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April 2022 Editor’s Letter | Architectural Digest

“I had been immersed in the romanticism of Bridgerton for a while…and then that inevitably spills into how the apartment’s going to look.” —Shonda Rhimes

The people who share their residences with AD often describe them as a sanctuary, refuge, or escape. This issue features visionary creatives—architects, writers, interior designers, artists—in their private environments, which certainly offer refuge but additionally function as intensely personal incubators and laboratories for ideas.

Shonda Rhimes at home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

Michael Mundy

To decorate her romantic new apartment in New York City, our cover star, prolific Hollywood hitmaker Shonda Rhimes, once again turned to AD100 Hall of Famer Michael S. Smith, with whom she collaborated on the West Coast house we featured in February 2019. “This apartment is really about my work life,” says Rhimes. “Michael understands that I spend a lot of time inside my head—a lot of time imagining. So he knows that it’s important to me to have rooms and spaces to sit and think, to have new places to move to just get my brain going sometimes.”

Designer Leonora Hamill at ease in London.

Helen Cathcart

Furniture makers Teresa Rivera and Grant Wilkinson in their London studio.

Zelie Lockhart

In Milan, architect Massimiliano Locatelli renovated a late-19th-century cottage, reconfiguring the layout and creating rigorously understated interiors that perfectly suit his lifestyle. “I made this house for me, not for show,” he declares. Of the dilapidated shack in Sonoma County that Charles de Lisle remade into an easy-breezy plywood-paneled getaway, the AD100 designer says, “This was really a play space for me.”

Writer and craftsperson Deborah Needleman in Upstate New York. 

Sarah Ryhanen

Finally, Deborah Needleman is admired for her journalistic prowess and, more recently, her work supporting—and creating—traditional crafts. (She weaves an excellent rush basket.) For AD, Deborah has written a love letter to her interior designer and great friend Rita Konig, generously crediting her with “transforming the quality of my life—that is what a great decorator can do.” For those of us who know Deborah, the intensely pretty house the pair have worked on for over 15 years is all her too.

At an event in NYC.

Neil Rasmus/

-Amy Astley, Editor in Chief, @amyastley 

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