9. Sara Story
Good taste: Either you’re born with it or you get a job working for Victoria Hagan and pay close attention. If you’re lucky, you get both. Interior designer Sara Story was born in Japan and raised in Texas and California, so there’s a big American sense of style and color to her interiors, but it’s toned down with Asian refinements, modern-furniture touches, and a well-bred, classic-six sense of decorum. It’s not everyone who can cross uptown and downtown sensibilities and not end up somewhere in Murray Hill, but luckily for her, Story has a good sense of direction.
It pays to be in the right place at the right time. Riding the wallpaper resurgence, Kyra Hartnett and her husband, Robertson, principals of the youthful all-around design shop twenty2, made their first splash in 2003 with a small line of hand-printed wallpaper, a success they followed up the next year with fabrics. The collection has kept growing. This weekend, twenty2 debuts carpet designs with AM Collection at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. What makes twenty2 so special is how Hartnett and Robertson blend color, pattern, sophistication, and wit, all tied up with a late-modernist bow, in everything they do.
11. Rob Wynne
The artist Rob Wynne has been making art for almost 30 years and is in the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection. But lately, he’s achieved success in a different realm. His witty and whimsical small sculptures or mantel-size works ended up in three rooms at the current Kips Bay Decorator Show House. His pieces are both dark and cheery (like the white glass snake and huge ceramic fly at the showhouse), but Wynne is unfazed by his latest fan base. “Art is sort of decoration—isn’t that how people use it?” he wonders. “I’m not afraid of being either deep or meaningless— I swing both ways.” Wynne’s gallery is Raphael Castoriano Fine Arts.