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Hidden Nooks in Old Chicago

July 29th, 2014 admin

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A Panda, an Orb and Farrah’s Footprints

July 29th, 2014 admin

Doreen Remen in her art-filled New York home
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Doreen Remen

bought a wall-size painting of a panda doused with glitter, then found it wouldn’t fit into the elevator of her building on New York’s Upper East Side. So she hired a company to lift the panda up through the window of her third-floor apartment, taking out the window frames in the process.

Ms. Remen, the 48-year-old co-founder of Art Production Fund, a nonprofit that helps produce and promote contemporary art, says she would never buy a piece of furniture that required hoisting through a window. But her art is different: “It’s more than just an object. You go out of your way to have it because it is creating a haven that nourishes us,” she says.

The glittery panda is one of a series by art star

Rob Pruitt.

The piece is among many that fill Ms. Remen’s home, creating a Who’s Who of New York’s contemporary-art scene. Just opposite the apartment’s entryway, an enormous, fiberglass globular sculpture in white by

Ricci Albenda

hangs by a wire from a light in the ceiling. The wall behind it has an indent where the same shape is recessed, giving the impression the giant hanging orb has hit the wall and left its mark. The orb sculpture required putting a big hole in the wall; on the other side, a new closet was built to hide the back of the indented sculpture piece.

Slideshow: A Home for Art


A glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle blue crayons and holding sand imprinted with Farrah Fawcett’s (real) footprints.
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Around the corner, on the floor of the large, open dining and living room, is a glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle crayons and holding sand imprinted with

Farrah Fawcett’s

(real) footprints. It is a tribute to artist

Keith Edmier’s

crush on the actress and a reference to Botticelli’s 15th-century “The Birth of Venus.”

Also on the floor is a plastic dome over a girl’s plastic legs walking with boots through a puddle on top of a mirror—by Anya Kielar.

Her apartment, Ms. Remen says, is an “alternate reality.”

She grew up surrounded by art. Her childhood home in Cincinnati was filled with paintings by her grandfather, Avraham Binder, a successful Israeli artist. Later, she studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. There she met fellow curator Yvonne Force Villareal, and in 2000 the two of them founded the art fund. Ms. Remen later started Artmarkit, which sells objects like towels, umbrellas, cups and jewelry designed by artists.

Ms. Remen and her husband, attorney

Steven Weiner,

bought a two-bedroom apartment 14 years ago in the 12-story building between Park and Madison avenues. They later combined it with a neighboring apartment, and then six years ago added half of a third apartment they bought with a neighbor and then split.

The second renovation cost six figures and focused on creating spaces for their art. (They decline to say how much they paid for their units, but public records show a total for the combined units of $1.5 million. A similar-size apartment in their building sold this year for $2.9 million).

The result was one large, open space in front encompassing a living room and two dining areas, with bamboo floors and a nook of a kitchen separated by an island bar. A small den, with doors that can be closed off to the main space, leads to the three bedrooms and four bathrooms in the back of the unit, which the couple shared with their four cats and two daughters, who have since gone off to college.

The biggest challenge of the renovation, says Ms. Remen, was getting the art into the right spaces.

“You create your own fantasy when you collect art,” she says. “Each piece is changed by the piece that hangs next to it. You’re activating a level of consciousness that’s outside the day to day.”

Write to Nancy Keates at nancy.keates@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications

Doreen Remen started Artmarkit. An earlier version of the article incorrectly said she founded it with her art-fund partner Yvonne Force Villareal.

Leroy Schecter’s Florida Home Sells for $28 Million

July 29th, 2014 admin

A view of the property.
Obeo

After several years on the market, the Indian Creek Village, Fla., home of steel magnate Leroy Schecter has sold for $28 million.

Listing agent Nelson Gonzalez of EWM Realty International said the sale closed Monday for $28 million. He declined to identify the buyer.

A camp-style style in the Adironodacks formerly owned by banking tycoon J.P. Morgan is on the market for $3.25 million. Candace Taylor previews this and other homes on ‘Private Properties’ with Sara Murray. Photo: Craig Goss/UpstateMansion.

The home was first listed in 2008 for $32 million. The price has changed several times, with the home going on and off the market, at one point going up to $45 million. It was last listed at $35 million, Mr. Gonzalez said.

