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May 2006


FEATURES

Revolution in Design

(Page 3 of 3)

Irregularly shaped rooms are often difficult to furnish, but Salsano solved that problem by going with the flow, literally: Curved sofas and wing chairs complement the architecture. ("A straight sofa wouldn't have worked," Salsano says.) Since solid walls are few, he made sure to select pieces that look good from every angle, including occasional tables made of polished steel.

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Employing some of the same craftsmen who worked with Foster in the 1960s, Salsano updated original features such as the snail-shaped shower off the master bathroom, now covered in tumbled marble, and the walls of the rotunda, which he had "paneled" in leather. He also added cable television, which doesn't sound like much unless you consider that the cable has to reach TVs that move in circles. (Still, plumbing and sewage posed far more complicated problems for Foster.) Most cleverly, Salsano installed electronic controls that make it possible to program the house in advance so that it will be positioned where you want it when you arrive. "I used to drive up and think, 'Where did I leave the bedroom?'" Von Oehsen recalls.

These days, Von Oehsen is bringing his revolving house to the public's attention. He's arranging to host a number of events, including a garden show. Despite Foster's unique design, "It never got a lot of publicity," Von Oehsen says. "I thought it was a secret that ought to be shared."

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