Todd Alexander Romano entered the interior design field 25 years ago when he went to work for the decorating legend Mario Buatta as his assistant. After studying architecture in college and working in advertising and fashion, Todd resolved to pursue his lifelong love and interest in decorating and design. Romano’s apprenticeship with Mario Buatta catapulted his rise through the ranks at Saunders & Walsh and Ingrao, Inc. over the next eight years, leading to the opening of his own firm and his first shop on East 71st Street, Manhattan in June of 1999.
A Louis XV cream and green-painted fauteuil. Mid-18th century. Estimate: $800–1,200. This work is offered in the Living with Art auction on 29–30 March at Christie’s New York
‘Suitability, simplicity and scale — this philosophy applies whether designing an elaborate traditional home or something sleek and modern. They are always the keys to success,’ states Romano. His design aesthetic has been undoubtedly shaped by the New York design world, but is also informed by his Southern roots.
‘One of the greatest ways in which my Southern background has influenced me is the way in which the focus has always been on gracious living and entertaining at home. This encompasses everything from architecture to antiques, decorating, interior design, gardening, cooking and hospitality. I am fairly obsessed with the details of how, why and where my clients live and this comes from my upbringing which was always about living well at home!’
Romano’s signature style is marked by his sophisticated and playful mix of pieces from many periods and styles. His spaces are simultaneously elegant and easy, curated and highly personal. In describing his inspirations, Romano shares, ‘Some of my favourite materials include highly lacquered or fabric-wrapped walls, polished floors, good wool carpets and rugs, interesting and effective lighting and always comfortable seating and custom upholstery.’ He continues, ‘Artwork is another important and personalized aspect of my work, and as you can see from my own home, I mix everything from 17th century works to contemporary works of art together. Everything that I love has always been evident in both my shops as well as in my personal residences.’
A pair of Chinese export-style frog form jardinières. 19th century. 12 in. (30.5 cm.) long. Estimate: $2,000–3,000. This work is offered in the Living with Art auction on 29–30 March at Christie’s New York
Romano’s residences have always been a test space for his design ideas. It has also been home to some of his most beloved pieces. When asked to choose a favourite, he hesitates to answer, ‘That’s a tough question for me to answer, as I love so many things and types of decorative objects, but if I had to single out just one object, it might be my antique Chinese ceramic “frog” cachepots. I love the whimsical and beautiful nature of these — the colour, the shape and the texture of them. However, I am also drawn to the practical nature of them — putting a gorgeous orchid or flower arrangement in them and setting them on a console or low table. Another favourite piece would be the amazing and grand Zajac & Callahan mirror hanging over the mantle on antique mirrored walls in my living room. I love mirror upon mirror… total glamour!‘
A circular coloured and colourless glass mirror. Attributed to Zajac and Callahan, 20th century. 42 in. (106.7 cm.) diameter. Estimate: $3,000–5,000. This work is offered in the Living with Art auction on 29–30 March at Christie’s New York
Our Living with Art auction brims with a dazzling mix of objects that chronicle the illustrious decorator’s exuberant style and his hallmark combination of modern and classic design elements. This sale offers a unique opportunity to acquire pieces straight from Romano’s collection and Manhattan apartment — pieces which stand alone as beautiful and playful objects, but also integrate with a variety of styles, designs and spaces.
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