The 21,746-square-foot home, built in 2000, has seven bedrooms and 11 full and three half bathrooms, Mr. Gonzalez said. According to public records, Mr. Schecter bought it in 2006. Located in a gated village on an island near Miami Beach, the nearly two-acre property has some 200 feet of waterfront on Biscayne Bay. The house has a theater, a library, a billiards room, a gym and a seven-car garage. An outdoor infinity pool has a cabana house with two full bathrooms.

The 21,746-square-foot home, built in 2000, has seven bedrooms and 11 full and three half bathrooms.
Nelson Gonzalez

Mr. Schecter could not be reached for comment.

In 2012, the house next door sold for nearly $40 million, Mr. Gonzalez said, while a home down the street sold for $47 million, setting a new record for the county. That’s part of what convinced Mr. Schecter to increase the listing price of his home to $45 million that year, he told The Wall Street Journal at the time.

Mr. Gonzalez said the property went into contract “fairly quickly” after the price was dropped to $35 million this spring. “It was a very large house,” he said. “We just needed the right person” to buy it.

Mr. Schecter is selling because he “just wasn’t using the house,” Mr. Gonzalez said. Mr. Schecter has said he plans donate proceeds from the sale to charitable causes.

Mr. Schecter is primarily based in New York. In 2011, he sold a vacant lot he also owned on Indian Creek Island for $15 million.

Write to Candace Taylor at candace.taylor@wsj.com

California Homestead With Modern Amenities

July 26th, 2014 admin

  • Price: $8,950,000
  • Location: Genesee, CA

A ranch in the Sierra Nevada mountains comes with a stagecoach stop and a heliport.—Sarah Tilton

A Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Houston

July 25th, 2014 admin

  • Price: $3,195,000
  • Location: Houston, TX

This home, designed by the noted architect, was restored and expanded by the current owner; the property includes a courtyard with a pool.–Rhonda Colvin

A Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Houston

July 25th, 2014 admin

  • Price: $3,195,000
  • Location: Houston, TX

This home, designed by the noted architect, was restored and expanded by the current owner; the property includes a courtyard with a pool.–Rhonda Colvin

The Friendliest Place in the House

July 25th, 2014 admin

Porches are being designed as fully-functional outdoor rooms. The Scarboroughs have four porches on their Georgia horse farm; Eric Michael and Craig Kruger’s home has three stacked porches. Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn for The Wall Street Journal

Sandy and

Otis Scarborough

built four porches on their home on a 100-acre horse farm in rural Georgia. There is a dining porch, a sleeping porch, a cooking porch and a screened porch that has antique wicker furniture, an old-fashioned bench swing and a flat-panel television hidden behind rustic wooden doors over a stone fireplace. That porch is for watching college football.

“We live on the porches here. One moment we’re on one porch, the next moment we’re on another,” said Mr. Scarborough, the 69-year-old president of a real-estate development firm in Columbus, Ga., who raises Tennessee Walking Horses on the farm.

Decades after it began disappearing from the American architectural landscape—felled by the advent of cars, air conditioning, and the backyard barbecue—the porch is back. In June, the Census Bureau reported that 63% of new single-family homes completed in 2013 had porches—up from 42% in 1993.

“The wealthier we feel, and the more feature-rich we desire our homes to be, the more likely they are to have a porch,” said

Ed Hudson,

marketing research director of Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

Slideshow: Porches on the Upswing


Debbie and Rick Massie, top, at their California vacation home on San Diego Bay, with friends on the porch below.
Robert Benson for The Wall Street Journal

After a 2008 remodel and expansion, more than a quarter of the living space of the Scarboroughs’ 5,400-square-foot home on a lake is pure porch. Even the pool house has a porch, with a convex ceiling designed to cast back heat from the stone fireplace on chilly nights. Despite their custom light fixtures and electronics, the porches abound in nostalgia—from the reproduction ball-and-bell beds on the sleeping porch, to the ceilings painted “haint blue”—so-called for the Southern superstition that the blue-green color keeps haints, or spirits, away, along with mud daubers and other pesky bugs.

“We wanted it to look like something that had always been there,” said the 66-year-old Mrs. Scarborough, who declined to say what they spent on the home expansion by the Historical Concepts architectural firm.

