In its early days, the building was home to some of New York’s socially prominent families, and by the time of its 75th anniversary, had beckoned to such Hollywood icons as James Cagney and Margaret Hamilton. Ultimately, the building and its concept would survive early skeptics, going on to be known as a distinguished paradigm of the cooperative model. No expense has been spared in the meticulous maintenance of the building over its nearly 140-year lifespan. To this day the foyer retains elements of 19th-century charm—such as stained glass, mahogany woodwork, and leaded- and beveled-glass doors—although the original elevators have been replaced. New York, New York | Jeremy V. Stein & Debbie KorbSotheby’s International Realty – Downtown Manhattan Brokerage Add to the list of luminary residents comedian, actor, singer, writer, and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, who began purchasing space in the building in the early 2000s and over the ensuing years—alongside producer Nancy Juvonen, his wife—combined four apartments on three levels into one home of impressively generous scale and delightfully whimsical and vibrant style. Throughout its 4,950 square feet—a rarity on Gramercy Park outside townhouse living—vintage elements have been painstakingly maintained and restored, perfectly harmonizing with superior fixtures and finishes, contemporary comforts and conveniences, and state-of-art smart technology, from lighting to audiovisual systems. Occupying the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors of the building’s southwest corner, the home is appointed to the hilt with antiques and imaginative finds from around the world. In the colorful living room, 1940s wallpaper and Brooklyn Navy Yard woodwork endure alongside such modern amenities as an in-ceiling projector. In addition to an oversized island with plentiful storage and sitting space, custom cabinetry with E.R. Butler & Co. hardware, and top-caliber appliances, the cheerful kitchen features a gas fireplace with its original mantel and a walk-in soundproofed pantry. A classical staircase unites the public spaces with the private quarters—six restful and uniquely appointed bedrooms. Perched at the top is the owner’s suite, a skylit oasis boasting a gas fireplace, a wet bar, a sitting area, a bath with a separate steamshower and soaking tub, and two well-outfitted walk-in closets. An intercom allows for easy communication between the home’s two enchanting and thoughtfully equipped playrooms. On the eighth floor is the one-of-a-kind “saloon,” anchored by an antique bar that pays homage to the building’s provenance with its inlaid stained glass and intricate wood detailing. Striking ceiling beams and a dramatic stone fireplace contribute to a feeling of Old West warmth. Other highlights include a quiet office, a gym, and two convenient laundry rooms. Naturally, as has been the case since the earliest days of this innovative residential building, ownership conveys a coveted key to the park.
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Creating a Luxurious Kitchen

Art / Lifestyle

The Flavors of Latin America | A Conversation With Chef Leonor Espinosa

Leonor Espinosa, photo courtesy of Madrid Fusión

There are few things that connect us to our surroundings, experiences, and other cultures in the same way that food does. This is something that Chef Leonor Espinosa carries at the core of her relationship with cooking.

Named Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2017, Espinosa is a culinary powerhouse. She brings an anthropologist’s eye to local flavors: through her restaurant, Leo, Espinosa uses fine dining to celebrate ingredients from the geographically and socially complex regions of her home country of Colombia. And by way of their foundation, FUNLEO, she and her daughter use food as a way to encourage progress and well-being in compromised parts of the country. “Through Leo, we’ve developed a relationship with these communities,” she says. “We have the opportunity to feature their ingredients and products, encouraging more outside interest in these regions.”

Unfortunately, in the wake of the pandemic, Leo is currently closed for operations. “Fine dining is an experience, and it wasn’t something we could replicate in a different approach like home delivery,” says Espinosa. Like many restaurateurs, Espinosa also had to make the tough decision of closing her two Misia locations, restaurants that featured more casual environs and a menu of the food she grew up with.

But Espinosa’s passion for food remains undimmed. She reports that the pandemic has accentuated her love for cooking, and has given her the space to continue building her creativity and knowledge. Here, she unpacks the role food plays in our lives, and how it can lift our spirits even in challenging times.

A Taste of Latin America

Bogotá, Columbia, photo courtesy of Shutterstock Inc. / Christopher Winfield

Latin America is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. With jungles in the Amazon, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans on either side, and the valleys and mountains of the Andes, the area offers a vast array of unique ingredients. “This fusion of elements, combined with the fusion of cultures that took place in the discovery of America—and even before then—is manifested in our food,” says Espinosa.

To her, Colombia’s ingredients represent the unity and shared experiences of Latin America. “We can’t talk about the Colombian Amazon without referencing the Peruvian, Ecuadorian, or Brazilian Amazon regions,” she says. “The same happens with the Andes: they provide ingredients that are very specific to their land—land that extends across borders.”

