Douglas Friedman and Elle Decor Get Personal with Andy Cohen
You know Andy Cohen. Whether he’s dishing with real housewives, breaking down the latest entertainment news with the newsmakers, or just mixing a drink with your new favorite comedian, Cohen is everywhere. He knows how to get the real story out of his guests, always cutting the tension with a laugh and holding space during somber moments. But what about him? How do we get to know this man who helps us know so many others? Andy welcomed Elle Décor and Douglas Friedman into his home for the cover story of their September issue, but it wasn’t the first time that Douglas had hung out with Cohen. “I’ve known Andy for some time and we actually get along really, really well, so it was it was a really fun shoot to work on,” says Douglas. “He’s a very interesting person, he’s a very interested person. So he doesn’t make himself the center of attention. He’s a gracious host when you’re in his home and even though you’re there working he makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Which is kind of the opposite of what normally happens on a photoshoot.” It made for the perfect energetic exchange to get the shots that they needed.
When Cohen bought the apartment, it was actually the slow acquisition of three apartments in the West Village of New York City that he eventually blended into a single property. That makes it a big home by New York City standards, but also a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle. The layout presented unique challenges for Douglas as he worked out how to capture it in photographs. “It’s a fairly complicated house to photograph, especially that main living space he has. These unexpected volumes set in, and it’s challenging. Definitely, it was a challenge,” says Douglas. “You approach it very methodically. You address one problem at a time and eventually it all solves itself. You just have to be willing to put in the time, whatever the hours, whatever it takes to solve that little bit. It’s like a domino effect.” As each of those pieces come together, the space really starts to sing in a way that we can fully understand it, and regard the genius of its design and beauty.
Every home reflects the person who lives there, either purposefully or not, and in Cohen’s space there’s a lot to look at in every room. But as someone who knows him well, Douglas thinks that it’s Cohen’s office that reflects him the best. “His office is full of such interesting things, and they’re uniquely Andy,” says Douglas. “Whether it’s a keepsake from Madonna or something from Sarah Jessica Parker, or a box of Andy Warhol Polaroids, there’s all these one off things that are so interesting on their own, but as a collection you really see who Andy is.” There’s also a sealed glass case of letters he sent a friend from the summer he came out of the closet. It’s a space that acts as a cistern for a well-lived life, with a lot of space for more to come.
Check out Douglas’ photos of Cohen’s house here, and check out ‘Watch What Happens Live’ tonight: Douglas will be bartending all night!