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MARIO BUATTA: FIFTY YEARS OF AMERICAN INTERIOR DECORATION

MarioBuatta_cover

Not since Gervase Jackson-Stops’ triumphant 80s exhibition, Treasure Houses of Britain at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has there been something as potentially influential as the release of Mario Buatta’s tremendous tome, Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration.

Just as the aforementioned exhibition created a frenzy of interest for the English country house look, I believe Buatta’s book will go far towards creating a similar trend in today’s design aesthetic (along with a particularly renewed interest in using the many glorious incarnations of fine chintz that one might find, for instance, at Lee Jofa).

Lee Jofa Floral Bouquet Chintz

Lee Jofa Floral Bouquet Chintz

Buatta’s magnificent monograph celebrates over fifty years of design and decoration by one of America’s preeminent decorators – the history, influences, and of course the brilliant body of work, all sumptuously illustrated and photographed. Needless to say, there are a great many lessons to be learned and endless inspiration to be had here – its a true masterclass in interior design.

Buatta's 1984 Kips Bay show-house room depicted by artist Jeremiah Goodman

Buatta’s 1984 Kips Bay show-house room depicted by artist Jeremiah Goodman (click to enlarge)

As many of you may know, decorators have been upgrading peoples lives for years and Buatta did just this—elevating all with a distinct impression of class and heritage. Known for his elegance, exuberant color palette, and riotous mix of pattern, Buatta’s rooms were design of the highest order, yet never sacrificed a sense of cozy, livable comfort.

Buatta design: Hilary and Wilbur Ross Pied-a-Terre

Buatta design: Hilary and Wilbur Ross pied-a-terre (click to enlarge)

Many of my own younger clients (some of whom never really experienced the opulent 80s) are asking me for versions of these kinds of rooms, so that they might live and entertain in similar style. I, of course, have been happy to oblige!

Buatta design: Hilary and Wilbur Ross' former Pied-a-Terre

Buatta design: Hilary and Wilbur Ross’ former Pied-a-Terre (click to enlarge)

Do pick up your copy on Amazon and prepare to be inspired! Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration

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MARIO NIEVERA – FOREVER GREEN

Forever Green - Mario Nievera

I had the great pleasure to meeting the marvelous Mario Nievera some time ago, while working on the development of Marsh Island in Vero Beach Florida. It was a top-notch team comprised of Ferguson & Shamamian, architecture; Mario Nievera, landscape architecture; and yours truly, interior design. I was immediately taken by Nievera, and, over time, I’ve had the high honor to experience many of his exclusive and glorious gardens first hand.

Mario Nievera design - Forever Green

Mario Nievera design - Forever Green

Nievera is a true genius—a modern day Russel Page. Whether creating a modest outdoor retreat or designing on a grand scale, Nievera always manages to pluck from a client’s dreams a landscape that meets and then wildly surpasses expectation—each design is a masterpiece. It’s no surprise that the Wall Street Journal exclaimed that a garden by Nievera would increase the worth of its property by at least 10%.

Mario Nievera landscape design - Forever Green

Mario Nievera landscape design - Forever Green

I’m delighted to share with you Nievera’s first monograph, Forever Green, a substantial and well-organized work highlighting his versatility, and innovation in 250 rich photographs (by Michael Stavaridis) and informative and insightful text. You’ll no doubt be quite inspired and perhaps calling on his illustrious firm Nievera Williams Design to assist in manifesting your own visions of paradise!

Mario Nievera landscape design - Forever Green

Mario Nievera landscape design - Forever Green

Doris Duke’s Shangri La – A House In Paradise

I’ve had the great pleasure of decorating properties from Bali to not-so-exotic Florida, but whatever the case, I always infuse my designs with more than a hint of far away lands. I’ve also had a long-time fantasy of owning a home in a spectacular garden paradise, and so it should come as no surprise that I’m absolutely enthralled by the new Rizzoli book, “Doris Duke’s Shangri La – A House in Paradise.”

Shangri La

Shangri La - photo Rizzoli

“My Honolulu Home” as Duke called it, was her “…most personal and secluded of retreats,” and it remained quite beyond the public public eye. Luckily for all of us she established the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and we are now able to visit in person as well as enjoy rich photographs like these ones.

Doris Duke and James Cromwell at Shangri La

Doris Duke and James Cromwell at Shangri La

The esteemed Marion Sims Wyeth was the principle architect for this glorious five acre Honolulu estate, and under Duke’s direction, created a chic conflation of architectural styles, combining modernism with influences from a wide range of historical landmarks; from the ancient city of Persepolis, to the Alhambra, to the Taj Mahal!

Shangri La

Shangri La - photo Rizzoli

Deborah Pope, the Executive director of Shangri La, eloquently describes it as “…a place of many identities…elegant, complex, embracing multiple traditions, and difficult to characterize.” In fact these words might describe Duke herself. No mere socialite or dilettante, she approached the construction and decoration of Shangri La with a highly developed aesthetic, working with scholars and experts, and traveling the world to amass a museum quality collection.

Are you feeling a WIJW goes to Hawaii trip ahead? If we do, we’ll be sure to pay tribute to the legendary taste maker Doris Duke!