Wednesday , 17 November 2021
Interior Design History

Interior Design History

Interior design story

With the profession of interior designer at the age of just over 100, we deal with the roots of interior design history and the seven legendary decorators who made a name for themselves when the industry gained momentum at the beginning of the 20th century. From the ancient Egyptians to the dawn of modern interior design, here is everything you need to know.

It may seem a bit basic, but let’s start with the basics of interior design. Interior design is defined as the art and science of enhancing the interior of a room to create a polished and aesthetically pleasing environment. An interior designer is someone trained to execute plans, research, coordinate, and manage decorative projects with authority. The profession of interior designer is diverse and includes room planning, concept development, site inspections, programming, research, communication with customers, project and construction management and of course the execution of the desired design.

Before the profession grew in importance, interior design was instinctively introduced to strictly conform to the architecture of the buildings. The interior design profession came with the rise of civil society and intricate architecture that gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution. The drive to make the most of space, as well as attention to user wellbeing and functional design, continues to fuel the development and life-enhancing opportunities of today’s iteration in interior design. The interior design profession, however, is very different from the work of an interior designer, a nickname more commonly used in the United States.The term interior designer is used less often in the UK where the interior design profession remains unregulated and unfortunately

Even in ancient India, architects were interior designers to realize their entire vision. This is evident from the references of the architect Vishwakarma – one of the gods of Indian mythology. These references include sculptures that illustrate ancient texts and events seen in 17th century palaces in India.

Throughout ancient Egypt, “soul houses” or house models in graves were given as vessels for food. From these impressive pieces of jewelry, clues to the interiors of various homes in several Egyptian dynasties can be deciphered, including updates to ventilation, porticoes, columns, loggias, windows, and doors.

Art deco interior design themes

During the 17th and 18th centuries and up into the first half of the 19th century, interior decoration was the exclusive concern of the housewife or a professional upholsterer or craftsman who, thanks to his artistic eye, could safely advise on the interior design of a house. Incidentally, architects also turned to craftsmen and craftsmen to create interior design for their buildings.

The practice of interior design dates back to the ancient Egyptians who decorated their naive mud houses with basic furniture enhanced by animal skins, simple textiles, graphic biographical and spiritual murals, sculptures, and painted urns. Ornate gold decorations found in Egyptian tombs (such as King Tutankhamun’s) and jewelry emphasized the need for more distinctive decoration to symbolize the richer and more powerful Egyptians.

Roman and Greek civilizations promoted the Egyptian art of interior design and decor by celebrating civic pride through the invention of domed public buildings. Elaborate Greek wooden furniture was adorned with elaborate ivory and silver decorations for their homes, while the Romans focused on combining beauty and comfort. Roman furniture was often made of stone, marble, wood, or bronze and was made comfortable with pillows and expressive tapestries. To improve their homes, both Romans and Greeks brought vases and created fascinating mosaic floors, as well as murals and frescoes to make their rooms unique to them.

the history of interior design

After this period of decorative embellishment, there was a sudden move towards accuracy due to the gloomy wars throughout medieval Europe and the rise of the Christian Church. The story of interior design, which shaped the Dark Ages for good reason, consisted of somber wood paneling, minimal and exclusively practical furniture, and flagstone floors. Even more affluent patrons of the time stuck to muted, sobering colors when adding decorative touches like tapestries and masonry.

After the Middle Ages, Europeans were again inspired to bring color and decorative ornamentation into their homes. During the 12th century, a dark romantic Gothic style was created to make the most of the natural light and the newly popular open interiors.

Interior design history breakdown

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the French Renaissance began a renewed focus on art and creativity in interior design. The architects of the time began creating homes with significant decorative touches, including marble floors, intricately inlaid woodwork, paintings, and furniture made from the finest materials. A quick look at the royal palaces, mansions, and chapels of the era is sure to highlight the best of Renaissance interior design.

After the Renaissance, intricate and complex Italian baroque designs conquered Europe. The Palace of Versailles in France, for example, used remarkably Baroque interior design elements such as colored marble and stone, stained glass, intricately painted ceilings, and spiral columns. By the 18th century, European interior designers made the Rococo style increasingly popular, while influencing Asian stoneware, floral prints, and furniture with exotic details such as ivory and mother-of-pearl. Then came the neoclassical look of the late 18th century, a distant interpretation of the famous design elements found in ancient Rome with the use of richly colored silk, satin and velvet.

