Urban people evolved from hunter-gatherers, and sometimes I wonder if our hunter-gatherer history is still part of us. I know that in many ways it informs what I do. I am constantly traveling and searching for the most colorful, creative and dynamic homes to photograph for The Selby.  I live on the road and bring very few things with me. When I return back to New York City, I look to my home to provide me with sanctuary. My home is a special place for me; it is very white, minimal and relaxing in its simplicity. My home is the exact opposite of what I look for in terms of subjects, but it suits me perfectly. When I think of the future, I think about all the problems that we will face and how our homes will evolve to help us deal with these increased stresses.

Todd Selby asks: In the future what are the new ways your home will provide sanctuary?
Tristan & Paula answer: We see a world moving ever more towards a high standard of functionality, perfection, cleanliness, high technology and convenience. Our homes will be our private havens where we can build our own versions of ‘perfection’ by building what might currently be seen as ‘imperfections’. We will take sanctuary and delight in the less functional, tarnished and irrational, and we will personalize our homes with our own individual perceptions of beauty.


The outside world may develop into what is generally perceived to be a safer, more logical and better human environment, but it will be in the privacy of our homes that we will be able to explore what is truly sacred to us as individuals. To express one such scenario we made individual, irregular tiles and allowed the faults of the casting process to occur and, indeed, to shine as a reaction against the standardization of our lives in the city.

We chose to work in concrete, as it is the building block and fundamental icon of all large cities around the world. Each tile was separately stained with acid, and we built a tiled carpet with entirely unique characteristics. The acid staining process is an excellent medium to express the deterioration, tarnishing, oxidization, destruction and the natural processes we are fighting so hard to eradicate from our modern daily lives. But in our vision of the future when everything is required to be ‘perfect’, only in our homes will these ‘stains’ be viewed as a rare and pleasant beauty.

The home will be the last sanctuary of imperfections. We will not only see the beauty of mold, rust and decay, but we will actively celebrate it.