“I love to create spaces. I grew up in Saratoga Springs, moved to New York right after college, and my first job was working for the artist, Peter Max. I was doing PR there. Then I met Bill Sofield, and I started working at Aero Studios. I ran the gallery and I fell in love. Bill recommended that I go to Parsons for drafting classes, to really get in the game, so I did that. And then when Bill started his own firm, I followed him there and did interior design for 10 years. It was at that point I really wanted to get into development.
The team at The Standard took a chance and hired me to run design development there. It was a 10 year project, and at the end, I decided to start my own company with [my husband] John. We got a lot of clients from the development contacts I had made over the years and we ramped up very quickly. I now work on about 15 projects [at a time], but in different phases. Some are out the door, some are in construction, others I’m designing on the front end. We do a lot of custom furniture, which is amazing because we get to meet lots of great artists to collaborate with. We just worked in Detroit with the Shinola team, and we put a huge Nick Cave in the middle of the lobby. A lot of hotels don’t have art, because it is an expense and a responsibility. And then you come across a project like Detroit and Shinola, and they’re willing to go there.
Because I’m primarily putting attention on the space around me, I’m not overly comfortable with drawing attention to my physical self. For example, I don’t wear bright nail polish because I’m referring to drawings often. I don’t wear a lot of makeup either—having a fresh face is, for me, comfortable. I started [being conscious of skincare] at 40, like 10 years ago. I go to the Greenwich Hotel spa for facials. I think everyone should go to the Greenwich Hotel in New York, and stay there—it transports you to a whole new world. There is this lifting facial that’s beautiful, but [I go for] relaxation. And then I go to Great Jones Spa for a Hydrafacial, and that’s more of a technical facial, for sure.
I’ve always struggled with acne a bit, but I think Proactiv and this Kate Somerville Acne Spot stuff really works. My first face wash of the day is always Proactiv, and then I’ll do more of an alpha beta wash—I double cleanse. And then I do a lip polish—I love the French Girl Rose one, it really plumps you up. After that I’m either on the Uma Brightening Oil, or SK-II. I use La Mer both morning and evening, and I will use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer throughout the day—I’m constantly moisturizing. I also mask a lot. I tried the Goop mask for the first time, and it didn’t work out well, let’s put it that way. But the Cherry Enzyme Peel from Naturopathica is a good one, it clears your pores out. I love the scent, but it’s a little strange. I switch it up with this one from La Mer, which is for firming.
Then it’s all about the dark spot removers and things that’ll make my tone even. Kiehl’s does a great one, Clearly Corrective Dark Spot, and then the Murad Rapid Age is amazing. This I just got, Dr. Dennis Gross’ new one, IPL Dark Spot Corrector. Usually a last step is La Mer’s oil, and then this is a good neck one, the Dr. Dennis Gross retinol. And then teeth whitening, I use the Crest 3-D Whitestrips. Oh my god, they work.
I’m kind of obsessed with all the Cowshed products. I will stay at Soho House in Miami because the rooms have them. My favorite is their body scrub called Grumpy Cow, believe it or not. The Wild Cow scent is very musky, the Grumpy Cow scent is fresh, and the lavender one is kind of soothing. And when it comes to lip balms, this LA Bruket with almond and coconut is a great lip one. It’s very sweet. You can get it in New York, but the is from a hotel sundry shop—I just love those. John will get me products from those shops and ship them back from wherever we stay, like a postcard. These were from the Ash Hotel in Detroit—they had the cutest little sundry shop, and I wanted to go in and get stuff, but I was in meetings for Shinola. So he sent me a whole little curated box. It was nice.
All of Marc Jacobs’ products are incredible. This is the Coconut Primer, and I use the highlighter from him. They really give you a little hit of glow, and you just look awake. I use all the RMS highlighters—those are more for going out. The Charlotte Tilbury Healthy Glow is also really nice, and it’s not really a foundation—it just has a little bit of a bronzer in it. I just got her primer, which is also pretty good.
If I’m going to an event, sure, I’ll wear foundation. La Mer does an amazing one, and also a little stick concealer—I use that to cover spots. I wear mascara pretty much every day, the one from Glossier. Their wand is great. And I’d say if I had only one thing I could do, I would do eyebrows. So I have Boy Brow in Brown.
For hand lotion I’m using one from LA Bruket. I switch up my body lotion between Bio-Oil, Kiehl’s—the Bio Oil is great for stretch marks. And then I have to say Donna Karan’s Cashmere is great—I have the deodorant, too. You know what it is? Scent is important, but it’s texture. Do you know what Flamingo is? It’s a new razor. The lotion that comes with it, the texture is like silk. It is really silky when it goes on. I love texture.
You know what’s weird? I’m not really going gray, I’m going red. I think it’s the old Polish lady coming out in me. This Harry Josh blow dryer is my new obsession. It’s amazing and super duper quick. I use a Conair curling iron to style it, I hit my ends quickly with it. And then I use Davines, the Volume Shampoo and Conditioner every day. My hair gets so oily.
FITNESS + FRAGRANCE
Every day I do a yoga class on my phone called Beachbody. I’m addicted—in the cult, 100-percent. It might not even be that good, but it’s good for me. You know what it is? Time efficiency. A half hour, every day, to myself. And then I have candles everywhere—always. I love APC’s scents, and they’re down the block. This one is No. 2, Jasmine. I think that fresh flowers should be invested in. Fresh flowers can really make your home. One of the best things about living in New York is I’ll go to the deli [to get flowers].
I think design has become mainstream—it’s like fashion. The conversation around interior design is so accessible. We have clients who come in and they know as much as we know, they’re very well-informed. It’s Ikea, it’s Pinterest, it’s 1st Dibs, it’s Crate & Barrel. It’s all of those things. I think people are very aware of what they have in their homes now. Take your time. Go slow with purchases. And buy quality things. People think they can just get in, and do their space. Go slow. There are six pieces of furniture here, but there have been moments where there wasn’t a sofa. I don’t have a coffee table right now, because the coffee table that I want, I can’t afford. And that’s the truth.”
Christine Gachot photographed by Tom Newton on January 27, 2019.