I was saddened to hear that Mario Buatta, interior decorator extraordinaire, has passed. Buatta was one of the most renowned decorators in the US, and a master of color and prints. Known as the “Prince of Chintz”, he championed the English Country style of decoration in America, creating some of the most celebrated spaces of the last 50 years.
(Mario in the Mid-70's - Architectural Digest)
Mario’s aesthetic is definitely not for the minimalist - the common threads across his large body of work are the focus on color, texture and print. He possessed this instinctive ability to mix pieces of different styles and eras together, creating lively and inspiring rooms. Buatta signatures include chintz (his favorite was the Floral Bouquet Chintz by Lee Joffa), plush pillows, vibrant color, fringe, rooms styled entirely in blue and white, and an abundance of flowers. It is hardly surprising that the room which remained a source of inspiration throughout his life was Nancy Lancaster’s iconic Yellow Room - bright, open and expressive in style - qualities which are unmistakably evident in Buatta's own spaces.
(Nancy Lancaster's Yellow Room - Colefax and Fowler/Architectural Digest)
In 2013 Mario released “Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Decoration” with author Emily Evans Eerdmans, published by Rizzoli: an anthology of his work and inspirations, which I highly recommend. It includes lots of images of his best creations, including: Blair House during the Reagan administration (a collaboration with Mark Hampton), the Isaac Jenkins Mikell House for Patricia Altschul, Carolands Chateau for Mr. Charles and Dr. Ann Johnson, and the New York apartment of Aileen Mehle.
(Lee Joffa's Floral Bouquet Chintz - Mario's favorite.)
Mario will surely be remembered not only for the warmth and beauty of his rooms, but for how perfectly they capture the exuberant personality of the man who designed them.
(Blair House - Architectural Digest)
(Carolands - Architectural Digest)
(Patricia Altschul home - Architectural Digest)
(Mario Buatta New York Apartment - Architectural Digest)
(Southampton home of Hilary and Wilbur Ross - Architectural Digest)