“What makes a New Yorker is drive. You just get to it or you don’t last,” David Scott imparts this information to the Observer from his Midtown, art-imbued apartment. Art by Harry Bertoia, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Steven Bindernagel, Ed Ruscha, James Kennedy, Frank Flynn and John Fraser provides an equal backdrop of 180-degree views of the city. Mr. Scott, his dachsund Ethan and all of this artwork share a one-bedroom apartment converted from what was once a two-bedroom.
Color, texture, space and proportion are the most important elements of design for Mr. Scott. He gathers a great deal of inspiration from books. Cleavage by Bethany Fancher, A Visual Life by Charlotte Moss, and a Matthew Ritchie book feature on the coffee table. As for knowing what will complete a room, Mr. Scott suggests an oddity or element of surprise. “Sometimes when I’m shopping I’ll find an object that I wouldn’t think is perfect, but is.”
How did you pick the art and decoration for your home?
Every piece of art I’ve collected holds a personal memory. Most of the objects and decorations I have collected over many years come from traveling, auctions and from my favorite dealers. I am obsessed with collecting boxes and even named my book Outside the Box. The only piece of furniture I had moving into this apartment was the English Regency Tilt Top table. I auctioned off everything else from my previous apartment. When it comes to the art, I just pick it up when I’m traveling or at auctions. Basically anything that I love, I will buy.
How did you decide to be an interior designer?
In the late 1980s, I was in the hotel and real estate business and involved in creating model apartments with the late, great interior designer Jay Spectre. One day, he turned to me and said, “You should go back to school and become a designer.” I took him seriously and I did!
What project are you most proud of?
In the early stages of my career, a New York client who had purchased a large vacation home in Arizona asked me to decorate it within a tight deadline. I had never managed a long-distance project before, so it truly was a bit daunting. When they arrived a few months later and walked around the completed house, they marveled at the transformation. She had tears streaming down her face, tears of happiness that is! It was an incredible moment for me and I have never forgotten that feeling of accomplishment.
How do you approach designing your own apartment as opposed to a client’s home?
I usually integrate an aspect of traditional design in to my professional interiors. But, my apartment embraces the modern. I chose shapes, forms and a warm color palette for the furnishings to soften the spaces and to contrast with the masculine severity of the architecture.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I try to do a comfortable blend of timeless elegance of the past with functionality of the present. But like all designers, we’re intensely curious people. That’s how you become an interior designer. I think you have an insatiable curiosity for objects, environments, places and other interiors. I buy a lot of books on Amazon and from Potterton in the city. I focus mostly on design, art and travel for inspiration.
Which elements did you know you had to incorporate into your home?
Carini Lang rugs because they are so luxurious and original. Joe Carini creates these amazing hand-woven rugs in Tribeca and I have one in my living room called Confetti, one in my bedroom that is 100 percent silk shag and one that’s silk tiger print.
A few projects we are working on include a complete renovation and decoration of a Park Avenue apartment and collaborations with prominent architects on new vacation homes in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Sag Harbor and East Hampton.
You grew up in New York and have lived here for years. What makes someone a New Yorker?
New York has an extraordinary mix of cultures and is constantly changing. New ideas germinate in my head from simply walking the streets. I think you’re a New Yorker as soon as you move here. It’s not like the South where it takes 10 years to feel a part of the place. It is a place where people come and go from, a real melting pot, and it’s also a place you have to get away from at times! What makes a New Yorker in many ways, is someone who can survive here.