Ms. Khemsurov (a contributing editor to T: The New York Times Style Magazine) and Ms. Singer, who stumbled into design as journalists, met while working as editors at I.D., a trade magazine for the industrial design profession that folded in 2010.
They began Sight Unseen as a two-person blog, writing and shooting their own material. Over the years, it has become a network of contributors and a lifestyle brand encompassing pop-up events, online retail, product and furniture collections as well as brand collaborations. It has also hosted an annual fair of emerging and independent talent, called Offsite, that served as a launchpad for independent design companies such as B.Zippy, Fort Standard, Roll & Hill, Tantuvi and more during its five-year run.
The book isn’t an anthology of Sight Unseen’s 13 years, the authors said, but it continues in the site’s spirit, with helpful sourcing tips, research guides, inspiring homes and entertaining anecdotes from vintage dealers, curators, artists and independent designers.
“I was actually never interested in writing a book. I just thought, ‘Oh, that’s too much work!’” said Ms. Khemsurov. A literary agent approached the editors during the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, and Ms. Khemsurov, hunkered down in Brooklyn, changed her mind. “I was home alone,” she said. “I don’t have a family, and I was looking at all the objects in my house and thinking, ‘Thanks for keeping me company.’ The objects were telling me little stories, evoking memories.”
The sentiment is shared by many others who are interviewed or quoted in the book. “If you invite a few objects into your house, it’s the same as inviting a few people over,” wrote Matylda Krzykowski, a curator in Berlin who shares a plastic hunk of cheese and a bread-shaped pillow (which she affectionately calls Bready) as among her two favorites. “It has the shape of a character; both of these objects are characters, in a way,” she wrote. “Characters of my interior.”