Michael Peter Bruno is trying himself as a developer today. He shared the secret of success and plans for the future with Minimalism magazine. Bruno is a born entrepreneur: he is successful in everything he undertakes. His most famous project is the 1stdibs website: an online store that brings together dealers working in the art and antique furniture market. The project started in 2000 after Michael had visited Paris a year earlier.
“I was walking around the flea market in Clignancourt and suddenly I thought: what if these French people had access to American buyers? The idea turned out to be good.” As Michael told us, the secret to his site’s incredible success is simple: “1stdibs is only as good as the sellers on it. At the very beginning, I realized the importance of personal acquaintance: I met with each dealer, inspected his store, before inviting for cooperation. For ten years I traveled the world, choosing the very best I could find. It is also significant that I reacted to the trend in time: people are determined to shop online.” A recent milestone for Michael was the launch of the HousePad app in 2015. Using it, the owners of houses and apartments can do a lot: get advice from an architect or, for example, keep a kind of “flight magazine” of the interior, where everything will be collected, up to copies of warranty cards for furniture.
Today restless Michael Bruno moves on: he tries himself in development. His focus is Tuxedo Park in New York State.
Tuxedo Park is a historic village. It is located in a mountainous area, despite the fact that it is only an hour away from Manhattan by car. There are three lakes and magnificent old houses that rise on a steep bank facing the water surface. Around almost 30 hectares of forest. Many of the most important American architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries designed facades and interiors for the wealthy public here.
I purchased about 20 buildings, some of them over a hundred years old. Over the past half-century, the once grandiose district has fallen into disrepair. My plan is to revive it through nature and… food. The fact is that Tuxedo Park is, figuratively speaking, the gateway to the Hudson River Valley – and this is the main supplier of agricultural products on the East Coast of the United States. We opened a food market, numerous restaurants, antique shops, and a small hotel.
All points can be reached on foot or by bike. As befits a developer, Michael settled in the object he was developing. “On the interiors of the house, we worked with designer Windsor Smith, who is based in Los Angeles. She helped me evaluate my extensive collection of furniture and art so we could use a good deal of what was available. And then Windsor added elements that brought the interior together: carpets, curtains, upholstery. Determined the color palette, arranged the objects. After working with Windsor Smith, I realized that only an experienced designer can pull off a large space. She breathed life into my home.
“Today, eclecticism is in demand, and this is wonderful. Because choosing simply objects that you love is more correct than choosing a theme for love – and style is a “theme”. Eclecticism allows you to live more relaxed and to be at home what it should be, namely a reflection of the personality of its inhabitants. Look at my interiors, there are so many things mixed in them! So many different styles and periods. I only buy things that I like and that I enjoy being around. Therefore, I can’t call myself a passionate collector, my purchases are not structured.”
“For me, there is nothing better than a good old English house, but it is incredibly difficult to recreate one today. Therefore, we turned to more modern stylistic layers. The things that are currently in my house are part of a collection that spontaneously evolved over a decade of travel, I made them, looking for worthy dealers for my 1stdibs website. Designer Windsor Smith made a great contribution to the creation of a harmonious environment. I especially like suede upholstery and silk carpets. Some things Windsor designed specifically for my home.
“For some reason, it seems to many that there is a lot of dark color in my interiors, in fact, the house inside is mostly white. Only the floors are black, and even then not everywhere. With a total light floor, it would be too modern, but I wanted to create a classic respectable house. We have two really dark rooms. One of them is my bathroom (I love atmospheric spaces for relaxation), and the other is the gallery, which is located at the entrance. I named her so because she keeps the most beautiful things, and this is her only purpose. We painted the gallery in almost black paint to focus on the objects, as well as on the panorama of the lake, which opens from its windows. Although here the ceilings, skirting boards, and window openings are made snow-white – so that it would not be too gloomy.