After trekking up four flights of stairs, many a weary visitor has come to appreciate the relaxing oasis that is Cabot I-41. Entrance into Michael J. Simonetti’s ’02 lair is granted only after removing one’s shoes, but the risk of exposing holey socks is well worth taking. Plush velvet pillows and mattresses swathed in luxurious fabrics beg to be sat/lied/leaned upon. Dimmed lights and jazz music pleasantly ease the senses as Simmonetti, unconcerned with the time of the visit, offers his guests champagne and other cocktails from his personal bar. And in the center of it all, a fountain continually gurgles fresh water to its marble base.
Michael’s original inspiration came two years ago while visiting the Near Eastern section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in his native New York. He saw the room complete with mosaic floor, velvet upholstery, and grand fountain and immediately thought, “this is where I would want to have a party.” Ever since that cathartic moment, Michael has been busy planning and his continuously revised lion-head-terra-cotta dream ultimately gave rise to his present day abode.
This math concentrator not only hand crafted each of his thirteen plush pillows, but also designed and engineered the centerpiece fountain for which he has become a Harvard legend. Aside from providing the perfect spot for an intimate gathering of friends, the room’s main purpose is “to bring a comfortable environment to Harvard, which isn’t such a comfortable place.”
Michael tries to keep most work-related items outside of the room so as not to disturb the vibe he has so carefully crafted. However, when asked if the ideas of Feng Shui provided guidance in décor, the creator was quick to respond, “oh no, I’m not a crunchy hippie, I just think there are things you can do to make your environment more pleasant.” These things apparently include fifty pounds of marble, 22 yards of fabric, and a well-stocked bar. This relaxation guru is also very much opposed to fluorescent lights, digital sound, and the “incessant hum of the computer which is slowly killing people.”
When this future “non-I-banker” moves out of the quad and into the real world, Michael hopes to leave the fountain as a permanent legacy, creating Cabot’s first perennially themed room: The Moroccan Room. Looks like the Library Suite might just have some competition in the housing lottery this year.