Rhett Baruch finds that to say goodbye to
Having your house as a gallery has tons of pros, as Rhett Baruch shared with us in part #1 of our chat, even calling it his "preferred way to experience art and design".
When you put your heart, soul & — in Rhett's case — living space into your work, passing along your fave finds can be a difficult task. But when you pick such timeless and durable leather pieces, it's only natural to share its life circle with many owners to come.
As you may imagine, the collector gets his pieces & inspirations from all over. His carefully decorated LA house is the type of gallery which you can literally lounge as in your own home — with hot coffee, a comfy leather sofa & the works.
To discover the incredible finds Rhett had a hard time saying goodbye to — or even chose to keep in his permanent collection — dive into part #2 of our interview right here 🔦.
We’d imagine that as a collector, you're emotionally connected to some of the pieces you feature in your home. What are five leather pieces you’ve collected that were the hardest to part with?
There is always an emotional connection at some point, otherwise, I wouldn’t buy it or sell it. At first a collector and secondly and more recently, a dealer, it took a while for it to “click” and for me to be able to understand that pieces come and go. As with most things of repetition, it gets easier the more you do it. So, as long as I contribute to the daily hard work and ensure I’m authentically procuring what is unique and hopefully valuable, in some sense, there will be more of it.
I love to enjoy the moment I initially have with each piece that is sourced or worked on with a contemporary designer. It's not to say that I lose interest in any particular item, but I'm always interested in the initial exploration and growth within the design field. I think artists understand this and it's the same reason they continue to produce work and release it into the world.
Since I am not formally educated and don't have any real tenor within the business, I soak up as much as I can and autonomously seek newness in all capacities. All that being said, one of my first major finds was a massive leather rhino by Omersa for Abecrombie and Fitch, circa 1960s. It was obtained from the local Hollywood estate of Joanna Pettet and had an incredible, well-aged patina and was large enough to seat two! Second, I would say the leather Coach coat/bag rack, it was part of a window display for Coach stores. It had very intricate details throughout, like the cactus flowers, that are cast resin and airbrushed, and it ultimately went to a local designer friend of mine. My Mart Stam chairs and Taidgh O’Neill’s NEZ chair are still part of my collection. Also, the Karl Springer style coffee table and an Italian commode, both on my Instagram.
Thinking of the pieces you've collected, which leather products are your favorites?
Some of my favorite leather pieces are my dining chairs, S33’s by Mart Stam for Thonet, designed in 1926 as the first production cantilevered chair. I use them every day to work and occasionally entertain. They are light, both physically and aesthetically, and really let my dining table breathe. The table is by Enrico Baleri for Knoll and I believe the communication that the chrome and leather have with this Sardenian granite is just perfect. Also, as explained before, the leather Omersa rhino bench felt like a once in a lifetime find that I would enjoy to own again, if I had the proper space to display it.
How do homes with perpetually evolving décor, like yours, maintain a consistent style? What does the process of constantly updating your apartment décor look like?
Consistency for me has only been found in the lack of consistency. It’s taken a while to get comfortable with a rotating interior, but now, I can’t think of living any other way. It’s not a wasteful practice in the context in which I do it. Nothing is left on the curb, nothing comes from a place of exploitation and climate abuse, I say no to disposable. The rotation keeps me on the hunt, working diligently, and makes for exciting conversations if it’s been a couple weeks since you’ve last popped in. Some of my favorite, inspirational dealers do it and it's always been attractive to me. Think Florence Lopez, an early discovery for me, in Milk Decoration magazine. Others that I find exceptionally great at this concept are Jon Roberts of Marquis De Mod, Berry Dijkstra in Amsterdam, and Stefano and Rafaella Pompucci of Zucca design, Italy. The lifestyle definitely beats sitting in a gallery showroom 40 hours a week, no offense to those that have the patience!
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