More than an exercise in nostalgia, the return of the porch signals a deep need for social connection, according to Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and a pioneer of new urbanism. Mr. Stern made porches the hallmark of homes in Celebration, Fla., the master-planned community he helped design for the Walt Disney Company in 1997.

“The porch friendlies up the house,” said Mr. Stern, who describes it as “a place between the privacy of the house and the public world of the street.”

In the luxury-home market, porches are being designed as fully functional outdoor rooms, with everything from built-in stereo speakers and ambient lighting to solar and wind-activated awnings. Cage-like screens have been replaced by fine mesh made of bronze or vinyl-coated aluminum, designed to disappear from view while softening glare. Some homeowners are installing radiant-heat panels in porch floors and ceilings to make them habitable year-round—with furnishings that wouldn’t be out of place in any well-appointed living room.

As porches have grown in popularity, “deck” has become the new four-letter word of high-end home design. “We never use the word deck, it’s a pejorative term; we always use the word porch. It could be any covered outdoor space,” said Stephen Vanze, a partner in Barnes Vanze Architects in Washington, D.C. “We probably do 50 to 60 projects a year—almost all of them have a porch involved.” Unlike an uncovered deck, which is stuck onto the exterior of the house, he explained, a porch is a well-designed outdoor room.

Mr. Vance’s partner,

Ankie Barnes,

designed a 6,500-square-foot shingle house with three curved porches stacked one atop the other overlooking the Potomac River for

Eric Michael

and his husband,

Craig Kruger.

The main porch wraps from the front door to the back garden, with tongue-and-groove mahogany floors, ceiling fans, rocking chairs and climbing roses winding up its pillars.


The porch friendlies up the house.

—Robert A.M. Stern, Yale School of Architecture

“It’s absolutely a room that we use like every other room, where we spend evenings and sometimes mornings,” said Mr. Michael, the 52-year-old owner of Occasions Caterers, who declined to say what they spent on the 2007 house. The couple often throw parties on the porch, which is almost as large as the living room beyond a set of French doors. It’s the setting for their annual Fourth of July cookout, which drew 125 people this year. A second porch is set off the master bedroom; the small top-story porch has just enough room for three or four people to sit with cocktails “and watch the bats fly around,” said Mr. Michael.

Venture capitalist

Harry Weller

commissioned Mr. Barnes to create a striking contemporary house overlooking the Potomac River Valley.

“We felt comfortable doing something completely different,” the architect said. At first glance, you don’t notice Mr. Weller’s front porch, which is tucked under the second story of the house and shielded from view by a long, built-in ipe wood bench. A wall of windows behind the porch collapses accordion-style to create one large living space, merging the porch with the living room. An identical set of glass doors at the opposite end of the house opens onto a back porch covered with a cedar and painted-steel pergola where the family often eats.

“The whole first floor is basically open on both sides. It almost feels as if the house is on stilts,” said Mr. Weller, a general partner of New Enterprise Associates. He described the cost of the 2013 stone, stucco and cedar house as “in the millions—somewhere between 10 and zero.”

Paved in Maryland bluestone, the porch has a 12-foot-high ceiling with embedded stereo speakers and a large stone fireplace, where Mr. Weller’s young sons toast marshmallows for s’mores, or watch the skies for blue herons and eagles. A bike trail winds in front of the house, and occasionally strangers will wander up to the porch to say hello. A visiting architect from Argentina ended up sitting down at the porch’s white oak table and sharing a bottle of wine with Mr. Weller.

For many porch-owners, getting to know one’s neighbors is part of the appeal.

“The worst thing that happened to the U.S. was the invention of the electric garage-door opener: It shuts down behind you and people don’t come out,” said Rick Massie, a 63-year-old real-estate developer who lives in Jackson Hole, Wy.

In 2011, Mr. Massie and his wife, Debbie, bought a 4,100-square-foot vacation home in Coronado, Calif., on San Diego Bay for $5.9 million. The back porch, which runs the entire length of the house, opens on a public park, with the beach and the ocean just beyond it. Mr. Massie calls it his “10-acre backyard.”

