Space of the Week: John Eaton’s Railroad Showcase

I first met John Eaton in 1998, when we featured his Tompkins Square apartment in our annual design issue. Back then, he was hawking vintage treasures to celebrities like Iman and Lauren Hutton from his East Village antique store, Geomancy. These days, he’s a designer at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (and a keen style blogger), but his apartment continues to function as a museum for his constantly expanding antiques, art, and décor collections. Here’s a view of the kitchen from the dining room. The ladder is an early-twentieth-century American design, whereas the large tangle of dried roots is from Indonesia. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The metal-panel wall decoration is actually part of a seat from a turn-of-the-twentieth century train; the grand Roman numeral indicates that it was in a second-class carriage on the Paris metro. Eaton remembers his grandparents’ house in North Carolina whenever he uses the initialed salt and pepper shakers. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here is a corner of the dining room. A Chinese marble Buddha stands on a metal base in front of a nineteenth-century gilded frame. Photo: Wendy Goodman

This pair of Brazilian spears is carefully placed against the dining room wall to create a painterly aesthetic. Eaton got the late-nineteenth-century expandable sconce from the south of France. Photo: Wendy Goodman

At one end of the living room, a large plaster head, which came from a friend’s Brooklyn studio, is right at home on top of a twentieth-century Chinese display pedestal. Eaton did the painting himself, and it’s part of his “action creation” series. Long before Restoration Hardware featured deconstructed finishes, he was busy painting distressed upholstery, like these two thirties Napoleon III”style bergères. The chairs are from the Clignancourt flea market in Paris via Liza Sherman’s West Village antiques store. The Jean-Michel Frank”style nesting tables are from Amsterdam, and the French studded-leather lamp is a forties original. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The opposite side of the living room features two late-nineteenth-century Louis XVI”style carved fauteuils, which Eaton personally refurbished. He removed the original woven rattan and freshened up the muslin with white acrylic: “I like this whimsical version,” he says. The shipping crate was also given the Eaton treatment with International Klein blue paint, from Aronson’s Flooring (135 West 17th St., nr. Seventh Ave.:212-243-4993). The black abstract painting is another of Eaton’s creations inspired by earlier contemporary artists. “I’m really into spontaneous, “burst-of-energy’ painting right now,” he explains. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Back in the eighties, Eaton found this painting on the streets of the East Village; it now presides over his bed. The headboard was upholstered with Ian Mankin fabric, and the double-headed forties industrial reading lamp sits on a folding French campaign table. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Eaton treats his summertime guests to a glass of his homemade iced tea, which he makes using fresh ginger and sprigs of mint. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here’s a sculpture Eaton made out of a rusty hammer and train-track nails. The concrete base is another gem he found on the curb, and the linen table is from the fifties. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Space of the Week: John Eaton’s Railroad Showcase