REMY RENZULLO is wearing the Salvo no.003. He is a decorator and antique dealer living between Connecticut and London.
What would you embroider onto a pillow?
Elegance is Refusal.
What do you want to find?
I’d like to find a ruin of a house that I can spend the rest of my life working on.
What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
Interior scenes by Andrew Wyeth.
What is your favourite representation of complexity?
18th and 19th century Ivory inlaid furniture from Vizagapatam.
Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ (which I am not) is always the first song I play at a party.
What is good design?
It’s pretty hard to top William Kent.
Where do you find good design?
I try to avoid sleeping on trains.
What should we be reading?
I read a fantastic book in 2019 called ‘Appeasement’ by a young English historian named Tim Bouverie. It’s a thrilling and well-researched account of the calamitous negotiations leading up to the German annexation of Czechoslovakia (as was then known) in 1939. Bouverie excels at illustrating the (what should be obvious) dangers of appeasing a despotic and tyrannical leader, and what can happen when such power goes unchecked. It Is also proof that history so often repeats itself - the cautionary tale at the heart of Bouverie’s book is as relevant today as in the waning days of 1938.
I read an equally interesting book titled, ‘All the Shah’s Men’ by Stephen Kinzer which deals with the CIA orchestrated coup that toppled the first democratically elected government in Iran’s history. While Americans are quick to point the finger at Iran today for sectarian violence in the Middle East, let us not forget that were it not for the nationalization of the AIOC oil-fields at Abadan in 1951, and the aforementioned Anglo-American coup that followed, we would likely be dealing with a vastly different political climate in the Middle East today.
What does your house smell like?
My mom always burns a mixture of piñon and juniper in a cast iron pan in the morning, whenever I’m at home, and carries it smoking throughout the house.
What does your house sound like?
A lot of crackling from the above. I’ve also been told I type incredibly loud.
What is dear to your heart?
A stuffed animal owl, which I’ve had for about fifteen years, that lives on my bed at home, a taxidermy owl, given to me by someone that I was very close to that is no longer alive, and a small collection of Regency papier-mâché snuff boxes from my grandmother.
What does progression mean to you?
Arriving at the last question of this interview.
What is a rule that should never be broken?
Don’t seat couples next to each other at dinner.
What is a rule that should always be broken?
Leave while the party is still full.
What stands the test of time?
It’s always reassuring to see really early American Saltbox houses still standing.
What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Growing up my family had a house in New Mexico. My mother developed an immense interest in Native and Indigenous culture, initially focused on art but gradually on their society and traditions as a whole. She became intimately acquainted, and involved with, a number of specific pueblos and tribal communities and from the time that I could walk would take me along with her. While attending sacred dances and rituals we would often be the only non-Native people in the room. While I took much of this for granted at the time, being exposed to cultures so visually immersive and in complete contrast to my own, left a lasting impression on me - and fostered my own interest and desire to bring awareness to Indigenous cultures.
What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
A lack of artifice, or a bit of self-deprecation.
What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
A more even playing field.
What do you collect?
Bits of Regency furniture, artist studies, enemies.
Who is an inspirational figure?
There have been a number of very inspiring women in my family, past and present.
What thoughts occupy you currently?
I’m quite a dreamer.
What do you still wish to learn?
I’ve always wanted to play the violin and the piano. Sadly, I do not have any musical aptitude. Much to the consternation of my friends I would also like to learn to speak Italian.
What is still a mystery?
It would seem a lot.
Where is happiness found?
I’m at my happiest when I’m in my boat, puttering along off the coast of Maine.
What do you see outside your window?
A very annoying nursery school.
What do you find humorous?
The pretenses of others.
What is your favorite slogan?
It’s not worth the commotion.
What are you working on at the moment?
Hopefully something very exciting.
What do you want to trade?
I have a large painting that I’d love to be rid of.
What makes a home?
Feeling at home.
Any last words?
Proust put it best when he wrote: “If we are to make reality endurable, we must all nourish a fantasy or two.”