15 October 2013

the Prince's Book

of Perfect.

A book-A treasure-make that treasury of Mr Buatta's Wonderful World of Rooms.

It's biblical in proportions and oh so wise in words. Thanks to a perfect pairing of Mario Buatta and the incomparable Emily Evans Eerdmans, the book called MARIO BUATTA, Fifty Years of American Decoration- should be placed atop your book stack-never another to be placed above it... you get the picture. What a divine book to have right now-when many of the rooms I see in magazines seem to be published in black and white- and not the Good black and white. I long to toss a comfortable pillow made in a print-or two or three of them-even better! The warmth of rooms is missing in most-but Let Us Pray for the return of some Joy in rooms-like the rooms of Mr. Buatta.
Of course-my true motto is Live and Let Live-but Come On- Live A Little!

The decorator Mario Buatta agrees. You must remember- I -as a college graduate novice designer (the current preferential title) grew up revering the Prince's rooms, but for me and Mario-we prefer to be called decorator. It is what I love to do best- make rooms beautiful. "Designers" have created some mighty chilly rooms-sterile even. If it must be chilly -make it a room full of chintz, books, magazines, dogs (always), sweaters, a fire and a hot toddy.
Sweet Dreams!

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Altschul Residence, Centre Island, NY—living room. 
© Gordon Beall / Architectural Digest © Conde Nast Publications

It would be so easy to tuck in to a Buatta sofa with a good book, how about MARIO BUATTA... and doze off with visions of the English countryside dancing in our heads. Better yet-I'd love to sleep for days, years, I'm thinking Fairy Tale Princesses-the Princess and the Pea, Snow White, in a Mario Buatta bed...Once Upon a Time, there was A Prince who Loved Chintz... so that song has already been written, really and truly- there is a song-(lyrics in the book).

Former Residence of Mario Buatta, New York, NY—bedroom. © Richard Champion
Mr. Buatta's Bedrooms: dressed beds-as in days of yore, for a feeling of warmth-even if the heat is on, saturated color, bamboo shades, 
period appropriate curtains, English antiques-Chinoiserie please and something warm underfoot to step out on in the morning.

Painting of Mario’s 1984 Kips Bay show-house room. © 1984 Jeremiah Goodman

The venerated Nancy Lancaster, from Virginia, brought the English country house style to England and Mr. Buatta brought it back to the States...and they lived happily ever after. I love a story that credits history, one that revers the greats. Mr. Buatta's story-along with Nancy Lancaster (a fairy godmother perhaps?) includes the characters, John Fowler (the Sage), Sister Parish (no relation), and Rose Cumming (La Folle de Chaillot) - all contributed to the Prince's Fifty Years of Interior Decoration.
The story is told with beautiful narration in over 490 pages of Buatta's work. It's Big-its Bold-its Beautiful.

Mario Buatta in front of  painting. © Jason Schmidt and Nest magazine/ Background painting. © Sander Witlin

Born into the jazzy interiors of Art Deco-his father was a bandleader-Mario heard a different drum-something like Strass's 1896 Also sprach Zarathustra opening "Sunrise, (that's Kubrich's 2001 A Space Odyssey's opening theme to your modern ears). His aunt Mary was a chic Auntie Mame type and supportive of his elegant dreaming scheming ways- taking him on her decorating trips and encouraging his aesthetic. He started collecting in earnest at the wise old age of 11.

Today-it might be said he is forever young and seeing his work in this full bodied book it looks fresh and Joyous! Not a Mario Buatta Revival-heavens no-but an  Ah Ha Moment, & Of the Moment. Yes- that's it and that's Right- because Mr. Buatta never left the building.

Thank you to Rizzoli for an advance copy of this fantastic book-you can find it everywhere this fall!



  1. I can hardly wait to see/read the book.

  2. I am frankly, frothing at the mouth like some rabid dog! He is , (I consider) the most imaginative, the most creative........and now I can add......."joyful" decorator of the last century!

    what an enormous gift we have!

    And the charming and delightful EEE to help with the prose..........it is almost too much to contemplate!

    (It is probably sinful how many different books I have ordered from Amazon......in the last couple of months!!

    It makes me happy that the "death of the book" is no time soon! I must say; (as an "old bat" decorator); I would guess that the most beautiful and most edifying decorating books ever published have been in the last 6 months! Astonishing!

    Bravo for books!!!

  3. Wonder what MB would think if he walked into Restoration Hardware with their burlap partially covered bare bones furniture.

  4. Mario, and Sister.


    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  5. Mario is a great personal friend and in my view a genius of decorating, simply put he is a legend. Mario's decorated spaces look and feel great when completed, now today and will look and feel equally as good years into the future, and to those in the know is the key to fine decoration.
    Mario is living proof of what happens when genuine talent combined with a vast knowledge of history and sensibility for quality comes together. It is so nice to see that there are more and more young people in the know, who are partial to history, antiques and interiors ....in other words gracious living, who adore Mario's work and traditional interiors that last.

    1. Thank God we have him, and his undeniable contributions to design-good design that is, the enduring kind, so sorely lacking today. pgt



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