@Home Design: The brighter house rules

Tiffany Dubin’s midlife crisis came a little early. Still well under the big four-oh, she woke up one morning last summer and realized everything had to go. Not the family, not the city – the furniture. “I’d become allergic to everything we had,” she says. “My apartment was always like a flea market. But I didn’t want tons of clutter. I wanted clean, modern, functional, user-friendly, young.” And so the chintz was scrapped, the ruffles retired. The antiques went back to Sotheby’s – their original source, and Dubin’s former employer. Knickknacks were unloaded on eBay. But the Upper East Side prewar building was too good to leave. “The older I get, the more downtown I want to move,” says Dubin. “But as I can’t really do that at the moment, at least I can bring downtown uptown.” The acquisition of the apartment next door gave her more loftlike square footage, and Dubin, a shop-till-you-dropaholic who daylights as the vice-president of marketing and communications of the Auction Channel, set about filling it with objects made in the last century. Thirties glam was soon doing the samba with sixties and seventies kitsch: A pink daybed crept in, then turquoise chairs, then lime storage boxes. Suddenly, her chic silver-paper walls were cohabiting with the iMac palette: “People made fun of me. It was like a big joke.” She giggles. But clearly, the joke’s on them.

What do you most look forward to doing with the new technology?
Getting rid of the zillions of papers I carry everywhere.

Home computers
There are four of them: My Compaq, my husband’s Sony VAIO, my daughter’s strawberry iMac, and a Compaq laptop I use that just blew up.

Bought it online
All from eBay: Eames and Bertoia chairs, a “snakeskin” ice bucket, tie-dye glasses, vintage wallpaper and fabric. I’ve also used Urbanfetch to get drugstore items; Kozmo’s good for movies, Ben & Jerry’s, and magazines.

Bookmarked sites
Vcwatch.com, industrystandard.com, internet.com, prnewswire.com, businesswire.com, guru.com, and girlgeeks.com.

Online shopping list
If I could get a pair of Marc Jacobs pants online, I would in two seconds. In the meantime, I’ll be checking out girlshop.com and style365.com. I’m also hooked on vintagecouture.com and eBay’s vintage stuff.

Favorite Websites
Lamodern.com, icon20.com, beauty.com, google.com, company.sleuth.com, edgar-online.com, auctionwatch.com, luxuryfinder.com, wgsn.com, girlshop.com, and of course eBay and sothebys.amazon.com’s fashion area.

Best computer chair
An Eames chair with a built-in desk I got on eBay for $100.

How online has influenced offline
Because there’s now such amazing access to things and information, expectations are higher; people expect to have responses immediately, at any time of day or night.

Please invent
A fridge that would automatically reorder more milk, diet raspberry Snapple, and Granny Smith apples.

Dream electronics purchase
A treadmill with Internet access attached.

Virtual art, pro or con?
Pro, especially if it’s stuff by Kenneth Noland, Jackson Pollock, David LaChapelle, or Horst.

Coolest new tech product
The Auction Channel’s interactive-TV technology, which allows the auctioneer to flirt with the audience.

Shop I could live in
The DKNY store.

@Home Design: The brighter house rules