“Understated, dapper elegance is my modus operandi,” says Houston-based Forma Revivo founder Dutch Small, whose desire to restore furniture grew from a family tradition. “My grandfather was a conservator of antiques,” he explains. “Elvis Presley was his biggest client for a number of decades.” With restoration as his background, Small learned the importance of historical accuracy and the significance of preserving cultural heritage. In 1993, a set of modern Saarinen chairs ultimately set him on a new path. “I wanted to find more pieces in the style of those chairs,” Small explains. After eight years of studying and collecting modern design, it became evident to him that modernist works needed refurbishment to be collectible, too. Thus in 2001, Forma Revivo was launched, which has since widened its scope from the high-end restoration and sale of midcentury classics to interior design. “It took me years to understand the importance of modernist works restoration,” he says. “I use the finishes that were originally specified and the goal is to try to return a piece to its original state.”
LX: Dream collaboration:
DS: I really identify with Tom Ford’s aesthetic. I find the challenge of achieving understated elegance thrilling. He manages to pull it off every time, which doesn’t happen by accident.
LX: Design period you find most engaging:
DS: Although my home is mostly modern, the pieces I truly enjoy are the uncommon Postmodern ones that are mixed in. I love the dining room’s First chairs by Michele de Lucchi, which I have surrounding a Harvey Probber table.
LX: Coveted item:
DS: If my home were on fire and I could save only one object, it would be a footed candy bowl by Eliel Saarinen.
LX: Favorite restaurant:
DS: Houston’s Uchi. The consistency of their execution is such an achievement. Everything about the experience is sublime.
LX: Accomplished bucket list goal:
DS: Having dinner with royalty. I was at Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. In Marshallese culture, each island has a king, and I ended up at dinner with the king of the Kwajalein Atoll. It was pretty cool.