WHEN PHOTOGRAPHER JAMIE PHILLIPS and his partner, Susan Davidson, the president of DKNY Jeans and Active, hired Mary Meehan to help them design their loft in Manhattan's SoHo, they asked her for a little bit of everything: a living area, a studio for Jamie, an office and an entertaining space. Since each square foot of the loft had to serve more than one function, Meehan approached the project with a sensibility somewhat akin to that of a boat designer--or maybe a cross-dresser.
A close friend of mine for 15 years, Mary has often collaborated with me on my home in Southampton, Long Island. She was at one time known for her English country look, but she has also developed a streamlined, modern aesthetic that was perfect for Jamie and Susan.
The two entertain in their loft at least four times a month. Recently, for a special evening, they asked Mary to create a setting for a small dinner party. The centerpiece that she selected says a lot about her clean style. She wanted to stay away from fussy flowers and came up with oil lamps filled with bamboo leaves, from Manhattan's Sarut and L.A.'s Zipper.