“We love seeing people and families—all that drew us to the house,” he said. The Massies also enjoy seeing, and hearing, Navy aircraft. The porch sits near an active runway of Coronado’s Naval Air Station. “Some people would say it’s noise, but we call it the sound of freedom,” said Mr. Massie.

The porch has been the setting for two weddings, large parties for military families and Thanksgiving dinners. The Massies have installed solar shades to blunt the porch’s full southern exposure. Until then, the family had to eat their turkey wearing sunglasses. Now that their children and grandchildren are getting older and visit less frequently, they have put the house on the market for $8.8 million.

Porch ownership has its headaches: constant sweeping and the occasional uninvited guest. Not long after

Kelly Mofield

built a 35-foot-long mahogany porch off the kitchen of her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., a squirrel broke in through a screen window.

“He was sitting on the counter with a peach in his hands,” said Ms. Mofield, a 45-year-old attorney who stays home to raise her five sons.

Her 1800 home, known as the Pineapple House for the three pineapples carved in its antique front gate, had a classic colonnade porch when she and her husband,

Bryan Blair,

a urologist, bought it in 2005 for $1.785 million. She added two more during a major renovation in 2010 by Fivecat Studio Architecture.

“Other architects were saying, ‘You should do a patio,’ ” Ms. Mofield said. “I don’t really want a patio. I don’t really want a deck, either. I want a porch where we can sit, we can eat, we can watch the pool.”

In addition to the long back porch overlooking the pool, where the family eats many meals at a big marble-topped table, there is a side porch with a set of rocking chairs where Ms. Mofield can wait for the school bus or have “dog play dates” with passing neighbors. Although she recently upgraded the outdoor sound system, the rocking chair remains her favorite amenity.

“That’s the nice thing about a porch—it’s wonderfully familiar,” said Mr. Stern. “You don’t have to take a lesson. You just put a drink in one hand and a book in the other, and there you are.”

The Friendliest Place in the House

July 25th, 2014 admin

Porches are being designed as fully-functional outdoor rooms. The Scarboroughs have four porches on their Georgia horse farm; Eric Michael and Craig Kruger’s home has three stacked porches. Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn for The Wall Street Journal

Sandy and

Otis Scarborough

built four porches on their home on a 100-acre horse farm in rural Georgia. There is a dining porch, a sleeping porch, a cooking porch and a screened porch that has antique wicker furniture, an old-fashioned bench swing and a flat-panel television hidden behind rustic wooden doors over a stone fireplace. That porch is for watching college football.

“We live on the porches here. One moment we’re on one porch, the next moment we’re on another,” said Mr. Scarborough, the 69-year-old president of a real-estate development firm in Columbus, Ga., who raises Tennessee Walking Horses on the farm.

Decades after it began disappearing from the American architectural landscape—felled by the advent of cars, air conditioning, and the backyard barbecue—the porch is back. In June, the Census Bureau reported that 63% of new single-family homes completed in 2013 had porches—up from 42% in 1993.

“The wealthier we feel, and the more feature-rich we desire our homes to be, the more likely they are to have a porch,” said

Ed Hudson,

marketing research director of Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

Slideshow: Porches on the Upswing


Debbie and Rick Massie, top, at their California vacation home on San Diego Bay, with friends on the porch below.
Robert Benson for The Wall Street Journal

After a 2008 remodel and expansion, more than a quarter of the living space of the Scarboroughs’ 5,400-square-foot home on a lake is pure porch. Even the pool house has a porch, with a convex ceiling designed to cast back heat from the stone fireplace on chilly nights. Despite their custom light fixtures and electronics, the porches abound in nostalgia—from the reproduction ball-and-bell beds on the sleeping porch, to the ceilings painted “haint blue”—so-called for the Southern superstition that the blue-green color keeps haints, or spirits, away, along with mud daubers and other pesky bugs.

“We wanted it to look like something that had always been there,” said the 66-year-old Mrs. Scarborough, who declined to say what they spent on the home expansion by the Historical Concepts architectural firm.

More than an exercise in nostalgia, the return of the porch signals a deep need for social connection, according to Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and a pioneer of new urbanism. Mr. Stern made porches the hallmark of homes in Celebration, Fla., the master-planned community he helped design for the Walt Disney Company in 1997.

