Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Talented Ronald Grimaldi

I have one of my long-time readers, Mr. Toby Worthington, to thank for this post. For the past few years, we have emailed back and forth about the late Ronald Grimaldi, the man who served for years as the president of Rose Cumming. Shortly after Rose died, Grimaldi was hired by Rose's sister, Eileen, to help run the shop, and Grimaldi's career took off from there.

It was Toby Worthington who told me that Grimaldi's Upper East Side apartment had been published in a 1990's issue of House & Garden. I finally located a copy of the issue (April 1999, by the way), and indeed Grimaldi's apartment was as stylish as Toby had claimed. I think of this apartment as being a great example of old-school decorating- and that is in no way a criticism. Rather, I consider it to be one of the best compliments that I can give! It was a personal apartment, one filled with pieces that Grimaldi had collected through the years. It was layered and luxurious, just as one would expect of the man who presided over Rose Cumming.

Now, I will admit that I'm not crazy about the master bedroom (see below), though that might have something to do with the lighting- a little too harsh. But I really think that the beauty of the apartment is in the details: the lacquered red striped Rose Cumming wallpaper in the entryway; the 1940s black and white linoleum floor, also in the entryway; those wonderful Rose Cumming fabrics; the dining chairs that once belonged to Gloria Vanderbilt; and the Zajac & Callahan pieces that really added zing to the apartment. Even if Grimaldi's look isn't really your thing, I think that if you look closely at the photos, you'll find "things" that will intrigue you.

The living room walls were painted in an apple green shade for a "little punch." The tufted settee and chairs were covered in Rose Cumming fabrics. The tufted chair in the foreground was designed by Zajac & Callahan.

The entryway with its 1940s linoleum floor. (I would absolutely love to have old linoleum floors!) The walls were covered in Rose Cumming's "Band-Box Stripe" that was lacquered.

Another view of the entryway.

The dining table was surrounded by 18th c. Portuguese chairs that were once owned by Gloria Vanderbilt. They were covered in a silk taffeta that had been painted to look like tiger skin. The mirror was by Zajac & Callahan.

Grimaldi's bedroom. The bed was upholstered in a Rose Cumming silk damask while the walls were covered in "Directoire Star" by Rose Cumming.

The guest bedroom featured Rose Cumming's "Sussex", a glazed chintz.

All images from House & Garden, April 1999, Eric Boman photographer.


  1. I could make do in this apartment!!!! Faboulous appointments!!!

  2. I remember his doing a couple of designer showhouse rooms in the 80s. They were much like this apartment, full of Rose Cumming fabrics with emphasis on dramatic chintzes.

  3. The bedrooms are so different and I can't pick my favorite. Both are fabulous. "Old school" decorating is the best.

  4. Michele from Boston9:37 AM

    Jennifer, I remember falling totally in love with that sconce on the title page. Was it really 12 years ago? Yikes. It certainly was a memorable interior for me. Thanks for the flashback!

  5. It is hard to believe that this was shot 12 years ago! Just goes to show that classic decorating never goes out of style :)

  6. Thanks for the images, Classic Design + those dining room chairs, amazing!

  7. Jennifer Dengel10:31 AM

    Such captivating images! There was so much substance to this apartment. I agree, it's old-school in the very best way!!!

  8. While I was showroom manager of Hinson & Company in New York, I had the privilege of working with Ron Grimaldi during the time that Rose Cumming had representation at Hinon. Ron was a true class act. Style in spades. Wonderful style that carried over to his personal way of doing business and his great fashion sense. Thank you for bringing back great memories!

  9. So chic. Incredibly stylish.

  10. What a pleasant surprise, dear Peak!
    That apple green living room doesn't date in the least,
    does it? Mr Grimaldi had genuine flair.

  11. His rooms had a kick that doesn't really come across in photos. Like Rose Cumming, he made the Old School look pretty dusty. What a nice man he was.

  12. I remember Ron from my decorating days with my mother's firm and in Southampton. What a lovely and talented man. As Jeffrey said, a very classy fellow. Thanks for the lovely memory of his work. I am totally missing that style. As a matter of fact, I vote for an English country resurgence.

  13. I'm in love with the dining room chairs. Not dated. I do believe that elements of "Old School" decorating are already back, but they are showing up with a different twist and mix. Thanks for this super post. Mary

  14. The small tufted chair in the foreground might be
    by Zajac and Callahan but the asymmetrical sofa was
    made by De Angelis. It was in Ronnie's previous apartment on Gramercy Square and let me tell you, it was exceedingly comfortable, to say nothing of being
    such a graceful shape.

  15. Toby- It is indeed a graceful looking sofa. Nice to know that it was comfortable too.

  16. That mirror! The one in the dining room. It has certainly made the rounds. I don't usually notice objects like that, but it's so unusual. Look at its new home in a bathroom on p. 131 of Michael Smith's Kitchens and Baths book. The caption there notes that it was once owned by Rose Cumming. I also ran across a picture of it on p. 236 of the September 1982 issue of Architectural Digest, which attributed it to Edward Zajac. Vince

    1. Vince, You certainly have an eagle eye! I'm going to check out the Michael Smith book.

      I'm very impressed!

  17. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Great quality and timeless style are never tiring. These rooms look as great today as they did back then, and not a mid-century item in them......thankfully!!