So, I was excited to come across a 1948 House & Garden article in which five of the top designers of the day (who are now considered legends) discussed their solutions to different design challenges presented by their clients. Today I'll profile the male designers featured, and tomorrow stay tuned for the women.
The master Billy Baldwin is photographed here with his client Mrs. Warren Pershing. The problem: Mrs. Pershing wanted to create a country house feeling in her Park Avenue duplex. She wanted the home to be rather informal but pretty as well.
The solution: Baldwin chose coral as the dominant color because it is a happy color (and one that would complement Mrs. Pershing's "dark beauty"). To achieve the country look, Baldwin used various chintzes for the upholstery and displayed vases with fresh flowers throughout.
What I find interesting is that though this room was a bit casual for the time (and for the Park Ave. setting), it is actually rather formal by today's standards. I think that what Baldwin achieved was a scheme that was fresh, comfortable, and elegant.
A living room designed by William Pahlmann for his client Mrs. Walter Hoving.
The problem: The living room was very large and rather long. Also, Mrs. Hoving wanted to create a room that was conducive to entertaining and an attractive background for evening clothes (aren't these fun problems to have?)
The solution: Palhmann created different seating groups allowing for conversation as well as better traffic flow. Also, he used two mirrored niches (visible on the far right) to create a sense of width. Pahlmann chose a green for the upholstery because he deemed it a flattering color for evening clothes (particularly against men's black and white evening attire).
All in all, a very elegant room in which to entertain! I especially love that Coromandel screen.
The problem: The client, Mrs. Vincent Astor, asked her designer George Stacey to create a cornflower blue room. She also wanted a room that was suitable for entertaining as well as relaxing with her family.
The solution: Because this shade of blue was a bit strong, Stacey chose white, crystal, and mirrored accents. He used a red fabric for the benches in front of the fireplace as well as a dark green for the sofa. In order to achieve the "comfortable" feel to the room, Stacey used a floral chintz for the armchairs (I think the use of floral chintz is a recurring theme in this particular article!).
I think Stacey's use of color is pretty smashing and bold. That said, what interested me most about this story is that one of the editors of H&G in 1948 was Brooke Marshall, later Brooke Astor (the third Mrs. Vincent Astor). And here is her predecessor Minnie Cushing Astor (the second Mrs. Vincent Astor).