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Maxwell Ryan

What's the first thing you do in the morning?

I pull myself up in bed, put on my glasses and read my daughter a book.

What's your first "design moment" or "design memory"?

Our neighbor's kitchen growing up. Our house felt very cold and their house felt very warm and inviting. The fridge was always full and so was the cookie jar. It was a country kitchen out on Long Island that had counters around the room and a table in the middle. It was very old fashioned and symmetrical.

Who’s your design mentor or hero?

Terrence Conran--he's a hero because he built a career on his love of design. The Eames for their creativity and tremendous spirit. And currently, the Bouroullec brothers in France.

What's the best-designed object in your life?

I have a new sofa that is amazing. It's designed by Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair, which was inspired by an old French sofa she found. It's not only beautiful; it's incredibly comfortable!

What recent movie or TV show has inspired you?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's not just the spaces and views of Sweden but the design elements and the people themselves. The heroine is an amazing design object herself.

What's your favorite room in your house?

The bedroom. I just redid the whole apartment, and for the first time in my life I finished the bedroom. It's very quiet, very luxurious. It feels like a real retreat.

What 's your favorite building?

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. I don't go into a lot of memorable homes, but that one is totally memorable.

What's your favorite public space?

The High Line. I love walking on it in all seasons. It's the perfect combination—a beautiful, natural environment in the midst of a bustling city. There's a sense of peace and quiet. It has a unique feeling because it's elevated--you are floating in the sky.

What's the best city for design?

Paris. It's not new or modern necessarily but it's so beautifully designed over the ages.

Do you work to music?

Yes, when I can. I will put on pop music. It might be better to be listening to classical but pop music gives me a lift. Some favorites: Sara Bareilles, Everything But the Girl, and Jason Manns.

Mac or PC?

Mac. I am in love with iMatch. It's a new app that syncs up all your music on all your devices and pushes it to the cloud. It's lovely. The iPhone is the center of my life so it's a big deal to have all your music in one place.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook is more influential, but I prefer Twiiter. It's much lighter, more casual. Facebook is intense.

Pinterest: thumbs up or down?

It's great. We're big supporters. I'm jealous, too. We've been trying to develop more of a visual search for our own site and they've done a beautiful job. They've grown so quickly, and they've become one of our larger referrers—as important as Facebook and Google.

What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

I read. I've been reading When Things Falls Apart by Pema Chodron which is a good book when you only have ten minutes left in you at the end of the day. I like to read real books. I don't like to take a computer to bed.