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David Netto's chic contemporary children's designs

How David Netto’s cool designs changed the face of children’s furniture

Posted: 6 September 2011
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

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An only child, David spent a lot of time on his own drawing and reading. “I loved Tintin, not just for the stories but also for the illustrations of buildings,” he says. “If you look at Marlinspike Hall, where Captain Haddock lives, it’s this whole designed environment. Those books definitely had a big influence on me.” He also had a passion for collecting toy cars. “I was fanatical about them being classic cars and I would collect all these super-detailed models.”

After leaving Buckley, David then went on to Columbia where he studied architectural history, before moving on to Harvard to study architecture. However, instead of finishing the course, David decided to drop out after two years. “I was freaked out about it at the time,” David explains. “My parents were appalled, although I think my mother wasn’t all that surprised. She knew I wasn’t the best maths student and wondered why they let me in the first place. But it was the right move for me. I always wanted to be a decorator not an architect anyway.” 

David set up his own decorating business in New York, David Netto Design, where his high-profile clients included members of the Rockefeller family and Eliza Reed Bolen, step-daughter of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. It was during this time that David was introduced to actress Ione Skye by their mutual friend Tatiana von Fürstenburg, daughter of designer Diane. A Hollywood wild child, Ione shot to fame in the 1989 film Say Anything, had dated Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis and had already been married to Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys. “It was an explosive romance, not a rational thing,” says David. “Ione gave me Kate, the most happiness-making thing I could ever have. But I think some people just aren’t meant to be together. I was a neat freak, she was a free spirit.”

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