Today the Decor Lounge sits down with interior designer and art advisor Richard Rabel. Through his company, Richard|Rabel: Interiors + Art, he provides clients with livable, warm and unique interiors that reflect a 21st century lifestyle. Richard showcases his style on his blog, The Modern Sybarite.
Tell us a little about what you do?
I wear two primary hats in no particular order. The first is that of an interior designer and decorator and the second is that of art advisor. My business as an interior designer started when I saw the need one of my affluent art collecting clients had for someone equally knowledgeable in art as well as in interior design. My clients trust that when they purchase art, I’m not just rubber-stamping a third party art dealer’s opinion. I know what I’m talking about and when I don’t, I have a vast network of respected international resources, scholars and top specialists to tap.
Working at Christie’s must have been an amazing experience. What do you miss the most? What was your favorite experience while working there?
As in most cases, it’s the people that make the experience and so what I tend to miss most are some of my former colleagues and clients, some of whom have become friends and clients of my practice. There are so many great stories from my years at Christie’s but one of the great things about working there was the access to uber VIPs just by simply uttering the word “Christie’s”. It did open doors!
Holding and inspecting an incredibly rare Rembrandt, for example, and realizing it has also passed through my hands in its 350+ year trip through time is an awesome, treasured and humbling experience.
And then there are the funny and ludicrous experiences like travelling First Class by plane with a prized artwork by your side and having a 6 man security posse meet you ON the plane as the plane doors open and whisking you through international immigration as if you’re James Bond! Fun, but utterly ridiculous.
You’re a multi-linguist. What language would you love to learn next?
I would actually love to learn Chinese, but it’s more of a pipe dream than a reality. I don’t have the time to invest into learning it. Perhaps when I retire.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when adorning their walls?
There are several things one needs to consider when adorning walls: scale of the piece vs. the wall (and the room); hanging height; natural vs. artificial light; color and texture of the background wall and in the room. Certain background colors will KILL a painting, no matter how pretty the color or important the art. There are other things to think about but that’s basically what I consider.
You’ve travelled extensively. What is one of your favorite spots?
When it comes to outdoors, some people prefer the mountains and some prefer the beach. I for one LOVE luscious greenery and powder white sand beaches and so my favorite spots are the beaches of Brazil and the South Pacific.
What item would people be surprised to find in your home?
A blender – because I don’t bake … nor cook for that matter!
If you could live in another decade, which would it be and why?
I would have to add another caveat – “and be filthy rich”. If that were the case, living in Rome or Naples in the Baroque 17th century would have been amazing. Paris between the wars would have also been fabulous. In both time periods, art and design were at an inflection point from one style to another and that created energy, enthusiasm and an incredible hedonistic joie de vivre.
What’s your favorite thing to go home to?