Photographs by Dean Kaufman
OBSESSION: Apartment As Boutique
There are no sales tags on the furniture in David Biscaye’s large Upper East Side studio. But, for the right client, he’ll part with just about anything. For the past twenty years, Biscaye has run his architectural-design and antique-dealing business, Biscaye Frères (212-744-2725), out of his apartment. Rather than leasing a showroom to display his Parcel gilt armchairs or English Derby dessert service for eight, he simply cohabits with them. He’ll invite clients over for dinner parties or afternoon “espresso and dolci,” and if they happen to fall in love with his Puiforcat silver or rock-crystal centerpiece, they can simply buy it. Of course, there are limits to what Biscaye is willing to sell. One armchair in the living room, for instance, was owned by his great-grandfather, a chef for the Astors and Vanderbilts, and is off-limits. And then there’s the pair of club chairs that Biscaye obtained from one of the city’s better-known private clubs. “I could have sold these twenty times over,” he says, but so far, he has refused. Then again, “I could be talked into selling, if someone were really passionate about them.”
1. Biscaye standing beneath an American Empire”style mirror.
2. Italian plaster bust of Apollo.
3. Wood campaign coat stand. Photo: Dean Kaufman
1. Silver place settings by Puiforcat.
2. Sterling napkin cuffs from Biscaye Frères for Neue Galerie.
3. Porcelain figures Actaeon and Apollo from Berlin.
4. Lamps made from vintage Christofle silver candlesticks. Photo: Dean Kaufman
1. Italian fruitwood dressing-table mirror.
2. Creil plates, circa 1800.
3. Italian clock, circa 1780s.
4. Vintage leather eight-drawer comptoir from the George V hotel in Paris.
5. Vintage poster from the 1960 Rome Olympics.
6. Italian parcel-gilt armchair with eagle armrests. Photo: Dean Kaufman