Thursday, April 10

Profile: Thomas Burak

Late last year I began corresponding with designer Michael Devine. In a short period of time a long distance friendship began and we arranged to meet for dinner at Brasserie Balzar while in Paris for Maison & Objet.

Of course I was excited to meet in person; however, first time meetings can sometimes be strange situations. Luckily that was not the case at all. My husband and I got on brilliantly with Michael and his partner Thomas Burak. Michael was as entertaining and delightful as I had imagined and I was equally enchanted with the charming and debonair Mr. Burak. I knew that Thomas was a well-respected interior designer whose work has been showcased at the Hampton Designer Showhouse, but I was not fully aware of his genius and many talents.

After a few glasses of wine and talking until the wee hours of the morning, I learned that his real passion is tabletops and floral design. Not just pretty plates and a few cut flowers, but artistic displays of orchids, delphiniums and white quince. Thomas’ work has graced the tables of many private homes and functions as well as the famous Macy’s Flower Show in New York.

Michael and Thomas’ partnership is a clear case of one plus one makes three. On their own they are enormously talented but together they are magnificent. Our evening in Paris ended with an invitation to their home in New York this November for Thanksgiving dinner. I can’t wait to see the autumnal table Thomas creates; I also hear he is quite the cook. The occasion should provide tons of photo opportunities.

What artists do you most admire?
Renoir, Boucher and John Singer Sargeant. I also love and have a large collection of Russian Impressionist portraits from various artists painted in the 1950's. Some of these artists are recorded and recognized and others are not. What I love about this period and style is the depth of character and emotion.

What is the one thing in life you can't live without?
I possess many many things that I adore and greatly enhance my life. However, I can live without all the "Things" that I own because they only bring temporary happiness. There is one person I cannot live without and that is my partner Michael Devine, for he is truly divine and brings lasting happiness.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Having spent my entire career in the creation of home furnishing products and interior design, my greatest accomplishment is having brought beauty and happiness to those that are affected by what I have created.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Earthly happiness has so many facets. From the simplest form of spending an evening with dear friends, a loved one or a interesting new person to experiencing a new city or an old favorite such as Paris or Venice.

Having said that I wouldn't turn down a day of pampering at a Spa. The more I think about this question I could go on and on because if you live your life correctly each day should bring a form of earthly happiness knowing that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Mame, The old girl had the best philosophy on life.

What books are on your bedside table?
I am currently obsessed with the Tony Duquette book, it is just such
great fantasy. Visions of Paradise, a beautiful garden book published in 1985 always seems to surface from time to time, particularly in the spring when you can't wait for your own garden to start flourishing. Also every imaginable shelter magazine, I'm a magazine junkie.

Who are your style icons?
John Fowler, Van Day Truex, Giorgio Armani, Grace Kelly and Nancy Lancaster.

What designers do you admire
Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Albert Hadley, Jamie Drake, Madelaine Castaing and Tony Duquette.

What do you enjoy most about your work
The fact that I am surrounded by beautiful things on a daily basis and mostly because I was blessed with the talent to appreciate and enjoy them.

Profile by Ronda Carman


Anonymous said...

Stunning! Truly an artist. Beautiful work Mr. Burak.

ALL THE BEST said...

Anne I agree wholeheartedly!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Bravo Ronda.

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you anonymous. Thomas certainly fits the bill for all the best.

The Peak of Chic said...

Very insightful. Love his answers. He certainly has a way with flowers! Gorgeous!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog religiously but I have never posted a comment until now.

Though I do not know of Thomas Burak I found this profile fascinating. What great answers to your questions and what wonderful choice of style icons.

Thank you for always bringing your readers insightful and well written interviews. You really are the best.

Lucky girl, Thanksgiving sounds terrific.

Best to you,

Mary-Laure said...

Great interview. I like what he says about the talent to enjoy beauty - it makes life so much better.

pve design said...

It is as if he paints with flowers.
Absolutely out of this world arrangements!

Style Court said...

Oh Ronda what a lovely profile. Another fascinating one!

M said...

I loved reading this, it was such a treate! Great questions, especially the ones from the Proust/Vanity Fair Q&A - they reveal so much even when they don't!

cotedetexas said...

No fair! I want to come to Thanksgiving with y'all!!! Please!!!!!!

also, your little boy is so cute. I love that picture of the two of you. He's growing up! and yes, it does get better as they get older - they become, like these great friends who live in your house. Wonderful!