Walking into the New York City home of author and illustrator Maira Kalman is like stepping into the pages of one of her beautiful books. Small, curated groups of eclectic objects with fascinating histories fill every corner, and there are enough books and artwork to fill a NYC gallery and library several times over. Hers is the type of home that cannot be replicated or produced overnight – this sort of magical, but very relatable, space takes both time and experience to build. When Max, Amy and I met with Maira, we were blown away by how many stories this
one space held. From treasured collections (books, boxes, buttons and more) to unbelievable objects (like conductor Arturo Toscanini’s suit) and family paintings, Maira’s home is like a living, breathing museum curated by someone who finds beauty in the everyday as much as the world of fine art.
Maira has called this West Village apartment (which is actually two apartments combined) home for over 32 years. Originally built in the early 1920s, her home has gone through several transformations with the help of architect Ross Anderson. By keeping the space neat, organized and all white, Maira has created the perfect backdrop for displaying (and living with) a lifetime’s worth of meaningful art, furniture and objects. What struck me most about Maira’s home (aside from the fact that we were actually standing next to – and talking with – one of our community’s most inspiring artists) was the sense of appreciation for all objects. From laundry drop-off tickets and shopping bags to old shoes and paintings, Maira’s home is a welcoming space where all things loved – and lovingly made – can be on equal footing. To say that it was an honor to step into her home would be a great understatement – it is truly a day I know none of us will ever forget. I hope you will enjoy this tour as much as we did. Also, be sure to check out both of Maira’s fantastic new books, My Favorite Things and Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag: 31 Objects from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum – both are celebrations of her favorite objects and focus on telling the stories behind incredible objects and artwork. xo, grace