When Condé Nast folds a magazine, it doesn't just clear out the desks. There's also the messy business of disentangling the top editors from all the perks that came with being in S.I. Newhouse's good graces. Ask Domino's Deborah Needleman.
Newhouse pulled the plug on Needleman's high-end shelter magazine Domino almost exactly one year ago. Which may explain why today, February 1, Needleman and her husband, Slate Group editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, filed paperwork with the New York City Department of Finance terminating the lender of record for the mortgage on their TriBeCa loft. The holder of the mortgage had been, since April 2005, none other than Advance Magazine Publications, Condé Nast's parent company.
As we've noted before, during the boom years Condé Nast liked to give its editorial high-rollers sweetheart mortgages just to further separate them from the regular suckers out there who have to pay for stuff. Vanity Fair chief Graydon Carter, for instance, got an interest-free $5.3 million loan on his Greenwich Village townhouse from Advance Magazine Publishers that requires a monthly payment of just $2,083 as long as he's with the company.
But we've long wondered what happens after you're no longer with the company, and Needleman's case demonstrates that when you're out of Newhouse's good graces, you're out for good. While we don't know the details of Needleman and Weisberg's deal with Advance, since the mortgage itself isn't on file, if it's anything like Carter's it has a one-year allowance after leaving Condé Nast before the loan is called in. And sure enough, a year after leaving, Needleman and Weisberg had to refinance with a new, and presumably more profit-oriented, bank. Here's the termination notice filed today:
But it wasn't until after Domino launched, and Needleman roped in her editor-at-large Tom Delavan and design director Dara Caponigro to help, that the place came together. Delavan unified Needleman's various design favorites by muting the color. The resulting world of off-white upholstery and greige paint minimized the once-brown woodwork and railings and united disparate elements like Saarinen tables, Gustavian dining chairs, and an overstuffed English sofa. Caponigro's exacting eye helped select the right objects and edit out the rest.
Here's a picture, from Needleman's Facebook page, of the apartment when she hosted the Domino holiday party—just days before the end for the magazine.
The Saarinens and Gustavians are presumably still there, but Needleman sold off her Condé Nast clothes at a tag sale hosted by ex-Domino staffers in May. She told the New York Times at the time that they were "fancy party frocks from a nice former life I happily don't have anymore." As of today, the last of those niceties is gone.
Reached by email, Weisberg declined to comment on his and his wife's behalf.