From the early 19th century, more freedom and eclecticism were often found in interior design in Europe and America. And over the next two centuries, a number of innovative and modern interior design movements came and went out of style as times changed, including Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Industrial Bauhaus styles. However, the 19th century brought the ultimate appreciation and popularization of interior design. The possibilities of life-improving interior design, which were no longer reserved for royal buildings and the homes of wealthy citizens, reached critical masses at the end of the 19th century.

Interior designers story

And in the 20th century, functionality became a key component in interior design as the increasing presence of home appliances such as ovens, washing machines, and televisions presented a new challenge for interior designers who needed to design spaces with more than just aesthetic reasons in mind.

And as the 20th century turned, inexperienced designers and numerous publications increasingly worked to overcome the influence of the large, upscale retail stores on the world of interior design. Previously, feminist English author Mary Haweis penned a series of popular essays in the 1880s in which she mocked the excitement of an emerging bourgeois class who wanted to hastily arrange their homes around the strict but mild boundaries imposed on them by dictating Retail stores were offered. Her response was that people should take the opportunity to come up with a particular interpretation of a design style specifically tailored to their needs and lifestyle. “One of my strongest beliefs, and one of the first cannons of good taste, is that our homes, like the fish bowl and bird’s nest, should represent our individual tastes and habits,” she wrote.

The slow transition to decorative arts as an individual artistic profession, apart from the sellers’ wisdom offered by manufacturers and retailers, was reinforced with the establishment of the Institute of British Decorators in 1899. with John Dibblee Crace as President. The institute represented over 200 interior designers across the country. And by 1915, the London Directory had an augmented list of 127 people working as professional interior designers, only 10 of whom were women. Rhoda and Agnes Garrett were the first known women to be professionally trained as home designers in 1874. The importance of their design work at the time was seen as parallel to legendary interior designer William Morris. 1876 solidified their guide –  proposals for house decoration in the fields of painting, woodwork and furniture  – its authority further and spread their views on artistic approaches of interior design for a design-hungry middle class.

traditional interior of the dining room

“Until recently, when a man wanted to furnish, he would visit all dealers and choose furniture piece by piece. Today he sends an art furniture dealer who overlooks every room in the house and brings in his artistic thoughts on the subject,  wrote The Illustrated Carpenter and Builder in 1900.

Back in America, Candace Wheeler, considered one of the first female interior designers, encouraged a whole new way of looking at American interior design. She was a key figure in developing the first interior design courses for women in a number of major American centers, and was hailed as the definitive authority on home decor at the time. Another prominent influence on the newly categorized decorating profession was  decorating homes , a widely read and consulted guide to interior design written by Edith Wharton and architect Ogden Codman in 1897.In the popular book, the authors considered Victorian style interior decoration and design to be irrelevant. No longer viable were the cold, dark, and moody houses, decorated with heavy furniture, Victorian accessories, and tufted, overcrowded seating. They viewed the design style as too important for upholstered furniture rather than sensible space planning and architectural details, which made rooms bleak, uncomfortable, untouchable and therefore all too precious. Her book is still considered a landmark moment, and her success has fueled the rise of professional interior designers who take similar viewpoints.

As you can see, the world of interior design has come a remarkable way since the ancient Egyptians as designers today have unrestricted access to an endless amount of design movements, furniture styles and influences from the past. But it’s really the seven interior designers that we’re focusing on here that have really changed our approach to interior design for the better.

Timeline of the history of interior design:

Stone Age 6000 to 2000 BC

The first sign of an approach to interior design was noted in prehistoric homes with flora and fauna. These dwellings were made of mud, animal skins and sticks.

Neolithic Europe 2000 to 1700 BC

The first well-defined handcrafted pottery comes, which has been used for both practical and decorative reasons.

Ancient Egypt 2700

With the rise of royal families, for the first time people lived in structures next to mud huts. The new structures were decorated with murals depicting their history and beliefs. And they had seen basic furniture and decorative items like vases and sculptures – for the first time.

Greek Empire 1200 to 31 BC

Thanks to advances in civilization and lifestyle, citizens for the first time decorated their houses in their own unique style with wealthier Greeks, whose furniture was decorated with ornate ivory and silver details. During this period, iconic and meaningful columns and pillars were key motifs, and the Greeks also created standard rules and procedures for building construction.