These are the connections and relationships that chefs can feature in their cooking. “In fine dining, we get to tell the stories of what we have in common,” Espinosa muses. “Not just a territory, but a shared language, shared customs, and shared ingredients.”

A Flavorful Foundation

Photo courtesy of Leonor Espinosa

As part of her journey with food, Espinosa has been continuously influenced by her roots. Growing up in the Caribbean coast region of Colombia—a place that novelist Gabriel García Márquez categorized as a “different dimension”—she was exposed to a vibrant, energetic, fun-loving community. “This attitude was reflected in our food,” she says. “We’re also connected to the rest of the Caribbean through the land and the sea, and that’s clear in the food we eat.”

She also has clear memories of the flavors she would share with her family from the interior of Colombia. Smoked ingredients, coconut milk, peppers—these are all flavors she continues to use in her home cooking.

Now, in a season where she has more time than ever to cook for herself, Espinosa continues to treat herself and her close friends and family. “My connection to the action of cooking—and the action of creating and learning more about food—has grown,” she says.

Finding Comfort in Food

Photo courtesy of Leonor Espinosa

As we continue to navigate uncertainty, food can provide us with comfort and a link to places and people we’ve been cut off from. “The food that connects us to familiar flavors, a specific place, a memory is comfort food,” she says. “By generating well-being and happiness, this food helps us nourish our souls.”

For those who aren’t too comfortable creating these experiences for themselves yet, Espinosa suggests trial and error. “I think we can all cook: I find it hard to believe that anyone couldn’t boil an egg, at least” she says. “It’s important to try different things so that we know what we like and what we don’t.” To her, a recipe is just a guide—it’s up to the individual cook to add their own creativity and preferences to make the dish their own.

A New Path for Restaurants

Photo courtesy of Leonor Espinosa

While operations at Leo are paused, Espinosa and her team have focused their efforts on building a new brand that offers the food she cooks at her home. The food has Asian and Middle Eastern influences, and is delivered to customers in Bogotá. Meanwhile, she can’t help but think about the future of restaurants following the pandemic.

“The pandemic has forced restaurants to go back to local ingredients and reconnect with rural regions,” she says. “I expect that we’ll see more of this change going forward.” This will only be an opportunity to continue to celebrate the vast diversity of ingredients that exist in Colombia and Latin America.

For continued inspiration, read about the eight women changing architecture around the world, and how designer Ingrid Fetell Lee brings joy to any space.

Art / Lifestyle

Sotheby’s | Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery opened its doors in 2002, bringing a pioneering spirit and far reaching vision to Chelsea’s vibrant gallery district. Unique among his peers, Bryce Wolkowitz developed a program to compete with established galleries by investigating the intersection of art and technology in a manner where tradition and innovation find themselves as collaborators in a nascent dialogue on the importance of art in contemporary society. Eighteen years later, Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery continues the dialogue with an expanding catalogue of artists who have made substantial contributions in the fields of photography, painting, sculpture and media art. Bryce has organized over 120 exhibitions and has been an active participant in International Art fairs over this time.

Stephen Wilkes | Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Day to Night, 2015 | $21,500 The gallery offers advisement, planning and execution of commissions for the public and private sectors. His repertoire of artists have participated in major site-specific and public installations including Jim Campbell’s LED work for the top exterior of the Salesforce Tower, S.F., Jose Parla’s 90-foot mural for the lobby of One World Trade Center, N.Y., Edward Burtynsky’s collaboration with Daniel Libeskind for the National Holocaust Museum, Ontario, Canada and Ben Rubin’s multi-media installation for the lobby of Renzo Piano’s New York Times Building, N.Y. Their artists have worked with noted architects on previous projects including Peter Marino, Snohetta, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, Gabellini Sheppard Associates, and SHoP Architects to name a few.

Niko Luoma | Self-titled Adaptation of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe (1968)/ Version 2, 2019 | $21,500 Bryce has organized numerous exhibitions of his artist’s works, in the US, Europe and Asia, and has placed significant works across all media within Institutions, Foundations, corporate collections and private collectors. Among them The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Albright Knox Art Gallery, The Borusan Foundation, Turkey, & The Thoma Foundation, Chicago, among others.

Edward Burtynsky | Uralkali Potash Mine #6, Berezniki, Russia, 2017/2018 | $22,000

The galleries artists have contributed to major Biennials world-wide. Additionally, the gallery has published and contributed to numerous monographs of their artists throughout the years.

Discover more works from the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery for sale through Sotheby’s

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Fresh Air | 5 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

Spring is in full effect in the northern hemisphere and as restrictions on some outdoor spaces begin to lift, here are five ways you can enjoy some much-needed sunshine and fresh air while practicing safe social distancing guidelines.