@Home Design: Netizen of the World

Paris can make the susceptible American swoon over many things. Café au lait. The Venus de Milo. Colette (that is the name of the store on the Fauborg St. Honoré that everyone’s now copying, right?). But it was the Porte de Clingnancourt flea market that stole Christy Ferer’s 20-year-old heart: “I was on a graduate seminar in Paris, and my assignment was to study how the open-air markets are set up. Only I became addicted to them.” Since then, Ferer has bargained her way from Brimfield to Bombay. Some of her global spoils go in the basement – until she misses them, she says: “I also give a lot away to people I love so I know I’ll see stuff again.” Her Upper East Side apartment, where she lives with her husband, Neil Levin, and her two daughters, is rich in patisserie moldings, an elegant backdrop for foreign objets and blue-chip contemporary art. Ferer’s Website, stylewiz.com, launching this summer, will cobble up virtual rooms in a similarly sibylline style – it’s a portal to cool furniture sites. “I first looked at the Web when my kids started playing video games,” Ferer says. “I thought, this is a vast, endless universe. Wouldn’t it be great to put the best things into everyone’s rooms and wardrobes?” It’s not as though there weren’t historical precedent for stuffy-spritely, occidental-Oriental, Target-Tiffany matchmaking. “Marie Antoinette was influenced by lacquered screens coming out of China when she decorated Versailles,” Ferer says. “She was already looking at things out of context.”

How will the Internet change the home?
It’s already turned down the decibel level: Phones don’t ring. Kids don’t watch TV. Shopping and home chores are computerized for my housekeeper. Relationships are much easier to maintain via e-mail and digital photography. My favorite thing in the world is to send Blue Mountain cards in Indian or Chinese: happy diwali!

Our computers
Two iBooks (one orange, one blue), one Dell PC, one blue iMac, and one old Apple. We also have DSL.

Bought it online
For the TV show The View, I produced an entire Thanksgiving feast where everything from the flowers to the wine, the turkey, the furniture, dishes, and the sherbet-stuffed lemons was bought online. I’ve also designed a carpet over the Net, sending digital designs to a Kathmandu manufacturer.

It’s important to have a 24-hour-a-day lifeline to Krispy Kreme, but the delivery service Kozmo doesn’t have the white-cream-filled doughnuts, which are my fave. My husband gets his Ben & Jerry’s from Kozmo.

Bookmarked sites
redenvelope.com, salon.com, crateandbarrel.com, lillianvernon.com, bluefly.com, nytimes.com, wsj.com, weather.com.

Please invent
A computer featuring several three-inch-square screens for different TV channels. Shopping online is still excruciatingly slow; it would be great to multi-task.

What do you most look forward to doing with the new technology?
Creating one shopping cart to aggregate purchases from different sites so you don’t have to keep entering your financial info.

Coolest new tech product
The BlackBerry by Research in Motion, a wireless device that allows you to retrieve e-mail.

@Home Design: Netizen of the World