Roman Empire 753 BC Until 480 AD

A severe age when royals couldn’t simply create their wealth through their homes. The Romans decorated their houses with murals and mosaics, and the furniture had claw feet.

The dark age 900 to 1500

There was no interest in interior design in the Middle Ages as people opted for simple wood paneled walls, minimal furniture, and flagstone floors.

The Byzantine Empire 500 to 1500

During this time, grande domes and decadent decor took center stage.

The Renaissance from 1400 to 1600

The beauty of interior design was a key feature during the Renaissance, with great furniture and artwork in vibrant colors and luxurious textiles such as silk and velvet and marble surfaces. And since carpets were too precious and expensive for even the richest guests, they were used as wall art whenever possible.

Gothic 1140 to 1400

In response to the dark ages, decorative ornaments and bold colors were once again prominent features of interior design. Two hallmarks of the era that has been carried over to this day are more windows for lighter houses and open floor plans.

Baroque 1590 to 1725

Sumptuous and extremely rich artistic elements made for a recipe for sumptuous interiors with stained glass, twisted columns, colored marble, painted ceilings, gilded mirrors, and oversized chandeliers.

Traditional 1700 to date

Decoration ideas for bedrooms in traditional style

The traditional interior design, embodied by a formal spirit, is still a mainstay today. Traditional interior design is a broad term that highlights various design styles and movements that are not locked into a specific direction or spirit.

Traditional design celebrates the illustrious, rich history of the past by contrasting it with decidedly modern elements to make the sleek design elegant while highlighting the European decor of the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s a timeless design style that evokes simple glamor and comfort and is a great direction for those who appreciate antiques, classical art, symmetry, and design steeped in history.

Rococo 1700

The rococo interior design is an extremely elegant and lavishly detailed design style that is based on botanical silhouettes and features unique elements such as tortoiseshell and pearl decorations as well as Asian porcelain.

The industrial revolution from 1760 to 1820

industrial home design

Throughout the industrial revolution, interior design was accessible to a wider audience and more accessible to the general population than ever before. This is in large part due to simpler printing processes creating widespread adoption of fashion and lifestyle publications, and the fact that luxury items have become increasingly accessible.

Neoclassical style 1780 to 1880

During this period, furniture made of bronze and gold, as well as upholstered furniture made of silk, velvet and satin were used, which were inspired by ancient Greek and Roman cultures for architectural details and motifs. The trend of coordinating wallpaper and furniture also caught on.

Tropical 1880s to date

As the British Empire swept through countries like India and areas like the West Indies, they combined interior design elements from their homeland and the regions they occupied to create a heady mix of tradition and exto.

Aesthetic movement from 1800 to today

With “art for art’s sake” in mind, the aesthetic movement was a way for radicals to express their aversion to current, tired interior design. The key here was practicality and function, which gain in importance before beauty.

Tuscan 1840s to date

Based on the charming and calming nature of Tuscany in Italy, the focus of interior design during this time was on uncomplicated simplicity with a touch of luxury.

Handicrafts 1860 to 1910

To highlight their opposition to mass-produced goods due to the innovations of the industrial revolution, people turned to traditional crafts and classic elements in the manufacture of furniture.

Rustic 1870s to date

rustic decor textiles

The rustic interior design consists of handcrafted furniture and large open spaces with wooden beams and columns.

The rustic decor offers the perfect combination of comfortable, uncomplicated design and practical, functional decor to create a warm, rustic interior. Natural materials form the basis and starting point for creating an enviable rustic home decor that celebrates the authentic beauty of natural materials to create a cozy, beautiful space.

Modern 1880-1940

The modernist movement emphasized simplicity, clarity of form and rejected noise in design. Leading personalities in the movement include Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Eero Saarinen, whose signatures in his ever-popular Saarinen table and chair are the epitome of design style.

Art Nouveau 1890 to 1920

The craze behind the Art Nouveau movement was to introduce natural silhouettes derived from botanical elements that gave the era its signature curved lines and organic shapes.

Colonial revival from 1905 to the present day

Popular in the US and spurred on by its centenary, the Colonial Revival was inspired by neoclassical and Georgian historical styles. Some believe that the introduction of the automobile was by far the most popular style of the period up until World War II, and sparked people’s interest in historical references as they were free to visit documented landmarks.

