With a roster of clients from Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld to Renee Rockefeller, David Netto knows how to keep it real—expertly balancing art, architecture, and vintage finds. The AD100 alum is also an engaging author, with a monograph that not only showcases his range as a designer but his wit as a writer. Here, he shares his story, what’s inspiring him right now—and a few Chairish favorites.


David Netto at his studio in Los Angeles, Photography by Rozette Rago.

Tell us about the start of your design practice. You studied architecture at Harvard but dropped out, before founding your studio. What brought you to that decision, and what was it like launching your business?

I wanted very much to be an architect and the brutal truth is I couldn’t do the math to pass structures. It was not a decision arrived at cavalierly, I can tell you—it was a choice made for me. The upside is that when I returned to NYC at that time, there were many friends of mine just getting their first serious apartments. I was launched right away, and would have ended up doing interior design for my career mainly anyway, I believe.

Interior design by David Netto, Photography by Roger Davies/OTTO.

You’ve written about design for some of the world’s best publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, and T, in addition to the books you’ve written. How do you balance these creative interests? Did you think you would be a designer or a writer alone, before doing both?

Well, writing pays no money, so you can’t really justify spending more than 20% of your time on it (or I can’t, anyway). It’s a thing that I love to do because I’ve gotten to meet and write about people who are real heroes to me, and to take care of some stories I wouldn’t have wanted in anyone else’s hands. But decorating is the real job. Writing kind of came up and bit me in the ass, and we made friends, anyway.

Interior design by David Netto, Photography by William Waldron/OTTO.

You grew up in New York but now live in Los Angeles. How has this bicoastal background influenced your approach to design?

I would say LA opened me up as a designer. The relationship to the outdoors is something that would have been very hard to become exposed to in NY, for instance. Also there is EVERY architectural style! But coming from the east gave me whatever pedigree I may possess, I would say; gave me real taste based on knowledge of furniture and great rooms of the past. That’s where all that went down.

How would you describe your overall aesthetic and approach to design, and how has it evolved over time?

I like to be site-specific, get into character through the architecture, and to try to do something that feels tailored to the personality who lives there. Bespoke, not so much about me except as an editor. Over time I have become more optimistic as a designer, I would say. Lighter in palette, more interested in taking a few risks.

Interior design by David Netto, Photography by Francesco Lagnese/OTTO.

What has it been like living in a Neutra house in Silverlake? How did you come to acquire it, and what was your strategy behind designing the spaces?

It has defined my family life by being a place full of optimism, and it lifted my taste, too—it’s a world-class piece of architecture with the power of illusion, at its core message, that we can live outdoors.

Finally, what would be a dream project for you and why? What’s something you would just absolutely love to design?

I would like to do some set design for a director who was fanatical about delivering a virtuoso period point of view. Probably the worst example of this recently was Napoleon; the best include A Night to Remember, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and obviously Barry Lyndon.

Interior design by David Netto, Photography by Gieves Anderson.


What do you find most compelling about Chairish?

I like the clear, elegant quality of its graphic setup. Lots of “air.” Makes you see things, and makes things look good.

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?

Well, it’s the most sustainable thing to use antiques and keep furniture out of landfills, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to upholstery.

Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have?

French 18th century silver probably turns up all the time at auction that I don’t know about.

Interior design by David Netto, Photography by Roger Davies/OTTO.


Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room? Scale. Just blow up the scale of something–a vase, a tree, a boat model–and no one will ever be bored in there. Think you did that? Now make it bigger.

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill”? Giant vintage ski posters.

Favorite iconic piece of vintage design? Mercedes 300 SL convertible.

Favorite paint color? Benjamin Moore HC-51 Audubon Russet.

Favorite piece of decor in your home? It’s all about things next to other things—the juxtapositions, so you can’t pick one. But I do love the chair in my bedroom in Amagansett I bought from Gerald Bland.

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration? Georges Geoffroy.

Favorite style icon? Q Tip, William Eggleston, my girlfriend Helen Rice.

Design destination every creative should visit at least once? Louis Kahn’s Exeter Library.

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? “Now don’t hide your talents away.” –Spoken to me by David Amini, owner of Beauvais Carpets during one of my down-periscope periods.

Interior Design by David Netto, Photography by Roger Davies/OTTO.


Favorite vacation destination? Anywhere in German Switzerland.

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling? Hoshinoya in Kyoto. Caledonian Sleeper (not a hotel, but a train between England and Scotland).

Favorite restaurant? Clarke’s in London, The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh.

Favorite small museum? Norton Simon Museum.

Favorite podcast? The Just Enough Family.

Favorite Instagram accounts to follow? @taralynn, @sofiatesmenitskaya, @geraldblandinc, @jungmann_neffe, @giacomo_milano, @shopponytail, @sheldricktrust

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift? A half case of Sancerre or a myrtle topiary from Plaza Flowers.

Favorite flower? Orange tulips, pale pink peonies.

Favorite adult beverage? I like to make sidecars. Sugar on the rim and all that.

Favorite way to unwind at home? TCM.

Favorite entertaining essential? Ice cold vodka in chilled glasses, right as they walk in. Put it in their hand before they can ask for something lame like white wine and slow everything down.

Lead Image: Interior Design by David Netto, Photography by Roger Davies/OTTO.

April 25, 2024

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