interior design

thomas o’brien

by Grace Bonney

pretty much everyone hated gwyneth (man did the claws come out) so i thought perhaps thomas o’brien wouldn’t draw as much hatred . i could be wrong but i personally love his home so i thought i’d share these photos. you can see the full slideshow right here. at least his home doesn’t drip as much hamptons glam as dear old gwynnie.


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  • I LOVE Thomas O’Brien, but I wish he’d move. I feel like this apartment has been over-published. I know too much. How his bedroom used to be a living room, how that constellation map used to be by the TV, etc. It makes me feel a little itchy knowing as much about his apartment as I do. I know I read too many home magazines — and for too many years now, but enough of this one. (and the Bellport house too).

    I do love when he publishes client’s houses. I do love his work.

  • I said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVED this feature. I love how T O’B does whites & woods, mixed with industrial elements. Something about his aesthetic is so sturdy to me. It makes me feel really safe just looking at the photos.

  • A personality and presence does come through in Tom’s home – as if he has an actual hand in decorating it.

    Perhaps that is what is lacking in Gwyneth Paltrow’s house: her distinct touch, versus a professionally designed one.

  • My co-workers and I were admiring the details in this article last week. We loved the artful but not forced layout of the art on the walls. the way it moves across the wall, between spaces, and isn’t rigid is lovely.
    No matter what, man’s got serious talent. Loved his work for over a decade.

  • I LOVE this space! I don’t really know what to say, except that it’s just right…

    Plus I love his collection of STUFF! I think I could walk around his place for hours just looking at all the bits and pieces and reading all the books.

  • I am a HUGE fan of TOB. In my previous job, I was lucky enough to work with him on his Target collection, and he’s just a lovely guy.

    Also, no matter how many licenses he adds to his arsenal, all of the work that he and Aero Studios produce is just gorgeous. I drool over that secretary in his apt every time I see it. And, earlier this year I splurged on one of a tufted ottoman from Hickory Chair, which is the perfect centerpiece in my little apt.

  • sorry to be so picky here, but this looks really cluttered in some spots. and really….blue.

  • Ah, the Gwyn hate… I don’t dislike her in the least bit, but I really didn’t like that house. This I don’t like either because there is so much clutter and blue/grey tones – too much of it, nothing jumps out per se. And way too much stuff. Of course, my own clutter-littered apartment isn’t much better.

  • Don’t get me wrong I like what Tom does but to be honest I feel like I’ve walked into his apartment a million times. His apartment reminds me of scores of good vintage stores and better antique shops. One that come’s to mind is Paula Rubenstein on Prince Street and certain shopkeepers in Tokyo have been perfecting this look for years. I just think other people should get a nod
    in this look as well. Luv ya Tom!

  • What a wonderful home! I feel like Gwyneth had a very beautiful and museum-like house, but TOB has a great HOME. It’s lived-in and doesn’t look like it was just cleaned for the photo shoot. I can just imagine the creative juices flowing with so much to look at and be inspired by.

  • Hum. It’s funny you reference Gwyneth’s home vs. TOB’s. I think I’d prefer a melding of the two- drawing upon the clean, glamorous vibe of Gwyn’s with the warmth and personal touches of O’Brien’s. To me, his place is a bit visually overwhelming in its current state.

  • Waaayyyy too cluttered for my taste! Sorry, but I love the minimalism and clean lines of Gwyneth’s home. So much more calm and peaceful to me.

  • I love the organized clutter of his home, especially on his walls (I’ve never seen a full spread of his house before), so I think it’s inspiring. I’d love my house to be like that–inspiring at every corner.

  • TOB is so blue white and gray….sorry but I feel like it’s so predictable and lacking.

  • I really liked this when I saw it. Not everyone is a minimalist. I like that it doesn’t look like a showroom like so many house magazine features. The beautiful color palette keeps it from being too busy. It gives me hope for my apartment as I am a lover of things and will never pare them down to stark minimalism. I think this look is harder to pull off. So what if dusting becomes a little more work? No big deal. This look lets you decide where to focus in the room. Some people look at it is a clutter, I just look at it as a room where I can discover different little details the more I look. I wouldn’t get bored. I love it.

  • I also loved his apartment. He actually has stuff collected over time, like anybody else. And it seems so full of personality. Granted, Thomas O’Brien’s style is easily recognizable thanks to his Target collection, but it’s always nice to see the way a designer uses his or her own designs.

  • I prefer Gwyn’s house, His colors are sad sad and the house is so cluttered. It looks like it all came from the same mid century modern store. It needs some more MIX! to make it fun

  • If the choice is between clutter/blue or white/stark/cold ….. I choose clutter/blue. Just more stimulating to live in.

  • Does anyone know where to get a constellation map like that one? I have been looking for YEARS, with no success! Please . . . anyone??

  • I love Thomas O’Brien’s place. I do feel like we’ve seen this apartment a few too many times, but it is fun to see how it’s changed.

    For LAUREL – A vintage copy of that map was on ebay three months ago. Actually, it was two maps a north and south hemisphere. It’s a huge map, about 4 feet square. I lost out to a bidding war on it. It ended up being $685. It’s beautiful. It’s a Rand-McNally constellation map. Email me (bmeyers(at)gmail.com) for more details. Maybe we can find a pair and spit them one day?