Eclectic 1900s to date

versatile interior design

Some historians point out that there is a need for more and more interior designers who understand how to mix different design styles with authority for the surge in designers in the industry as the eclectic style took over the aesthetic inspiration.

An eclectic style is all about harmony and the coming together of different styles, juxtaposing textures and contrasting colors to create a cohesive, beautifully realized space that wouldn’t be out of place in a home decor magazine as this is a design style that Takes momentum and a great eye. And since the versatile interior is all about experimentation and play, you’ll have fun with the freedom it offers.

Modern 1918 to 1950

With a focus on sparse interiors and strong basic colors, the modern interior design dispensed with the then typically ornate and over-decorated design aesthetics.

Bauhaus 1920-1934

The movement has been celebrated to this day for its grand but minimal and beautifully executed gestures and founded by German architect Walter Bauhaus, who also founded the Bauhaus School of Art and Design in Weimar, Germany. It quickly spawned some of the most influential architects, sculptors, and graphic designers, furniture makers, and design outsiders of the mid to late 20th century.

Country 1920 to 1970

beautiful modern country design ideas

With notes from traditional farmhouses, the cottage style was practical, but with quality, vintage-inspired furniture.

Today’s interpretation of the modern country house style of interior design is an idyllic classic. Away from a purely traditional country design style; The modern country allows more playful and nuanced aspects along with minimal notes.

Art Deco 1920s to 1960s

Materials for interior decoration in art deco style

This movement offers a heady mix of early 20th century design styles including Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. Art Deco, one of the best-known furnishing styles, stood for modernity, everyday glamor and elegance. The era was based heavily on clear lines, uncomplicated angular shapes, strong colors and stylized patterns such as zigzags and optical figures. Ornate embellishments and metallic surfaces were also hallmarks of the era for added glamor.

The materials used in the art deco interior design are smooth and reflective for everyday household glamor. A lot of metallics are present in this style. from gold to silver, stainless steel and chrome. They give an elegant and luxurious feel to any room and can be used anywhere. Imagine a modern Art Deco living room with a gold coffee table with a glass top, chrome lamps, and a bold geometric patterned carpet in black, gold, and white. Glass is also a commonly used material in Art Deco design. Whether through mirrors, tables with glass tops, sculptural elements or an Art Deco vase or lamp – glass contributes to the elegant ambience of an Art Deco room.

Mediterranean 1920s to date

To evoke the feel of European coastal lands, textures of terracotta, stone, and patterned tile, as well as wrought iron and aquatic hues, have been heavily emphasized.

Surrealism 1925 to 1930

Surrealists like famous artists like Salvador Dali, André Breton and Max Ernst used this avant-garde movement to free people from their associations with what was normal and ultimately predictable in design, music, art and even interior design.

Mid-Century Modern 1930s to today

Mid century modern bedroom interior design

Although the mid-century term modern wasn’t coined until the mid-80s and no one really knows that it is a real timeline, the era represents a combination of post-WWII practicality, 50s optimism, 60s earthiness and 70s tones and textures neatly wrapped in a stylish ode to Scandinavian simplicity.

Let’s call it a response to the decadence and gilded clogging of interior design and architecture well into the 1940s, if you will, as it was when it was first introduced, mid-century modern decor was a total refutation and a reboot for the senses .

The vibe is fresh and poppy, with a retro style and with their commitment to comfort and functionality, packaged in a beautiful design that never goes out of style, absolutely seductive. Unlike other aesthetic movements, mid-century modern decor is streamlined in design, as form follows function while highlighting the materials used rather than making them what they are not.

Scandinavian modern 1930s to today

best scandinavian interior design tips

This movement highlights the merits of beautifully designed, practical objects that are both easily affordable and accessible, which is why the movement is popular to this day.

Scandinavian interior design belongs to the school of modernism and is a design movement that is characterized by a focus on functionalism and simplicity. This also includes the use of natural materials such as leather, wood and hemp. In addition, a Scandinavian interior design is often influenced by a connection with nature that combines natural shapes, abstraction and the use of natural elements.  

Transition from the 1950s to the present day

Transitional mix of interior design

With the invention of the television and its popularity in most households in the United States, the interiors of the devices have helped more than ever to satisfy the appetite of the masses for decoration.

The transition style refers to a mixture of traditional and modern furniture, inventions and decorative features that give you more freedom when decorating your home with ease as the directions in which you can choose the design style have no end. Transitional interior design is essentially the combination of different design styles that are simultaneously brought together into a cohesive design in a room.

