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Interiors

Living and Working Downtown With Postmodern Treasures

by Annie Werbler

The final installment in a series of three home tours covering Dana Arbib‘s A Peace Treaty universe (see Living It Up on the Lower East Side and An Airy Modern Greenhouse in Brooklyn, as well as Dana’s own stunning place), the apartment and office of Jamee Gidwitz — the president and founder of Rêve Public Relations — is located within Manhattan’s historic Financial District. While her company specializes in representing accessory brands, her fiancé John Betts is the CEO of nearby Noble Markets. Jamee herself has lived in the building for almost nine years, while she and John have occupied their 1,475-square-foot unit for nearly two. The now-residential building is the former 1928 JP Morgan Bank headquarters, converted to apartments a decade ago with interiors by Philippe Starck. Jamee’s love for mid-century modern furniture and postmodern artwork has dictated the feel of the apartment, and high ceilings, white walls, and blonde wood floors provide a perfect backdrop. “We wanted a modern yet warm space that felt tonal but not overly thematic,” Jamee explains. “I like the organic elements, and tried to have base objects be more or less neutral (woods, glass, concrete, taupes) and use color and pattern strategically to accessorize and emphasize.”

“Jamee is one of the few people I can randomly call to discuss Mid-Century German Lava Ceramics, and she will know exactly what I’m talking about,” Dana Arbib shares. “When I first saw Jamee’s home, it was clear that we share an obsession in curating rare niche design objects. She is a mid-century furniture collector: her home is a curated revival of 60s modernism and like me, she doesn’t take design too seriously, she likes to have fun with it. Though we no longer work together, our shared aesthetic is forever!”

With acclaimed designers and artists from Eero Saarinen to Frank Gehry to Chuck Close represented in her personal collection, Jamee also enjoys displaying the work of friends who have made pieces that integrate seamlessly into her decor. “The vibe really sets Rêve apart from other PR firms,” Jamee imagines. “Stylists and editors can come over, have a coffee and a chat, do a little business, have a little fun… and our clients hugely benefit from having their collections walking distance from Time Inc., Condé Nast, and Bauer Publishing. I can’t tell you how many 7 am or 10 pm pickups we’ve been able to accommodate thanks to our unique set-up and way of working.” —Annie

Photography by Genevieve Garruppo

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The vintage orange woven wool upholstered chairs in the living room were scored for $25 at a downtown thrift shop. A pattered baby alpaca throw from A Peace Treaty is draped overtop.
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Jamee Gidwitz relaxes with her Pillow Spheres by artist Andrew Yes. "They're brilliant because you can actually interact with them," she explains. "They come in the most invigorating colors and patterns." Eduardo Garza created the bespoke 24-karat gold sculpture with 10 lapis lazuli stones standing on the table.
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In the main living area, a large Émile Gilioli rug was once owned by Jamee's grandparents.
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"What I love most about my home is... That it's a haven for past, present, & future life." - Jamee Gidwitz
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Jamee references her library often, where she can also view the brass work of her friend Alexander Krivosheiw, who is the official sculptor of the Olympics.
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"My little gallery wall!," offers Jamee. "You can just make out the Chuck Close, which he signed and gave to me for my 28th birthday –- I modeled for him back in the day. This work is a detail of a Phillip Glass fingerprint painting, which is particularly interesting because the language of Chuck’s fingertips has disappeared due to his paralysis, so this piece, created later, is comprised of smooth oval shapes."
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"I’m a fan of bringing verticality to a space, and by that I mean down as well as up," Jamee shares. "The floor is an overlooked yet interesting opportunity!" Original yet delicate Frank Gehry shelves display lightweight decorative objects.
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Jamee prefers a pared-down approach to allocating space around the kitchen. "I keep soap INSIDE the sink and would prefer all appliances hidden away as well, but the storage space is wanting," she says.
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To her, delicious fresh fruit is the most functional and beautiful decoration.
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"I try to inject life into the kitchen with a fun shock of color," Jamee explains.
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In the guest bathroom, Jamee added an organic touch with washed black river stones on the shower floor.
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In the master bathroom sanctuary, well-designed items are put on display. "The large bottle of Chanel No° 5 is a gift from my dear friend, the photographer Camilla Alibrandi," Jamee recalls, "From when she once stayed with me over Fashion Week. The note said, 'Not for a girl…for a WOMAN.' "
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In the uncluttered, postmodern bedroom, a 1960s tapestry by Lucien Fleury anchors the wall while a medicine cabinet from client and jewelry designer Lele Sadoughi has drawers lined in suede to prevent contents from sliding.
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The Rêve Public Relations office is designed with an all-white palette so products can stand out, like the scarves from A Peace Treaty currently on the wall. "I like to visually surround myself with the accessories my company represents," Jamee explains. "It inspires me for pitches and pulls."
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"The photograph was taken by Stephan Crasneanscki," Jamee says. "About 10 years ago, I was helping my friend -- film producer Paul Barrois -- move out of his East Village apartment, which has been grandfathered by several decades of French friends. I found this photograph and many others under the bed. Happily, Stephan let me keep two; he’s since gone on to shoot for Chanel, etc. I think it’s so great, and the old school chaise lounge depicted is the lightest shade of sun-bleached pink – it reminds me of 80s happiness."
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Jamee and John's 1,475-square-foot apartment in the Financial District comfortably contains her home office space.

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