“The porch friendlies up the house,” said Mr. Stern, who describes it as “a place between the privacy of the house and the public world of the street.”

In the luxury-home market, porches are being designed as fully functional outdoor rooms, with everything from built-in stereo speakers and ambient lighting to solar and wind-activated awnings. Cage-like screens have been replaced by fine mesh made of bronze or vinyl-coated aluminum, designed to disappear from view while softening glare. Some homeowners are installing radiant-heat panels in porch floors and ceilings to make them habitable year-round—with furnishings that wouldn’t be out of place in any well-appointed living room.

As porches have grown in popularity, “deck” has become the new four-letter word of high-end home design. “We never use the word deck, it’s a pejorative term; we always use the word porch. It could be any covered outdoor space,” said Stephen Vanze, a partner in Barnes Vanze Architects in Washington, D.C. “We probably do 50 to 60 projects a year—almost all of them have a porch involved.” Unlike an uncovered deck, which is stuck onto the exterior of the house, he explained, a porch is a well-designed outdoor room.

Mr. Vance’s partner,

Ankie Barnes,

designed a 6,500-square-foot shingle house with three curved porches stacked one atop the other overlooking the Potomac River for

Eric Michael

and his husband,

Craig Kruger.

The main porch wraps from the front door to the back garden, with tongue-and-groove mahogany floors, ceiling fans, rocking chairs and climbing roses winding up its pillars.


The porch friendlies up the house.

—Robert A.M. Stern, Yale School of Architecture

“It’s absolutely a room that we use like every other room, where we spend evenings and sometimes mornings,” said Mr. Michael, the 52-year-old owner of Occasions Caterers, who declined to say what they spent on the 2007 house. The couple often throw parties on the porch, which is almost as large as the living room beyond a set of French doors. It’s the setting for their annual Fourth of July cookout, which drew 125 people this year. A second porch is set off the master bedroom; the small top-story porch has just enough room for three or four people to sit with cocktails “and watch the bats fly around,” said Mr. Michael.

Venture capitalist

Harry Weller

commissioned Mr. Barnes to create a striking contemporary house overlooking the Potomac River Valley.

“We felt comfortable doing something completely different,” the architect said. At first glance, you don’t notice Mr. Weller’s front porch, which is tucked under the second story of the house and shielded from view by a long, built-in ipe wood bench. A wall of windows behind the porch collapses accordion-style to create one large living space, merging the porch with the living room. An identical set of glass doors at the opposite end of the house opens onto a back porch covered with a cedar and painted-steel pergola where the family often eats.

“The whole first floor is basically open on both sides. It almost feels as if the house is on stilts,” said Mr. Weller, a general partner of New Enterprise Associates. He described the cost of the 2013 stone, stucco and cedar house as “in the millions—somewhere between 10 and zero.”

Paved in Maryland bluestone, the porch has a 12-foot-high ceiling with embedded stereo speakers and a large stone fireplace, where Mr. Weller’s young sons toast marshmallows for s’mores, or watch the skies for blue herons and eagles. A bike trail winds in front of the house, and occasionally strangers will wander up to the porch to say hello. A visiting architect from Argentina ended up sitting down at the porch’s white oak table and sharing a bottle of wine with Mr. Weller.

For many porch-owners, getting to know one’s neighbors is part of the appeal.

“The worst thing that happened to the U.S. was the invention of the electric garage-door opener: It shuts down behind you and people don’t come out,” said Rick Massie, a 63-year-old real-estate developer who lives in Jackson Hole, Wy.

In 2011, Mr. Massie and his wife, Debbie, bought a 4,100-square-foot vacation home in Coronado, Calif., on San Diego Bay for $5.9 million. The back porch, which runs the entire length of the house, opens on a public park, with the beach and the ocean just beyond it. Mr. Massie calls it his “10-acre backyard.”

“We love seeing people and families—all that drew us to the house,” he said. The Massies also enjoy seeing, and hearing, Navy aircraft. The porch sits near an active runway of Coronado’s Naval Air Station. “Some people would say it’s noise, but we call it the sound of freedom,” said Mr. Massie.

