Mario Buatta

One of the best $15 I've invested is this hibiscus tree. Technically not a tree, the 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. The poolside dining room Mr. Buatta designed for Hilary and Wilbur Ross' home in Palm Beach:

click to read the entire article with gorgeous pics via AD

Any mention of the F word (not that one, the autumnal one) this early in August makes me ill. Emails with "new for F___" in the subject are deleted unopened. I mute the sound on back-to-school TV ads and rip the print variety from magazines. Anything remotely woolly is unwelcome. I'm not fan of Fall.

However, I was far from ill, positively elated, to learn that Mario Buatta's first book will be out this Fall, October 8th. I'm a huge fan. Huge. His style resonates with me. This book spans his 50 year career.

Mario Buatta: 50 Years of American Interior Decoration

An American design icon, Mario was dubbed Prince of Chintz back in the '80's when he burst to fame with this bedroom for the 1984 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. At the time, it was ground breaking. 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 it seems over the top, right? Something your Grandmother did? Try equating a show house with 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, you won't order the exact dress that walked the runway, you'll have it tweaked. Same for your house.

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, 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 book shelves! Instead of an ancestral portrait or a landscape, a contemporary portrait by artist Chiu Ya-tsai.

Here's Mario Buatta's genius: layering the 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 ager 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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