Nicholas Devlin’s Dream World

March 10th, 2022

By Nicholas Devlin

Dream World is a recurring feature in the Pink Essay newsletter where we invite designers and tastemakers to share their dream home, whatever form that might take.

Nicholas Devlin is a sculptor and designer based in Brooklyn, New York. His work explores ideas of ‘home’ and domesticity from an experimental and queer perspective that aims to play with your senses and subconscious, our shared cultural nostalgia, and imagined futures. This most often involves making work that is part furniture and part sculpture. His work has recently been featured in Clever, Architectural Digest and exhibited at Superhouse Vitrine in the Supergroup 2 show. You can find him at @nicholas_devlin on instagram or at

*All images are property of their original owners and not intended for commercial purposes

︎ For me, this topic is something for which words and images barely suffice, BUT I will try my best. The idea of a “dream home” has a vast and rich history and is at the core of what I try to experiment with in my own work. I find exploring the idea to be an endless amount of fun.

I think “home” as a verb (as opposed to a set place) becomes a process that is ongoing and is such a beautiful and worthy thing to strive towards. To leave home, to make a home, to lose a home, to make it yet again, to maintain it, clean it, and tend to it. I think this is how we might continually find our place in the world. One’s home presents the opportunity and challenge to reflect back to us who we are and tell the stories of our lives, like a physical autobiography in the making. It can be a physical embodiment of the kind of life we’re living, have lived, or are aspiring towards.

The concept of a dream home to me is a place that not only shelters me but also inspires me—allows me to dream up my own world from within it, sculpt it into the furniture of my home and place it onto the walls. In this way, it can be both familiar and unfamiliar. Static yet changing, heim (home) and unheimlich (unhomely)!

The selection of images I chose, together, are meant to capture my own feelings and thoughts about a ‘dream home’. For me, there’s something about these spaces that possess a quality I find difficult to name.  They feel timeless to me—somehow nostalgic while still being very present. These spaces appear to be unconcerned with trends or fads and the coming and going of what’s hot and what’s not. Hopefully, they elicit a similar response and resonate with you too.

I struggled not to select all of my images from Apartamento Magazine, which so often captures both the magical and mundane moments of their subjects’ spaces. Here, we can see how a personalized collection of one’s cherished books and art collected over time can make any room feel full of life. This is the home of Portland-based musician Thomas Mack Lauderdale. A favorite book in my own home is A Thing on a Table in a House by Serban Ionescu, pictured second.

I’m drawn to this image of Guillermo Santoma’s home in Spain. We can see art, architectural details,  unexpected color combinations, chairs by Charles McKintosh and Gaetano Pesce, all together in an intimate space. It is immediately clear Santoma loves every object in his space and has carefully considered each. A favorite Pesce piece of mine is the La Mamma Up5 armchair and ottoman.

I can’t think of my dream home without also thinking of gallery spaces with beautiful pieces I will likely never acquire.  What are galleries if not a display of objects many of us wish we could live with? The variety of scale, detail, style, color, and form in this scene is wonderful to me. There’s something about furniture made to look like a building I can’t resist, like this early Trompe-l'œil cabinet, by John Dickinson. This image is from Design Miami and shows a collection curated by gallerist Lawrence Converso.

Here is another Apartamento image of an interior, featuring a unique combination of warmth, creative chaos, and pragmatism, in the space of French-American artist Louise Bourgeois⁣⁣. This home shows a richness of in-progress thought and work, which is so often missing in the highly staged home images we see of domestic space. A space where I can freely make a mess is an essential part of my dream home studio. I’ve also included this PVC chair by Emmanuel Popoteur because, like the room which features mostly standard and almost industrial furniture, there’s something so satisfying about seeing how it all fits together.

So often we see knock-off Eames dining chairs or their ubiquitously famous lounge chair, but to me, it is the Eames House itself (built in 1949), from the case study housing project, that captures something extra special. A standout, aside from the architecture, furniture, and objects, is the warm glow of Noguchi lighting. Anything around 1900 Kelvin mimics the warmth of firelight, and harsh lighting has been outlawed in my actual home and my dream home. I dream of a Katie Stout chandelier, pictured second. There is a burgeoning array of independent artists and designers making incredibly interesting yet soft dimmable lighting.

It’s important for some furniture to be very comfortable and functional, but it’s also important to me that I’m not incredibly bored by my surroundings. The first image is from the Clay Pop exhibit at Jeffrey Deitch gallery curated by Alia Williams featuring more work from Katie Stout and presented by R & Company Gallery. We can see familiar domestic forms twisted and changed in both images. I really would not mind having Stout’s armchair or this sculptural collection, pictured second, by OrtaMiklos that also happens to be a dining set. It was presented by Friedman Benda for Design Miami/ Basel.

What I appreciate about this home, like many of the other featured images, is the unusual collection of it all. Some of it is beautiful, some of it weird and unusual. Together it creates a home that is difficult to place in time, and words like “eclectic” fail to capture its meaning. This is a photograph of the vintage art collector and dealer Jonathan Pessin’s home for the T Magazine interview by Kurt Soller. I would love to have a flag halyard chair by Hans Wegner because, when I first saw it, I thought it was very ugly. Slowly over time, it has become one of my favorites and I think that’s the power of art and design, especially in our homes: it changes the way we see, think, and feel about the world.

What I really appreciate about this first image, done by Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu, is the peeling back of conventional construction materials and processes.  Presented this way, it challenges what a “finished” project can look like and is more interesting than just another white box. Maybe everything doesn't need to be covered in drywall and paint after all? The building’s exterior materials and historic details show through, which balances what might otherwise feel like an overly harsh space. Of major importance is the floor-length curtains in a bold color, which clearly communicate the space is finished. I’ve paired it with this felted chair and tapestry by the immensely talented Liam Lee—fabric pieces I very much dream of having in my home.

To me, the fantastical quality of Gaetano Pesce’s work is unmatched. The first image is a photograph of his recent exhibit No More Silent Objects at Salon 94 gallery. The richly colored woods with his almost alive, flesh-like work, made the gallery feel like a living room from another realm, one where I’d like to live. The second photo is from Coming Soon, a store that sells more accessible smaller Pesce vessels and pieces for the home.

This image of Frank Gehry’s Kitchen renovation from 1978 features a relatively conventional and charming cooking space, but is set against the bare wood framing, angular geometry, views of chain link fence, and asphalt flooring. I have always loved this photograph. Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most difficult domestic spaces to design, as they become dated more quickly than any other room in the home. It can be very tempting to do whatever is currently trendy or install all the newest tech. One thing I fantasize about as I stare begrudgingly at the stainless steel in my own kitchen is thoughtful and provocative appliances. A still colorful alternative to the very popular Smeg options is Hay’s collaboration with George Sowden—the blue toaster is one of my favorites and offers relatively accessible pricing.

My last image is of a collector’s home: the apartment of Pietro Loscalzo and Jacopo Colimodio in Milan. Their space features an Ettore Sottsass floor lamp, a wall sculpture, experimental furniture, classical painting, abstract art, historical objects, antiques, and modern shelving. Yet another piece that has stuck with me is this animated piece by Barbora Zilinskaite presented by Friedman Benda for Salon Art + Design. When I picture my dream home, I imagine something similar to this collector’s home, and all the others, and yet something completely different. A place where each time you enter the room it can teach you something new.︎


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