This New Tome Is a Design Lover's Dream Book

Tour the gorgeous homes of Gloria Vanderbilt, Richard Avedon, Tony Duquette, and many others.

When it comes to the New York design scene, Wendy Goodman is positively an institution. Landing her first job at Harper’s Bazaar as Anna Wintour’s assistant and working her way through various publications, including House & Garden, she eventually settled in as design editor at New York magazine. For over 30 years, she has delved inside homes of the rich, famous, and simply fabulous. Now, in May I Come In? Goodman shares some of her most memorable house profiles over the years, or as she puts it: “A love letter to every single person who let me come into their house and to every editor who said, ‘Yes, go try to see if you can do it.’”

Surprisingly, settling on the right type of book was difficult. “I wanted to write a design memoir, but never about myself. I wanted to write about the people who I have had the great fortune of celebrating.” “Celebrating” is Goodman’s term for reporting, as she made it a point to only feature homes she genuinely loved and was willing to go to bat for—at times even against her own editors—to ensure the story was told “in the right way.” But the material was rich: Goodman has featured the homes of Gloria Vanderbilt, Richard Avedon, Hervé Pierre, and Tony Duquette, to name a few. Not that it was always easy to convince people to let Goodman into their homes for publication. “Tony was extremely reluctant to let me cover his house, but I persisted and promised him I would do it exactly the way we had discussed—it was a battle, but I did it, and it turned out to be just amazing.”

Some of her other favorites? “Diana Vreeland’s ‘Garden in Hell’ living room is massively, massively seared into my brain,” Goodman said. “And Richard Avedon was a revelation to me. He did bulletin boards on all the walls and pinned things directly into his wall—there were no rules.”


In May I Come In? Goodman revisits these and over 70 other homes; the book also serves as a delightful who’s who across the fashion and art worlds. It will be available online and in stores September 24.

La Grenouille

"The studio above La Grenouille where Bernard Lamotte gave Charles Masson Jr. painting lessons."

Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz and Steven Wine

"Mere words can’t describe just how pink the bedroom is in Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz and Steven Wine’s Rockaway apartment."

Misha Kahn and Nick Haramis

"The living room in Misha Kahn and Nick Haramis’s Brooklyn rental apartment."

Janet Ruttenberg

"Janet covered her Louis XV kitchen chair with bubble wrap because she liked the effect."

Susanne Bartsch

"Susanne Bartsch, photographed in her apartment in the Chelsea Hotel, definitely ushered in a new zeitgeist for House & Garden stories in 1989."

Ruben & Isabel Toledo

Every time Wendy visits the Toledos, she takes a portrait, such as this one.

Vito Schnabel

Vito Schnabel’s great room in Palazzo Chupi, designed by his father, Julian, in the West Village.

Alba Clemente

Alba Clemente at her dressing table.

May I Come In?

Available online and in stores September 24.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

About The Author
Olivia Martin
View Other Articles From Olivia Martin
Latest Stories
And how one cosmetic brand makes its mark by reducing plastic waste.
All of the most spectacular places to see and be seen in the new year.
The foodie friends were there to celebrate the end of Garten's cookbook tour.
The pair's productions made the holidays during wartime a bit more bearable.
A selection of 2018's must-read books for every literary personality.
Our identity as a nation is continuously evolving, and it needs continuing discussion. Esquire Philippines presents a collection of essays offering different perspectives on the necessarily nuanced and complex question of Being Filipino.
A very Town & Country guide to Miami Art Week happenings from the best art installations to the most fabulous parties.
The legendary creative director of Chanel is the first subject in the new documentary series.
Load More Articles