joy sohn + oberto gili:
a gorgeous west village hideaway
Photographers Joy Sohn and Oberto Gili bring a touch of the European countryside to their West Village hideaway.
photographs by Joy Sohn | text by Caroline Biggs
The living room is suffused with romantic patterns and colors.
Film print boxes, holding negatives from Gili’s old shoots, form a pedestal for a red silk lamp.
Three years ago, after moving into the West Village town house where her fiancé, Oberto Gili, has resided for the past 20 years, Joy Sohn had an epiphany. “I realized that Oberto had authored the original story of the design,” Sohn explains, “but that it was time to develop our own narrative.” The creative duo—who divides time between the two-story Bank Street apartment and a house in Gili’s native Italy—travel the globe, taking photographs and collecting artifacts. Their two-bedroom residence is rich with worldly treasures: tapestries from Moroccan bazaars, vases from Peru, sofas from Sixth Avenue antiques shops, and hundreds of pictures they’ve taken in between. “Our home is our life story,” Sohn explains. “The colors of life are so vivid that you can’t help being inspired, and that plays out in the way you decorate your space.”
Inside the second-floor studio, framed photos from Gili’s trips to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, and Comacchio, Italy, line the walls.
“The wide-plank wood floors are so full of character,” says Sohn. “I love that the scratches and chips are made over time, not by a machine."
When at home, Gili and Sohn spend much of their time at the dining room’s marble table. “We keep food and books, the two things we love the most, in that room,” Sohn explains, “and we use that table to enjoy both.”
"we have an appreciation for imperfection. to be perfect is to be banal."
When they’re not traveling, Sohn and Gili enjoy relaxing at home, getting lost in their collections of magazines, music, and books (they keep stacks on nearly every table for easy access). And despite living in one of the hippest creative enclaves of the city, they prefer to stay in and cook (Gili is an accomplished chef) and to entertain their close circle of friends. “The place feels inviting and relaxed,” Sohn says, “and reflective of people who’re curious about life and who appreciate a mix of fantasy and beauty.”
A vintage American flag serves as a backdrop to the couple’s bed.
Favorites from Sohn’s collections of hats and boots.
An antique needlepoint, which the couple purchased in Italy, covers a chair in the living room.
The master bedroom’s mantel displays an assortment of photos of couples in love.
A metal four-poster bed by John Ryman is dressed in plush Pratesi linens.