Postmodernism 1978 – today

This movement was born as a challenge to what people saw as the generic leniency of the modernist movement. One of the main characters was the Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass with his characteristic playful shapes, abstract prints and powerful color stories.

Contemporary 1980s to today

contemporary interior design

Contemporary interior design is classic, yet current and timeless, thanks to a light, economical decoration to ensure it never feels out of date.

While modern decor feels cold, restrictive, and too minimal, the contemporary style is calming and serene, focusing on architectural elements, decorative details, attention to bold scales, and a succinct color palette to create warm space with ease and sophistication.

Simplicity, clean lines, play of textures and quiet drama are fundamental to creating a perfectly balanced contemporary style home.

Elsie de Wolfe

elsie de wolfe interior design history

Dubbed “America’s First Interior Designer”, Elsie de Wolfe was as opulent as the rooms she decorated, as pictured above in Elsa Schiaparelli’s iconic gold-plated Starburst haute couture coat. The legendary de Wolfe offers a biography that is both romantic and adventurous. After training in Scotland and introducing her to Queen Victoria’s court, she returned to the United States and became an actress, where she enjoyed a unique “Boston Marriage” (a term for two single women from Henry James’ The Bostonians living together ) with successful literature shared  agent and lover Elisabeth Marbury.

Her stage style and costumes – couture robes from Paris – made her an influential taste maker among her audience’s audiences, which led to her being known as the best-dressed woman in the world. Her first foray into interior design was to avoid completely the dark and brooding Victorian decor in the house she and Marbury shared. After successfully redesigning her residence by breaking up, simplifying and minimizing the heavily ornamented interior, she was the first interior designer to receive a design contract.

This commission was to adorn New York’s first elite social club for women, the famous Colony Club, with a number of notable surnames including Whitney, Morgan, Harriman, and Astor. De Wolfe soon became the most popular interior designer of her time and in 1913 published the first book on interior design, entitled “The house with good taste”.

She celebrated the unexpected by mixing animal prints with chinoiserie, had an affinity for Regency and Chippendale styles, as well as black and white color schemes, and pioneered the way beige was used in decor.

Her most notable projects include the homes of Condé Nast, the Fricks, and the Hewitts. Their anti-Victorian stance and their lighter, airier, and less intricate and minimalist, refined rooms are popular to this day.

Jean-Michel Frank

Jean Michel Frank Interior Design History

It should come as no surprise that artists routinely find inspiration from the world around them, and it’s easy to imagine how exhilarating 1930s Paris felt on the most famous decorator and interior designer of the era, Jean-Michel Frank. Fortunately, his projects often focused on placing Picassos and Braques in the rooms he decorated, and his group of influential friends included all of Parisian Left Bank artists like Man Ray and celebrities like the Rockefellers.

Considered a minimalist with a rich bias, his layering of divine maximalism makes his work all the more fascinating and inspiring. As a furniture designer, his silhouettes were reduced and subtle with luxurious details. Think of intricate mica shades, bronze doors, accessories made of quartz and the series of furniture with shagreen covers and club chairs made of sheepskin that he designed for the legendary luxury goods manufacturer Hermès. White was a characteristic shade of his, which he made appear both economical and complex. Frank is also credited with designing one of the most iconic minimalist pieces of furniture in history – the Parsons table – which he often covered with the most luxurious of finishes.

Along with a studied eye for great design and an instinct for the best quality, Frank took on elements of everyday life to make a space more accessible, inviting and realistic. Even today, his work is celebrated in museums, his establishment set up record-breaking auctions, and you can even buy reproductions of his most famous pieces designed for Hermès.

Sister church

Interior design history sister community

Sister Parish is known for creating the American country look, one of the most enduring design styles of the last half century. Born into privilege and pedigree, Parish’s American country look was brought about from her take on English country, albeit with more warmth, character, and a homemade and charming appeal.

She began her career as an untrained housewife who decorated her home with a lot of fanfare. After Hadley caught the attention of other high society housewives hiring them to remodel their own homes, she realized the need for affordable design during the Great Depression and posed as the “budget decorator” for those in Bill who want to freshen up their homes during the challenging economic times of the era.

Her decorative style was a total rejection of her father’s collection of heavy, dark antiques as she leaned more towards feminine ticking stripes, glazed chintz, quilts, hook rugs, and informal overcrowded armchairs, incorporating elements from the past.

