A series of paintings by artist John Wesley, circa 1971, are placed above a 10-foot custom Stillman-style sofa by American Dural.
A terra-cotta bust, circa 1800, rescued from a tear-down in Boston and placed on a partner’s desk, greets visitors in the foyer.
A 1920s gold watch from Tiffany & Co. stands alongside a ship’s compass from the 1830s.
An 18th-century British door knocker rests on a Jeff Koons art book.
Lorber eats breakfast and reads the Post every morning at this 1960s Saarinian marble table. The dining room chairs are B&B Italia by the Max Alto Collection.
Michael Lorber in front of Night, 2005, an oil painting by Peter Mandradjieff
Michael Lorber answers the door to his East Side apartment wearing a dress shirt and tie, a jacket with a pocket square, jeans and elegant brown velvet slippers. Very GQ, very Cary Grant. It follows that Lorber’s home, a 2,000-square-foot converted one-bedroom, is very wellappointed. Miró, Picasso and Kandinsky originals adorn walls painted a handsome shade of gray-blue. A Jeff Koons sculpture of blue balloon dogs gleams from a glass table in the living room. There are orchids in the living and dining rooms, and five flat-screen televisions scattered throughout. Cashmere shawls, many of them monogrammed, have been folded and placed on Barcelona and Eames chairs.
“I’m a collector of collections,” says Lorber, 31, whose foyer bookshelves are filled with first editions of classics like The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and The Old Man and the Sea, and whose study contains boxes from Cartier, Rolex, IWC and Patek Philippe watches. Lorber also collects maps and old documents: Among other rarities, he has a letter from John Quincy Adams and a linen handkerchief that was printed with the Declaration of Independence on the 75th anniversary of its signing. There are simpler pleasures here, too, like the large bowl of clementines that Lorber keeps on his Saarinen marble dining room table.
The director of business development for Douglas Elliman Worldwide Consulting in New York and partner of Lincoln Real Estate Capital in Boston (he commutes once a week to Beantown), Lorber has a good sense of humor, which will be showcased on Bravo’s real estate reality show, Million Dollar Listing; he’s currently filming episodes that will air in October. “I follow the philosophy: ‘Think Yiddish, dress British’,” Lorber says. “Along the same lines, my dad told me once: ‘You can either eat Italian or wear Italian. You can’t do both.’” (His father, Howard, is the chairman of Douglas Elliman. “He’s also the chair of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in Coney Island,” notes Michael.)
Invest in the Best
On college summer breaks, Lorber learned about ambition, real estate and the importance of maintaining high standards under the tutelage of Donald Trump. “If you use better materials, they’ll last longer. If you spend a few thousand dollars on a sofa instead of five hundred, you’re not going to have to replace it later on.” He leans back on a $10,000, 10-foot custom Minotti sofa covered in green-blue corduroy, part of an aesthetic overhaul he gave his apartment three years ago. Working with decorator Phillip Miller, Lorber sought to upgrade the furnishings from catalogue fare to auctionhouse- quality pieces, to “give the place more texture, more color, more warmth… but not too much.”
Elegant, welcoming and spacious, this apartment is the favorite in Lorber’s most important of collections: real estate. Currently his portfolio includes a condo at the Ritz Hotel in Boston and two abodes in Nantucket. But this East Side apartment, which balances the soothing with the stimulating, is the jewel in his crown. “The others are more vacationy,” Lorber says. “This is a home. It’s not a house. There’s a difference. A person can have a lot of houses, but you can only really have one home.”
photograph by david land