The Aesthete: David Netto talks personal taste

The LA-based interior designer has authored residential projects across the globe, as well as lighting and children’s furniture

David Netto at home in Amagansett, New York
David Netto at home in Amagansett, New York | Image: Weston Wells

My personal style signifier is my Swaine Adeney Brigg leather briefcase, which I started carrying when I was a kid and wanted to look like I had a job; there was just a Walkman and a toothbrush in there. I get so many compliments on it, but you never see anyone carrying them. Also double-breasted jackets with white jeans. You can be buttoned up, natty and respectable or leave them open, pop the collar and be a rock star. It’s handy, as one gets older, to be able to transform and still get away with wearing jeans; good tailoring in the jacket does that. From £1,095; swaineadeneybrigg.com.

Netto’s Swaine Adeney Brigg briefcase
Netto’s Swaine Adeney Brigg briefcase | Image: Weston Wells

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Tree Hotel, near Luleå in Swedish Lapland. My daughter Madelyn found it in a book about tree houses and said, “Let’s go here.” I have never been steered wrong on any holiday by a child. It’s a highly personal, intelligent fantasy of design and ecological tourism – and very intimate. The most memorable thing was being taken on snowmobiles at night to have dinner on a frozen lake in a candlelit tent. Ice dining, SKr2,500 (about £210); rooms, from about £375; treehotel.se.

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My favourite room in my house is my bedroom at the beach in Amagansett. Particularly in a storm. Terrifying. It’s a hexagonal sort of lighthouse tower on the ocean, which rocks a bit in the wind when things really get going. When a wave pounds ashore, you feel the shock coming up through the pilings and the house. 

A candlelit dinner in Swedish Lapland
A candlelit dinner in Swedish Lapland

The person I rely on for personal grooming is Wendy Kidd, my hairdresser in New York since 1992 – it’s unbelievable; we laugh about it. wendykiddstudio.com. 

Campari – always found in his fridge
Campari – always found in his fridge

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Kitty Fisher’s in London. I’ve noticed that many well-informed English people haven’t heard of it, which surprises me. I was taken there by the great Lauren Adriana and her husband. The atmosphere is Hogarthian, in a dark and intimate basement, like all secret great things should be. The house cocktail is called a Bad Kitty – so they had me for life right there – but the food is a sort of simplified, clarified, intellectual take on English cuisine. I had incredible duck, squash and turnip. kittyfishers.com.

Captain Kidd shell watercolour
Captain Kidd shell watercolour | Image: Weston Wells

The best gift I’ve given recently? I was sitting on a plane and saw a girl being escorted aboard, flying alone for the first time and maybe just 10 years old. She was very nervous, having said goodbye to her parents, who were even more nervous. I anonymously bought her an upgrade to first class.

Robert Kime upholstered chair
Robert Kime upholstered chair

In my fridge you’ll always find Campari. Most people don’t keep it in there, but they should.

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An object I would never part with is my watercolour of a shell from one of Captain Cook’s South Sea voyages from Ursus Books in New York. I love the journeys of objects; I look at that tiny shell and it feels like I’m watching Master and Commander. ursusbooks.com.

An indulgence I would never forgo is chemically relaxing my hair every few months, with the aforementioned Wendy. I wanted to look like a Kennedy – but not Rose Kennedy.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Pimlico in London. It’s a ghost of what it was in the 1980s, but with Jamb for furniture and mantels, Soane for wicker and mirrors, Christopher Butterworth for lamps, Hemisphere Gallery for sculpture and art, Robert Kime for upholstered furniture and Syrian tables and Rose Uniacke for light fixtures, it’s still my favourite place. christopherbutterworth.net. hemispheregallery.com. jamb.co.uk. robertkime.com. roseuniacke.com. soane.co.uk.

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