What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everybody, so we’re asking some of the coolest, most shopping-savvy people we know—from small-business owners to designers, artists, and actors—to tell us the story behind one of their most prized possessions.


Dan Mazzarini loves a collected look. Drawing from his prior experiences at retail-centric design firms, he’s created an interior design style that leans a bit maximalist but doesn’t drift into feeling cluttered. Rather, his style is an old-meets-new approach. Think flea market finds plus the relaxed classicism of the modern East Coast gentry. In 2013, it was this design philosophy that led him to cofound Manhattan-based design studio BHDM Design, where he is the principal and creative director, and more recently to found Archive, where he helps clients find one-of-a-kind items for their spaces.

For Dan, blending old and new pieces creates a sense of history and offers rooms a lived-in feel—and there’s no better example of his “crisp, classic, and curated” aesthetic than his own New York City apartment where he lives with his partner, Andy. “In my own home, I love our vintage dining table, but I’ve paired it with new art,” he says, explaining the recurring motif of juxtaposing vintage and modern. “In our entryway I incorporated a mix of old and new artwork and frames,” he says. Meanwhile, in the living room he combined a contemporary coffee table of his own design with an antique side table. And on the fireplace hangs a 1930s walnut wood picture frame, to which he added a new mirror.

There’s a certain refined East Coast vibe to it all, perfectly reminiscent of Ralph Lauren, even down to the chic traditional color combos and items of decor. “I always love using black,” Dan says. “It’s the eyeliner of every room! I designed my home as a creamy dreamy box. It’s not all white, but it’s warm and reflective.” All the decor, from the furniture to the frames and artwork, comes together as a “cleaned up version of the Ralph Lauren aesthetic that is in my DNA,” he says. “It’s Greenwich Village with a bold, masculine approach.”


About a year ago Dan renovated the apartment. He wanted to bring in more historic pieces and a bronze, patinated bust of a man fit the bill perfectly. “I imagine it’s probably 70 or 80 years old,” he explains. Dan jokingly says that maybe the bust represents “the fleeting nature of beauty,” as the patina hints at the piece’s age, and yet it adds another layer of beauty to the already stunning bust.

Dan Mazzarini, photographed by Reid Rolls


For added visual appeal, Dan situated the bust in the corner of his dining room and placed it atop a black pedestal by Josh Greene for Dowel. As a designer, Greene noticed that there weren’t enough pedestals that were both functional and great-looking, so he designed a pedestal collection for Dowel Furniture, says Dan. “We were talking about the pedestals over dinner one night, and he ended up bringing one of his pedestals to me after our conversation.” Seeing the bust atop the pedestal, Dan realized the modern piece juxtaposed perfectly against the bust “in an elevated way.” He loves the clean and contemporary lines of the pedestal juxtaposed with the element of age that the bust brings to the space.

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By Peter