The porch has been the setting for two weddings, large parties for military families and Thanksgiving dinners. The Massies have installed solar shades to blunt the porch’s full southern exposure. Until then, the family had to eat their turkey wearing sunglasses. Now that their children and grandchildren are getting older and visit less frequently, they have put the house on the market for $8.8 million.

Porch ownership has its headaches: constant sweeping and the occasional uninvited guest. Not long after

Kelly Mofield

built a 35-foot-long mahogany porch off the kitchen of her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., a squirrel broke in through a screen window.

“He was sitting on the counter with a peach in his hands,” said Ms. Mofield, a 45-year-old attorney who stays home to raise her five sons.

Her 1800 home, known as the Pineapple House for the three pineapples carved in its antique front gate, had a classic colonnade porch when she and her husband,

Bryan Blair,

a urologist, bought it in 2005 for $1.785 million. She added two more during a major renovation in 2010 by Fivecat Studio Architecture.

“Other architects were saying, ‘You should do a patio,’ ” Ms. Mofield said. “I don’t really want a patio. I don’t really want a deck, either. I want a porch where we can sit, we can eat, we can watch the pool.”

In addition to the long back porch overlooking the pool, where the family eats many meals at a big marble-topped table, there is a side porch with a set of rocking chairs where Ms. Mofield can wait for the school bus or have “dog play dates” with passing neighbors. Although she recently upgraded the outdoor sound system, the rocking chair remains her favorite amenity.

“That’s the nice thing about a porch—it’s wonderfully familiar,” said Mr. Stern. “You don’t have to take a lesson. You just put a drink in one hand and a book in the other, and there you are.”

A Panda, an Orb and Farrah’s Footprints

July 25th, 2014 admin

Doreen Remen in her art-filled New York home
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Doreen Remen

bought a wall-size painting of a panda doused with glitter, then found it wouldn’t fit into the elevator of her building on New York’s Upper East Side. So she hired a company to lift the panda up through the window of her third-floor apartment, taking out the window frames in the process.

Ms. Remen, the 48-year-old co-founder of Art Production Fund, a nonprofit that helps produce and promote contemporary art, says she would never buy a piece of furniture that required hoisting through a window. But her art is different: “It’s more than just an object. You go out of your way to have it because it is creating a haven that nourishes us,” she says.

The glittery panda is one of a series by art star

Rob Pruitt.

The piece is among many that fill Ms. Remen’s home, creating a Who’s Who of New York’s contemporary-art scene. Just opposite the apartment’s entryway, an enormous, fiberglass globular sculpture in white by

Ricci Albenda

hangs by a wire from a light in the ceiling. The wall behind it has an indent where the same shape is recessed, giving the impression the giant hanging orb has hit the wall and left its mark. The orb sculpture required putting a big hole in the wall; on the other side, a new closet was built to hide the back of the indented sculpture piece.

Slideshow: A Home for Art


A glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle blue crayons and holding sand imprinted with Farrah Fawcett’s (real) footprints.
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Around the corner, on the floor of the large, open dining and living room, is a glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle crayons and holding sand imprinted with

Farrah Fawcett’s

(real) footprints. It is a tribute to artist

Keith Edmier’s

crush on the actress and a reference to Botticelli’s 15th-century “The Birth of Venus.”

Also on the floor is a plastic dome over a girl’s plastic legs walking with boots through a puddle on top of a mirror—by Anya Kielar.

Her apartment, Ms. Remen says, is an “alternate reality.”

She grew up surrounded by art. Her childhood home in Cincinnati was filled with paintings by her grandfather, Avraham Binder, a successful Israeli artist. Later, she studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. There she met fellow curator Yvonne Force Villareal, and in 2000 the two of them founded the art fund. Ms. Remen later started Artmarkit, which sells objects like towels, umbrellas, cups and jewelry designed by artists.

Ms. Remen and her husband, attorney

Steven Weiner,

bought a two-bedroom apartment 14 years ago in the 12-story building between Park and Madison avenues. They later combined it with a neighboring apartment, and then six years ago added half of a third apartment they bought with a neighbor and then split.

The second renovation cost six figures and focused on creating spaces for their art. (They decline to say how much they paid for their units, but public records show a total for the combined units of $1.5 million. A similar-size apartment in their building sold this year for $2.9 million).

