The long and the short of it

Bobby Short and the dot.com world have one thing in common: They desire instant gratification. However, the ways in which that satisfaction is sought differs dramatically. In a world where often-detached social contact is referred to as "face time," Short is an anomaly: His interaction is exclusively face-to-face. The singer/pianist/entertainer, who has been performing for more than 62 years, obtains his delight through the audience’s response to his work. "There are theories about entertainers being lonely souls," says Short. "This is not the case for me. I enjoy what I do. I do it for myself I like making people happy."

Short has been dispensing his brand of happiness as the resident "saloon singer" at Manhattan’s Cafe Carlyle, where he is in his 32nd season. The entertainer, who describes himself as "intense, proud, and sentimental," has been credited with keeping the art and craft of cabaret singing alive. His repertoire of more than 400 songs includes a litany of tunes from Cole lamps made from handsome objects she’s found. Candles, she notes, are always apropos in dining rooms.

Moss stresses the importance of working a room in profile, as well as in plan, from the get-go: "I always say to my clients, ‘Picture yourself standing around a cocktail party elbow-to-elbow, when no one can see anything on a table top. What are they looking at? You’ve got to think about moving the room up. You want movement.’" Hanging an intricate chandelier, like the one made of antlers at the Oren-steins, is one way So is massing artwork to dominate a wall behind a bed or over a fireplace–she does both in the Roosevelt house. The use of commanding curtain treatments, at windows or to crown beds, also does this job for her.

Movement and mix are interlinked, and key to the success of her style. "I think there’s not a room I’ve done that doesn’t have mix, whether it’s country of origin, period, wood vs. painted finish…whatever. All those things that have come together from different places give a room patina, give it excitement," she says. The range of elements she assembles are consciously balanced by classic shapes, whether custom-made or antique. "A classic is something that has good lines. But it also works over and over again, no matter how you treat it, color it, or paint it." The trefoil ottoman in the Orenstein living room is one of her favorite examples.

One of her colleagues calls Moss "the new old guard." Her taste is refined, That she lives the life for which she decorates lends validity to her choices. She’s a contemporary woman who grants herself free access to a multiplicity of traditional styles (antique and reproduction) and the right to combine them within one house or within one room. "It’s all about the mix, not about the match," quips Moss. "You have to throw things off a little… by planting a simple geranium in an extraordinary 18th-century Limoges cachepot, or by standing a little American 1930s chair next to a Regency cabinet of great value."

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