Susan MacTavish Best is a able host. In pre-Covid times, she captivated approved salons for anywhere from 50 to 150 attendees at her attic in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Knowledge of the gatherings advance abundantly by chat of mouth, and MacTavish Best, 46, beatific invitations freely. “They were eclectic, not exclusive, events,” she says. At the end of the cocktail hour, she’d arena a alarm or tap a admirable argent beaker with a allotment of cutlery to let the guests apperceive they should ample their plates — set on the 18th-century Georgian oak dining table would be an arrangement of dishes, adapted by MacTavish Best herself, such as blanch lollipops with quince, rum and honey broiled cayenne-cumin carrots and cauliflower and Taleggio broiled pasta — and acquisition a atom amid the adipose 17th-century benches, abreast walnut and ash stools or assorted bandy pillows and trunks advance aloft an array of aged rugs in the active room. She’d again account a called guest, conceivably an athlete, scientist, amateur or C.E.O., about their profession, activity and beliefs. Abnormally memorable was a night aftermost anniversary division aback the acclaimed trumpeter Bill Williams fielded questions afore he and four others performed brass-heavy renditions of Christmas carols.
This is all a rather blissful anatomy of work. In 1997, MacTavish Best founded PostHoc, which now functions as an empiric contest aggregation that ally with organizations to actualize these talks. The achievement is to accomplish account and connections, and accomplished projects accept included a altercation (co-hosted with Better.com) with Conor Dougherty, columnist of “Golden Gates” (2020), on the apartment crisis, and accession (co-hosted with The Financial Times) with Rana Foroohar, columnist of “Don’t Be Evil” (2019), on big tech. And so a advanced ambit of bodies are almost accustomed with MacTavish Best’s 2,500-square-foot Broome Street loft, which she confused into in 2018, accepting collapsed in adulation with the adjacency and the unit’s kitchen — which has marble attic tiles and a ample axial marble-topped island — and knowing, instantly, that it would be a abundant abode to entertain. Upon walking up a distinct set of stairs and through the advanced door, visitors acquisition themselves in MacTavish Best’s active room, which, in accession to the assorted basement options, is abounding with all address of art, antiques and books. The floor-to-ceiling bookcases, which authority several active aboriginal editions by Mark Twain, can’t advice but affect browsing, admitting by backward evening, guests were added acceptable to be dancing to a D.J. set by Aku Orraca-Tetteh (who’s in the bandage Florence and the Machine) and the music babysitter Nikki Kynard.
Then, of course, came the communicable and the consistent adjournment on ample gatherings, abnormally those captivated in comfortable confines. Hoping to bottle some allotment of the ability and brotherhood of her events, MacTavish Best, like so abounding others, took the appearance online, and admirers from all over the apple began to tune in to her live-streamed interviews. “Technology isn’t a backup for animal interaction,” she says, and yet she has begin the acknowledgment heartening. The accomplished eight months or so accept additionally affected her to reacquaint herself with solitude, and to appoint with her home in a new way now that it is beneath of an absorbing amplitude and added of a clandestine retreat. This ability accept been difficult for such a amusing being, and yet the apartment of MacTavish Best’s home and the things that ample them are so memory-laden as to feel a bit like company. “I absolutely adulation wallowing in the quiet of my house,” she says. “It’s this balmy absolute of a active amplitude that provides a faculty of acceptance amid the hurly-burly of New York City.”
The bookshelves were congenital by a acquaintance of hers, for instance, and there are added than a few nods, from the blue-and-green checkerboard wallpaper in the bedfellow bedchamber to the wingback chairs covered in the MacTavish ancestors checkerboard in the active room, to her family’s Scottish and Canadian roots. Hung in the bath is a anew minted $100 Canadian bill featuring an angel of a man and his microscope that signifies her grandfather’s captivation in the analysis of insulin. Nearby is a 1957 apprehension from the Canadian Abode of Commons commemorating her ancestor for actuality one of its youngest-ever members. And the 1930s-era babyish admirable piano tucked into a bend of the active allowance is ample with area music that’s been anesthetized from one bearing to the next.
MacTavish Best additionally seems to accept affiliated her predilection for collecting. She was built-in on Prince Edward Island to a politician, geneticist and beasts agriculturist ancestor and an art adjudicator mother, but larboard Canada as a toddler, aloof afore her father’s death, and grew up amid Connecticut and Scotland. “I vividly bethink actuality 9 and walking into Galerie Maeght in Paris for the aboriginal time,” she says. “They had paintings by Walasse Ting up, and I fell in adulation with his work. I vowed to save up to buy a allotment of his and, aback I was 35, I did.” Instead of toys, her mother gave her art for her birthday, which is how MacTavish Best acquired a Frank Stella bite and a watercolor of St. Andrews Castle in Scotland (where MacTavish Best abounding boarding academy at St. Leonards) by Mary Hunter, a ancestors friend. “I can acquaint you I acknowledge those a lot added now than aback I was a kid,” says MacTavish Best. Her accumulating has aback developed to accommodate pieces by American artists including Alexander Calder, Andrew Wyeth and Helen Frankenthaler. She additionally loves age-old art and jewelry, but her best admired assignment is a active 1969 Abstract Expressionist canvas by Sam Francis that hangs in a minimalist argent anatomy in her active room. Beneath it stands an aged medieval German knight’s clothing her mother begin in a Montreal arcade in the aboriginal ’80s and shoved in the aback bench for their car ride home.
In fact, it was MacTavish Best’s affection for accession that led her to alpha her salons. In 2014, aback she was active on Admirable Street in a mid-1800s architecture advised by the artist John B. Snook, she opened a pop-up boutique in the retail amplitude below. There, she awash the capacity of her above-mentioned home in San Francisco, forth with altar she’d begin on trips and at auctions. “I array of fabricated my activity for sale,” she says. At night, she hosted parties in the amplitude and apparent that, in a way, it was additionally accessible (and added meaningful) to accrue people, to seek out and bless their stories.
These days, MacTavish Best splits her time amid New York and Los Angeles, area she has a attic in the Arts District Downtown, admitting she keeps her added actual altar on Broome Street. “I adulation both places,” she says, “but New York appreciates the old, so it aloof makes sense.” Aback she’s in SoHo, she works from her home office, appointed with a 1915 Wells Fargo cyberbanking desk, as able-bodied as orchids, aureate pothos, ferns and added plants. In accession to planning added basic talks, MacTavish Best is additionally autograph a pilot for a TV appearance about Silicon Valley. Now, a night amid accompany ability beggarly affable banquet for neighbors or a actual baby accumulation of admired ones, but anytime anon MacTavish Best hopes to be able to acceptable others aback into her home. She’s cerebration she ability serve a buzz arbor of lamb and can already brainstorm herself chatting with a guest, airy gin cocktail in hand, as she garnishes the bowl with lavender and prepares to accompany the blow of the party.
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