“This house is about 110 years old; it was built around 1905, pre-earthquake — which is San Francisco’s version of pre-war.
It’s easy to do a black and white home, but to work with color takes sophistication.
The living room was the vision of our interior designer, Tom Britt, who suggested doing everything — the walls, curtains, sofa — in the same fabric, so that the art would be the first thing guests notice.
I come from a family of collectors; in putting together my own collection, I realized photography appealed to me. It’s sort of the medium of our time. I started with images by ‘The New Documentarians’ — DIANE ARBUS, GARRY WINOGRAND, and LEE FRIEDLANDER — before expanding to works by early color photographers and then bigger contemporary pieces.
My wife and I didn’t want a house that felt too fussy or self-important —
photography makes it young and fun.”
“John Baldessari was one of the first people to appropriate photographs and paint over them; he’s an important bridge between photography and painting in contemporary art.
A good Baldessari gives the sense that you’ve almost figured it out, but keeps you looking to find that last bit of meaning.”
“There’s an incredible green silk velvet sofa in my parents’ living room designed by MICHAEL TAYLOR; our sofa was inspired by that.
Tom and I went to their house with a tape measure and took the dimensions, down to the pillow placement.
“Christopher Williams is a darling of the new school of photography.
This is a relatively recent work; it’s one of the signature images from ‘The Production Line of Happiness,’ his 2014 show at the MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, in New York City.”
“Tom had the tables made for us; they’re bone and ebony. We usually have flowers on them, but after seeing The Nutcracker, my daughter put that figurine there.”
“This is a MAN RAY, from the early ‘30s. He was really one of the first to experiment with photography in a sort of conceptual way. The photo is of a three-dimensional mathematical model.”
“This Hiroshi Sugimoto work isn’t a picture of Queen Elizabeth II — it’s her wax figure at Madame Tussauds. When we had PRINCE ANDREW to our house for dinner last year, I warned him he might see someone familiar in the living room.
‘Believe me,’ he replied, ‘It’s not the first time something like this has happened.’”
Photography byLauren Levinger
As told toAnthony Rotunno
Trevor Traina is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco, and the founder and CEO of IfOnly.