The result was one large, open space in front encompassing a living room and two dining areas, with bamboo floors and a nook of a kitchen separated by an island bar. A small den, with doors that can be closed off to the main space, leads to the three bedrooms and four bathrooms in the back of the unit, which the couple shared with their four cats and two daughters, who have since gone off to college.

The biggest challenge of the renovation, says Ms. Remen, was getting the art into the right spaces.

“You create your own fantasy when you collect art,” she says. “Each piece is changed by the piece that hangs next to it. You’re activating a level of consciousness that’s outside the day to day.”

Write to Nancy Keates at nancy.keates@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications

Doreen Remen started Artmarkit. An earlier version of the article incorrectly said she founded it with her art-fund partner Yvonne Force Villareal.

A Panda, an Orb and Farrah’s Footprints

July 25th, 2014 admin

Doreen Remen in her art-filled New York home
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Doreen Remen

bought a wall-size painting of a panda doused with glitter, then found it wouldn’t fit into the elevator of her building on New York’s Upper East Side. So she hired a company to lift the panda up through the window of her third-floor apartment, taking out the window frames in the process.

Ms. Remen, the 48-year-old co-founder of Art Production Fund, a nonprofit that helps produce and promote contemporary art, says she would never buy a piece of furniture that required hoisting through a window. But her art is different: “It’s more than just an object. You go out of your way to have it because it is creating a haven that nourishes us,” she says.

The glittery panda is one of a series by art star

Rob Pruitt.

The piece is among many that fill Ms. Remen’s home, creating a Who’s Who of New York’s contemporary-art scene. Just opposite the apartment’s entryway, an enormous, fiberglass globular sculpture in white by

Ricci Albenda

hangs by a wire from a light in the ceiling. The wall behind it has an indent where the same shape is recessed, giving the impression the giant hanging orb has hit the wall and left its mark. The orb sculpture required putting a big hole in the wall; on the other side, a new closet was built to hide the back of the indented sculpture piece.

Slideshow: A Home for Art


A glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle blue crayons and holding sand imprinted with Farrah Fawcett’s (real) footprints.
Julie Glassberg for The Wall Street Journal

Around the corner, on the floor of the large, open dining and living room, is a glass box that contains a sea shell the size of a punch bowl made from melted periwinkle crayons and holding sand imprinted with

Farrah Fawcett’s

(real) footprints. It is a tribute to artist

Keith Edmier’s

crush on the actress and a reference to Botticelli’s 15th-century “The Birth of Venus.”

Also on the floor is a plastic dome over a girl’s plastic legs walking with boots through a puddle on top of a mirror—by Anya Kielar.

Her apartment, Ms. Remen says, is an “alternate reality.”

She grew up surrounded by art. Her childhood home in Cincinnati was filled with paintings by her grandfather, Avraham Binder, a successful Israeli artist. Later, she studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. There she met fellow curator Yvonne Force Villareal, and in 2000 the two of them founded the art fund. Ms. Remen later started Artmarkit, which sells objects like towels, umbrellas, cups and jewelry designed by artists.

Ms. Remen and her husband, attorney

Steven Weiner,

bought a two-bedroom apartment 14 years ago in the 12-story building between Park and Madison avenues. They later combined it with a neighboring apartment, and then six years ago added half of a third apartment they bought with a neighbor and then split.

The second renovation cost six figures and focused on creating spaces for their art. (They decline to say how much they paid for their units, but public records show a total for the combined units of $1.5 million. A similar-size apartment in their building sold this year for $2.9 million).

The result was one large, open space in front encompassing a living room and two dining areas, with bamboo floors and a nook of a kitchen separated by an island bar. A small den, with doors that can be closed off to the main space, leads to the three bedrooms and four bathrooms in the back of the unit, which the couple shared with their four cats and two daughters, who have since gone off to college.

The biggest challenge of the renovation, says Ms. Remen, was getting the art into the right spaces.

“You create your own fantasy when you collect art,” she says. “Each piece is changed by the piece that hangs next to it. You’re activating a level of consciousness that’s outside the day to day.”

Write to Nancy Keates at nancy.keates@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications

Doreen Remen started Artmarkit. An earlier version of the article incorrectly said she founded it with her art-fund partner Yvonne Force Villareal.