MEET THE DESIGNER
A DEFIER OF TRENDS STAYS TRUE TO THE CLASSICS
What was your big break as an interior designer? My first room at the Kips Bay Show House. I walked into my room behind Sister Parish and Albert Hadley shortly before the opening night and heard Mrs. Parish say to Mr. Hadley, "Albert, this is verrry nice." I felt I had arrived! What's your design philosophy? I want to create environments that people truly want to live in and come home to—not stage sets. Any trends you wish would disappear? All of them. I dislike trends. Decorating should not be of the moment, but timeless. It's too expensive an experience to follow trends. Who is a designer from the past you admire? Kevin McNamara and John Fowler. Among those still working today? Mario Buatta. Not only do I admire his work, but I like him enormously as a person. Do you have a style icon? The late Sister Parish—she really was the best! What's your guilty design pleasure? I love design and I love pleasure...so where is the guilt? Describe your home in Connecticut: A beautiful Greek Revival house with large, well proportioned rooms—not too large and not too small. A true classic. I always cringe when I see: Pretense of any sort. Name a source of inspiration: Life in general. New experiences are a constant source of inspiration. I strongly believe: In the pleasures that home, family and friends bring. I also believe in taking the time to organize beautiful leather-bound family albums—you won't regret it! What are your favorite materials? Natural material. Cotton, linen, wool and silk—or anything creative and unexpected. For instance, I have used breezy gauze curtains trimmed with tiny seashells at a beach home. What's more natural than seashell? What is your greatest extravagance? My flower budget! What's on top of your wish list? All of the fabulous silver serving pieces at James Robinson in New York that coordinate with my silver pattern, Trifid. Favorite place to shop: I am a huge fan of beautiful linens for the home and bedroom. Julia B. in Greenwich has a wonderful selection. What would you do for work if you weren't a designer? What I do is not work—it's my great pleasure and passion. I am very blessed to love what I do. Name a dream client: Sean Connery, circa 1972.