thumb image

Reprinted with permission © Ralph Lauren: A Way of Living, Rizzoli New York, 2023

What I do is about living. It’s about living the best life you can and enjoying the fullness of the life around you — from what you wear to the way you live to the way you love.

Our homes are a canvas for living. Whether we live in the city, the country, on a farm, at the beach, in a penthouse or cabin, each is home and tells our story. And just as we dress differently in each of these places, we want to live differently as well.

My homes have always offered refuge, warmth and comfort for my family and me. My recent book celebrates those homes and the collections they’ve inspired since the first Ralph Lauren Home Collection in 1983. Just like my collections for men and women, my home collections have traveled far beyond the lifestyles and borders of America. They are inspired by the way people live out their dreams all over the world.

New York City

I remember the first time I visited the Guggenheim. Walking into that white, soaring space away from the noise of the city had a powerful effect on me. When Ricky and I found our apartment on Fifth Avenue, not far from the museum, I had that feeling in mind. We wanted it to feel more like a loft, totally open and clean, and with a focus on city views. I wanted a downtown loft, but uptown on Fifth Avenue.

This was in some ways our real first home. I wasn’t looking for glamour or making an impression. It was just the simple, almost primitive desire to have a kind of freedom — room for our three children to race around and room to take stock of ourselves and to discover who we really were and what we wanted.

Personally, I needed that open space and serenity. That’s why we had the apartment done all in white — white lacquer tables, white canvas sofas — with natural bamboo armchairs, polished-wood floors and lots of plants. It was such a relief to come back to after a long day of looking at endless swatches, patterns and colors. Part of that peacefulness came from the views of the sky and the Central Park Reservoir and watching the lights coming on all over Manhattan at the end of the day.


I think I was 25 when I first came out to the Hamptons. Even when I didn’t have a house, I’d drive out. It was so beautiful. I wanted to be able to feel the fresh air and wind. I wanted a home where I could feel simplicity and peace.

After Ricky and I were married and had our first child, Andrew, we rented a house in Southampton — a faded red barn that sat in a big meadow. It was the perfect place for a young family. A couple summers later, we moved to Amagansett. By then, Andrew had a younger brother, David, and the two of them loved chasing each other down to the beach. When Dylan was born, we found a charming shingled saltbox house in East Hampton, right on the ocean. It was in a compound of six other cottages set off from the main roads with lots of little private paths for running and biking with the children. Those summers when the children were so little are the ones I’ll always remember. Life was so simple and easy.

Then we discovered the house in Montauk. It was built in 1940 by an architect who had worked with Frank Lloyd Wright. It had such integrity, constructed to follow the contours of the land. The low ceilings and warm wood gave it a modern kind of coziness.


When I first came to Colorado, I didn’t want to build a new house; I wanted to find an old one. Someone told me about a 100-year-old barn on a large piece of property looking out at the San Juan Mountains. I remember so well the morning Ricky and I went to look at it: the light on the meadows and striking the barn. We immediately knew this was where we wanted to live.

I love land for itself — the look and beauty of undisturbed land. I felt pained to have to build here at all, so I chose low, inconspicuous sites where the houses would be half-hidden by the trees. Driving by on the road, you could miss the Lodge, our family house. It looks like a little log cabin from the outside, but when you go inside, it seems spacious. Our pole-rail fences handcrafted of locally sourced pine border our land along the highway for more than seven miles. We constructed them so that the rails face outward for a smooth appearance. The fences are part of the journey to our home.

I love the character of old things. I built the house out of old barn wood. I wanted a screen door with a squeak. If something’s really old, let it feel that way. Over time, the Lodge has become a home to things we felt belonged here — Native American paintings, pottery, woven baskets, serapes, weavings and trade blankets. Their bold color and handcrafted textures bring a special beauty and brightness against the dark wood of the cabin walls.


Though we had our houses in the mountains and by the beach, we realized that we wanted a getaway closer to home — a place we could get in the car and drive to on the spur of the moment. We started taking drives north of the city and eventually discovered a house and property nestled in what we felt to be one of the most beautiful parts of America. There were little dirt roads that wandered through woods and fields, passing paddocks of horses, stables and weathered red barns set off by miles of rustic stone walls. It was rural yet sophisticated, which was perfect. I like faded and old — a certain kind of genteel shabbiness. It’s a reverence for integrity. This property had that; it was sort of a combination of a hunting lodge and a stately home.

The mood was right, but we wanted to give it a warmth and individuality, and at the same time, a glamour. It was the kind of house where we could express our love of antiques and timeless elegance, yet at the same time be young and eclectic.


When I was a kid, I always looked forward to summer because I could go out and play ball and go swimming. Then, years later, I discovered Jamaica. In the middle of winter, I could step out of time.

We went there on holiday as a young family more than four decades ago. It wasn’t long before we moved into a romantic old villa on the highest point of Round Hill, a resort overlooking the Caribbean. We called it High Rock. It had a spirit and a glamour that harkened back to the days when Grace Kelly, Noël Coward, the Astaires, Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming wintered there — there was a timelessness that we loved. Surrounded by a jungle of trees and flowers, it was our own Garden of Eden.

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the iconic tastemaker’s home collection, Ralph Lauren: A Way of Living celebrates the timeless lifestyles and product innovations that have emerged throughout his legendary career. Reprinted with permission © Ralph Lauren: A Way of Living, Rizzoli New York, 2023.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This