Stefan Simchowitz doesn't care much for conventional decorum. He's a busy, brilliant man, abuzz with ideas, connections and conversations. His wave-making business, Simco's Club, has ruffled its fair share of feathers around the art world.
"The Room" is a recent tradition for us. And we've found that in general, when anyone talks about interiors, we all tend to lump any person's living philosophy into one big bucket: minimalist, baroque, homey, cluttered, vintage, warm and so on. But whether stylistically or philosophically, the manner in which someone deals with one room might be totally at odds with the way they deal with another space. A frequent entertainer might have a super convivial dining room, while their kitchen or den are dark and restrained. And one's bathroom is usually the biggest paradox, with philosophies ranging from those who stock thoughtful reading and put out fragrance and trays of mints for guests to those who think about the space as a human-sized medicine cabinet made for doing your business, getting clean and getting out.
We approached Stefan about featuring his bathroom knowing he's generally seen as extroverted and convivial, but how on earth might that translate to a bathroom? We got a yes with one caveat: "Can I do the interview while having a bubble bath?" Hell yes.
We rolled up on a Monday morning and were greeted by three sweet dogs and an impromptu tour of what must be among the most impressive collections of art in any residence in Los Angeles (and that's surely saying something). There are massive pieces by Petra Cortright and Zachary Armstrong, a new delivery of Lazaros' magic potions, and grand, one-of-a-kind works by others like Moffat Takadiwa. There is no room in the living space from kitchen to courtyard without at least one impressive piece. The only unfortunate thing was that we weren't here to talk to him about the rest of his house.
Someone ran to a corner store for bubbles, and while the bath was running, we played around with a garden hose while Stefan climbed into a tall pot in the backyard. The bathroom was a simple, purposeful space with rigorously clean white tile all round, fresh white linens, and bottles of Aesop essentials. The toilet — nestled in a corner between a work by Mark Flood (an evocative boogie board with jumping dolphins between the words "Buy Stuff”) and a cutout piece by Jim Drain “Untitled (grey sweater with holes)” — obediently raises its lid as a guest approaches. While not quite as deferential as something you might find in a Japanese hotel, it was pleasant and welcoming all the same.
"Lavender. Bubble size. No candles. Only The Economist."
Stefan got into the bath. He blew bubbles. At one point, he stood up and feigned a stabbing motion, as if re-enacting the lead up to David's "Le Mort de Marat" as our fashion director googled "imperial Caesar." We tried a few variations of the Casear. After the mountain of bubbles had grown, Stefan splashed the water, sank into the mass and said, "this is just silly.” Remarking on the obvious absurdity of the situation. It was pretty silly. And a hell of a lot of fun for a work day. The bathroom is, after all, something of a blank canvas people generally don't do much with, and like the unconventional business he's built, his irreverence and bold style brought some fun to this most utilitarian of spaces.
We asked him about what's important to him in a good bath, when he's not being photographed in it. "Lavender. Bubble size. No candles. The Economist." And his skincare routine? "Pray for eternal youth."
You got it, Stefan.