By STEVEN KURUTZ
Occupation Fashion designer
Location Upper East Side
His Favorite Room In 2015, Mr. Plein bought a four-bedroom, seven-bathroom townhouse on East 71st Street. The master bathroom, which features a quarry’s worth of Italian marble, is larger than some studio apartments. By seeing a man’s house, Mr. Plein explained, you will know the man. “It says more about personality than how you dress,” said the German-born designer. “You learn so much from a person when you go to a house.”
So what does your bathroom tell us about you?
It’s a very happy room. Even if it rains outside, it’s bright. With the chandelier, it becomes even brighter. The bathroom is where you start the day and end the day. It’s the first thing you see when you wake up. You want to be happy. I tried to reflect all these things in the design.
The word that comes to mind is “luxe.”
The definition of luxury is different for everybody. For me, luxury is the freedom to realize your ideas. It doesn’t have to be the biggest house or the biggest bathroom or whatever. But when it comes to interior luxury, for me, it’s the detail. Yes, you need light. But a simple lamp makes the light. Why do you need a chandelier? To make a nice decorative element. It’s also a little ironic.
Is the soaker tub ironic or in use?
I was at boarding school when I was younger. We had shared bathrooms, 10 showers together. So for years, when I came home to see my parents, I took a bath. I left boarding school at 19. Now I’m 39. I prefer the shower again. But there was a time when I really loved a bath, had to take a bath in the evening, it was a luxury for me.
You also have residences in Switzerland, the South of France and Los Angeles. How is your New York place different?
We were Americanized in Europe, drinking Coca-Cola, watching American TV shows. Since I’m 14, I was always dreaming about New York. When I had the possibility to realize the dream, I was looking at modern buildings, skyscrapers — I was really open.
I started my career designing furniture. I was inspired early on by Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Very minimal, very modern. But this house had a different atmosphere. When you buy a house, you are dealing with the essential character. You cannot make an old townhouse become a modern Bauhaus style. You have to accept it the way it is.