Monday, August 12, 2013

Mario Buatta



One of the best $15 I've invested is this hibiscus tree. 
Technically it is not a tree.
It's called a "standard."
A hibiscus shrub is grafted onto a nice straight stem
and trained to look like a tree.
I have it in a pot on the deck.


My little hibiscus is the only thing I'll ever have in common
with Mario Buatta, 
apart from my love of chintz and a touch of chinoiserie. 
Mr. Buatta designed a poolside dining area
with pink hibiscus standards for 
Hilary and Wilbur Ross' Palm Beach house.

click to read the entire article with gorgeous pics via AD

I'm a big Mario Buatta fan. Huge fan.
His style resonates with me. 
So I was positively elated to learn that his first book
will be out this Fall, October 8th.
It spans his 50 year career.

Mario Buatta: 50 Years of American Interior Decoration


Mario was dubbed Prince of Chintz back in the '80's. 
He burst to fame with this bedroom for the1
984 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. 

At the time, it was groundbreaking. 

No one had done a canopy bed for decades.


screen grab from AD's article on Mario Buatta's Romantic Bedrooms



OK, for anyone under a certain age
Mario's blue-and-white bedroom seems over the top, right? 

Something your Grandmother did? 

Try equating a show house to a fashion runway show. 
It's the designer's vision and creativity on display to wow us
with fresh, new concepts whether it be clothes or interiors. 

Like the department store buyer attending the runway show,
he/she may not order the exact dress that walked the runway.
They may have it tweaked to fit their market.

Same with a Show House.
We attend them to see what is the latest and
take the ideas we like.

Anyway, rather than Prince of Chintz, I think
Master of the Mix
is a better title. 
More descriptive of Mario Buatta's extraordinary talent.


Photo by Jeffrey Hirsch for New York Social Diary's interview with Mario Buatta; read the NYSD interview here.

Let's inventory the mix in this library:

  • rows of real books, spine out, thank you 
  • traditional paneling but done in a casual knotty pine 
  • a Chinese coffee table 
  • English Regency chair at the French desk
  • the just right volume of the curtains flank a woven shade
  • the bells on the valance are pure fun 
  • fabrics -- prints and weaves, geometry in the carpeting, pleated and ruffled lampshades, love the trim on the face of the bookshelves
  • Instead of an ancestral portrait or a landscape, a contemporary portrait by artist Chiu Ya-tsai.

This is the genius that is Mario Buatta.
He layers texture, detail, patterns, colors, and scale
to achieve a room that looks like a lifetime's
accumulation of treasures without the shrine effect.

Still, I can hear those under a certain age thinking this look is soo dated.

It is, but in a very good way.

If Mr. Buatta's talent were not enough, he has a delightful sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously. Here's a snippet from the interview he gave the New York Social Diary for the series on designers at home (Mr. Buatta was in a client's apartment for the interview):



Besides, you have to love a guy willing to pose with the client's dog!

2004, via AD

March 2011via NYSD.
Again, the fearless mix; 70's coffee table, a variety of Louis chairs, modern art, a chinois secretary.

Buy the book. Or better yet, give it to your Mom for her birthday or Christmas.

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

This post was not sponsored by Mario Buatta or Rizzoli.

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