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back the good, the beautiful, the useful and the lasting.”

Her designs were romantic, warm, and elegant for clients like Brooke Astor, but she was known for her caustic, intimidating figure and unforgiving appreciation of her clients’ rooms.

In addition to her, many influential designers have made a name for themselves in the Parish design company, including the legendary Albert Hadley, with whom she worked for over 30 years. Their professional relationship is often viewed as one of the most successful collaborative partnerships in the world from Interiors to this day.

Albert Hadley

Interior design history Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley’s project portfolio is considered the father of transitional interior design, celebrated for its masterful combination of glamor and functionality and often referred to as the “Dean of American Decorators”. Albert Hadley’s project portfolio included high society names such as Rockefeller, Astor, Getty and Mellon.

For Hadley, however, high profile names that had brilliant design never took place. “Names really aren’t the point,” he told New Yorker  magazine in 2004  . “It’s what can be achieved for the simplest person.” Glamor is part of it, but glamor is not the essence. Design is about discipline and reality, not about fantasy beyond reality.

Born in Tennessee, Hadley moved to New York City after serving in World War II, where he studied and taught at Parson’s School of Design. He became known for his modernized decorating style, instinctive sense of balance and what worked together. He skilfully created intoxicating mixes of design styles with a mantra that revolves around the idea of ​​”never less, never more”.

Sister Parish brought Hadley onto her team in 1962 in search of some sort of partner with more technical talent than the instinct that defined her career. Parish-Hadley Associates redesigned the homes of elite American families for decades and is best known for redecorating the living quarters of the Kennedy White House as well as the private homes of the Kennedy family. After Parish passed away, Hadley worked well beyond his mid-80s on projects that included an interesting mix of design styles unlike any other designer of his generation.

Dorothy Draper

Interior design story Dorothy Draper

Long known as Coco Chanel in the decoration world, Dorthy Draper’s designs were fearlessly vibrant, lush, happy and full of personality. The spaces she designed had either a restrained color palette of classic black and white, while others highlighted oversized graphic patterns and their expressive technicolor combinations of pink and green, turquoise and citrus. As a cousin of the sister community, Draper was the first documented commercial interior designer to set up the first official interior design firm, Architectural Clearing House, in 1923.

“Almost everyone believes that [interior decoration] has something deep and mysterious about it, or that you have to know all kinds of intricate details about periods before you can lift a finger. Well you don’t. Decorating is just fun: joy in color, balance, awareness of light, a sense of style, joie de vivre and amused joy in the intelligent accessories of the moment, ”she wrote in her book from 1939 Decorating is Fun!

Named America’s Most Influential Taste Maker in 1960, Draper gave several iconic buildings, including the dining room of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins Hotels in San Francisco, their iconic “modern baroque” style, a complete overhaul of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia – which still looks like a currant over 70 years later.

David Hicks

David Hicks interior design story

David Hicks, originally a freelance advertising illustrator based in London, started his career as a decorator after a magazine reported on the groundbreaking makeover of his childhood home.

Breaking mold and contradicting traditionally stuffy and sophisticated English decorating practices, Hicks became a master of unexpected but cohesive mixes. In its versatile interior, wild colors, patterns, inventions and design styles often stood side by side, which were seductive and impressive.

His most notable projects included rooms for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, as well as a sparkling nightclub on an ocean liner and yacht for King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. In the 1970s, Hicks began making signature wallpapers, fabrics and bedding for his design boutiques in eight countries.

Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin interior designer

Though he was hailed for his comprehensive approach to interior design, Billy Baldwin loathed the term “interior designer” and chose to be called “decorator,” his preferred title. He believed that a room with good bones was a top tenet, with quality and comfort being key.

“I’ve always believed that architecture is more important than decoration. Size and proportions make for eternal satisfaction that cannot be achieved just by frosting, ”he said.

His interior was clear and pristine, and unlike his contemporaries, he worked with the client’s existing furniture and instinctively repurposed it. From a notable refresh of Cole Porter’s Waldorf Towers apartment to Jackie O’s Skorpios estate to Diana Vreeland’s richly layered red living room on Park Avenue, meticulous attention to size and proportion was a driving force for Baldwin. An overview of Baldwin’s work, a master of hands-on decorating who comes with bold hues, prints and a well-judged curation, shows how relevant his work is to this day.

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