Line: ‘Price Has Nothing To Do With Style’
Remember the name: Jared Seligman is an Upper East Side native and associate real estate broker with The Corcoran Group. One of the top brokers in New York City and the country, his impressive résumé spans 20 years of experience and boasts over $1 billion in sales within the priciest ZIP codes of New York City, the Hamptons, and South Florida, and caters to a high-profile clientele. You may have also seen him on television on one very popular NYC real estate-based reality show. And soon, he’ll likely be a household name — Jared Seligman says that he’s been working on a shabby chic line of housewares as reasonably priced as they are stylish.
“I would love to have sets of china that are affordable,” Seligman told us during a recent sit-down. “I want to use the word ‘affordable’ and use it meaningfully and not, like, ‘affordable for people whose net worth is $100 million.’”
Real estate and interior design go hand in hand, and the associate broker instinctively knows this. Years of experience with architecturally significant and rare properties, having a hand in new development, and working alongside home-staging professionals as a real estate agent have no doubt cultivated his love for design. So, too, has his grandmothers’ 19th-century aesthetic. The women were so admired for their trendiness that Jared Seligman remembers neighbors would come over just to gawk and gather style inspiration.
“I mean, they’re both Jewish. I come from Jewish [people] on both sides, but my grandmother on [my mother’s] side is very WASP-y, kind of had this Old World elegance,” Seligman recalled. “She was like the Jackie O of Westport, Connecticut, like for sure. She had always captivated a room with her beauty, and her smile, and her style. People used to come to her house. I remember she always told me this and they would like come, like they would like basically make up any excuse in the world just to see her decor and they’d be like snapping photos and like these weird cameras and writing down notes. Because it was the time before cellphones.”
Jared Seligman’s paternal grandmother had yet another aesthetic altogether.
“On my father’s side, my grandmother is like, almost a bohemian. She’s 97. I just spoke to her yesterday. She looks like [fashion icon] Iris Apfel. Not as bold, or I would say, I don’t want to say fabulous, but as eccentric as her and definitely in that category. Always statement necklaces, like really interesting things, and she’d find mixed vintage glasses like Christofle and Tiffany, and just she really had an eye for detail. She had a gallery wall, I remember, in her big foyer. She had, floor to ceiling, just really cool different types of photographs.”
Old World elegance and bohemian eccentricity birthed Jared Seligman’s home design choices — a mix of vintage eclectic with a modern minimalist touch, such as classic wallpaper juxtaposed with a contemporary furniture piece. Of all the categories of interior design and housewares, china sets are Jared Seligman’s crown jewel. In this space, he hopes to fill in a gap in the market.
“I just love beautiful china,” he said. “I always had a very hard time finding something that was a perfect blend of both traditional and Old World, but modern enough where it [didn’t] look like I had my great-grandmother’s sets of china everywhere.”
To Jared Seligman, the current dinnerware market leaves too much to the imagination. Stock plate sets are uniform and lack the originality and flair he’s looking for.
“I always just try to be a little bit more unique. I think when it looks like you’ve purchased everything from the same place off the rack, it’s just not as edited or stylish as something that I think a certain more sophisticated palate is accustomed to. And I think we should really have pieces that you love, and hopefully, if you didn’t inherit them, you could acquire them through auctions and through even thrift stores. I mean, I see the most beautiful stuff for homes often in the [nonprofit thrift] store Housing Works, or in the window of Housing Works, or online. There’s a million places and it doesn’t always have to be like the most expensive one in the room. And oftentimes, actually, I find the price has nothing to do with style at the end of the day.”
The real estate broker recalled the recent Thanksgiving dinner he hosted where he expressed his signature style, expertly combining the old with the new. “It was a beautiful dinner and I had a mixture of brand-new things that I had just bought — some in particular for that dinner; some I inherited. Another that was a set of china that I purchased at an estate sale in Southampton like 15 years ago. That was from probably the early 1960s or ’70s and was based on a formal English print. Then I had these supermodern glasses.”
Seligman, who resides in Water Mill, New York, with his soon-to-be husband, investment banker Max Schapiro, and their dogs, Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill, has his fine china plate full at the moment as he pores over the details of their upcoming big gay Orthodox Jewish wedding.
“I really stepped foot out of the box and made it much more contemporary than sort of my style had been in the past,” he revealed.
Still, Seligman admitted that he hasn’t been immune to premarital wedding planning bickering with Schapiro.
“For him, I think he felt the opposite that this was a little bit more charming and kind of an Old World nooks-and-cranny type of situation for him. So, it was a perfect mix of both of us and I think it was my best project really to date, and I think this wedding is going to be an amazing blend of both of our styles, which tend to kind of go together very well.”
And then, after the honeymoon, Seligman said he’ll be getting down to business.
“More to come,” the associate real estate broker promised. “I think that when this wedding is over, I’m going to do some serious meetings and revisit the prototypes that I have. I think now, after using and buying and renting and exploring all these different types of things as well as registering for them, I think will give me a unique kind of perspective to really envision what it is that I see is missing in the market.”