04 November 2015



 "What's liberating is to be fearless." JB
Bilhuber's now iconic bedroom in Manhattan is covered in a de Gournay Chinese paper. As if Bilhuber's peacock, George, has momentarily stepped out of the "graffitied" walls to preen in front an oyster shell mirror by Eve Kaplan.

Jeffrey Bilhuber American Master is a collaboration of talents. Sara Ruffin Costello adds depth and color to Bilhuber's design aesthetic, while Bilhuber supplies the Style & Substance. Rooms are vibrantly captured by William Abranowicz, and actress and devoted Bilhuber client, Mariska Hargitay writes the book's foreword.

"Rooms should reveal themselves gradually over time." JB
Pure Classicism from the designer in this drawing room with "old school" elegance, and modern creature comforts-a wool throw, reading lamps, and a modern class table. Paintings are sorted out on the milky coffee moire covered walls. Bilhuber's skill in weighing color has always fascinated me. This is one area where he is indeed an American Master, an alchemist. Too, there are shades of Dorothy Draper, yet terribly modern-with a reverent nod to New York's Gilded Age.

"Everything must register on one level or another. That's what details are for." JB

Bilhuber transformed the Coromandel screen into a closet in this dressing room. The lacquered black is repeated on the room's door moldings.

"Beauty and function go hand in glove." JB

"It's easy to get white wrong.-it takes talent to get it right." JB
Quite right-this white. Bilhuber combines a voluminous banquette with slender arms, white pleated skirt and scallops set into simple unlined cafe curtains. 

In the designer's breakfast room a decidedly Russian dacha ambiance predominates, yet Bilhuber walks along the periphery of Victoriana. It's this balance that makes Bilhuber worthy of the scrutiny he receives. Saturated color from the Mauny nineteenth-century block print paper, the green baize covered dining table, and the red carpets are indicative of Bilhuber's mastery of color and genius at pattern play.

"I'm not a decorator, I'm a magician." JB


 "You're only as good as your client." JB

Designer Jeffrey Bilhuber feels his client is critical to a room's success and its staying power. In Bilhuber's own rooms his genius is evident. His hand is in everything. Circling back to his maxim: "It's liberating to be fearless," his rooms are certainly that and never so evident as in his New York apartment with its Gilded Age elegance, Belle Epoque glamour, Victorian sentiment, and present day precision, all evoking the catalysts Bilhuber adores, and masters.

"I adore one powerful, stirring concept as a catalyst to help me create." JB

thanks to Rizzoli for a copy of this book~
Jeffrey Bilhuber American Master by Jeffrey Bilhuber, Rizzoli New York, 2015. Images are © William Abranowicz and may not be reproduced in any way, published or transmitted digitally without written permission for the publisher.


  1. I'm going with lots of cream in my city house Gaye. I found an Oscar de la Renta wallpaper I like but it says to the trade. Does that mean I can only buy it through a designer? I also love that large banana leaf wallpaper for my powder room. Do you know who makes that wallpaper?

    1. hi Donna, so sorry this comment was left unpublished til today! I can happily help you with the ODL paper, the other is by, wait wait don't tell me... not sure but easily located. pgt

  2. Really enjoyed this review of this book and has piqued my interest. I concur that rooms do reveal themselves so I usually let the room breathe and do its own thing for months before I do anything to it.

    1. The book is a keeper, I missed his last book, which I perused at my brother's house, but I think this one is very comprehensive. pgt

  3. Stunning rooms by Jeffrey, Gaye.
    Thank you for this presentation on an amazing designer and his new book!!

    The Arts by Karena

  4. I really like the ingenuity of turning the Coromandel screen into a piece of furniture - art with function. DLC.

    1. Yes, Clever that. I have seen it done too-with the screen incorporated into the doors of an existing closet. pgt



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