November Book of the Month // May I Come In? Wendy Goodman

“Nothing is interesting unless it is personal” Billy Baldwin

Although not a brand new title, Wendy Goodman’s ‘May I Come In?’ gets our vote for Book of the Month. The New York Magazines celebrated design editor has had the privilege to tour some of the world’s most extraordinary homes over the decades. From Manhattan’s East and West sides, Venice, Paris and afar it’s her job to seek out interiors that transport you to another place. 

The publications title image shares the time photographer Fernando Bengoechea added a last minute flourish to John and Dodie Rosekran’s Palazzo Brandolini in Venice. “Fernando came to me and he grabbed my arm and he said, ‘now listen, you’re going to be upset. I did something. I just want you to look at it.’” Bengoechea had pulled a medieval-looking flag from the Palazzo’s exterior through a window, allowing the flag to spill inwards, and cover the exquisite marble work like a carpet. “I thought, oh my God, it’s so brilliant. It makes the picture,” she remembers. And not only did it make the picture, it made the cover of the book. 

Wendy Goodman has discovered and published stories on an astonishing array of private houses, notable for their character, personality, and flair, in her 30 years of design hunting. May I Come In? visits more than 75 that capture and express their owners’ spirit and passions.  Transporting you into the homes of the elite, well travelled, design confident and effortlessly stylish, any one of these 75 homes will leave you more than impressed. 

Every room has a story to tell. May I Come In? is illustrated with superb images by leading interior photographers, as well as Goodman’s own snapshots and memorabilia related to her quests. It is an irresistible visual record of the art of living. Goodman has spent decades producing photo shoots in the world’s most extravagant and beautiful homes for many magazines, including House & Garden, The New York Times Magazine, and Architectural Digest. 

Early on in her career, she says, “I realised that I was fascinated by interiors, the more private, the more fascinating, the more impossible to get into, the more obsessed I became.” 

“I realized,” she says, “that what I wanted for this book was to tell the stories behind the stories.” And so she does, in a series of text blocks in which she portrays herself as a cat on the prowl.

Speaking to Vanity Fair Magazine Wendy shared that most of her favourite houses are already gone. Her mentor Diana Vreeland had a beautiful red living room that was repainted after her death. Her muse, the set designer Tony Duquette, had a ranch that burned down three years after she captured it on film.

Above, the artist Kathy Ruttenberg’s living room

A Countess in Paris. A sitting room filled with a cozy array of books, paintings, a Boulle armoire, crystal chandelier, and needlepoint upholstered chairs.

Misha Kahn & Nick Haramis. The living room was filled with fun, a furry sofa and fish scale cabinet by the Campana Brothers plus a standing platypus lamp by Misha.

You can purchase the book published by Abrams on Amazon here

Nicky’s World November 2019