Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get Cozy with Mario Buatta

I've had Mario Buatta on the brain lately, and I've been thinking about his apartment as it appeared in the 1970s. There is something very comforting to me about these photos. Maybe it's Buatta's choice of colors, the combination of fabrics and prints, the cozy seating arrangements, or the plenitude of collections. Perhaps it's a combination of all of the above. Whatever the secret formula was, these interiors make me want to crawl into the photos and curl up with a good book in that sunny yellow living room or that rich red bedroom. Can you imagine a better way to relax at the end of the day than to retire in that luxurious canopied bed?

Various shots of Buatta's living room with its glazed yellow walls.

The bedroom with its "Beaujolais" colored walls.

All images from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration by Norma Skurka.


  1. The apartment is in a stately early 20th century house. While beautifully furnished, the assets of the handsomely proportioned architecture cannot be overlooked.

  2. I always liked his bedroom. Still do. Your opening first photograph, a favorite, the yellow and blue, the comfortable!
    Wonder how it looks today...

  3. Suzanne Sokolov9:49 AM

    Not my personal style, but nobody does it like Mario! I continue to marvel at his eye. Thanks Jennifer.

  4. J Randall Powers9:59 AM

    These rooms are in such good taste, and have such great style. They are not only endearing, but are soulful.
    Something that so many of today's interiors lack.
    They are- merely decorated.
    Mario's rooms are orchestrated. Like a Mozart opera.
    Highs and lows, surprises, twists and turns.
    And always enchanting in the end.

  5. Good point on the scale of the rooms, absolutely stunning. I love these photos, the prince of chintz is in full effect here!

  6. He is a friend and a genius, though his bed now is a chinoiserie four-post once owned by Gregory Smith, a longtime McMillen client. I've always been crazy about the exuberant Anglo-Americanness of his taste.

  7. Jennifer Dengel10:48 AM

    So much to feast your eyes upon! No matter how many times I have seen these rooms, I never tire of them. I happen to agree that these photos are comforting. Perhaps, it is the intensely personal nature of the rooms. They were furnished with beauty and comfort in mind. I feel that the collections were joyfully assembled over time. I sense that these are rooms that are truly loved and enjoyed by Mario Buatta.

  8. It's interesting that even if some of his old interiors look dated now, the elements are all still so great. His ideas are spot on, in my opinion!!

  9. How nice to read about Mario again in the blog world. The "Prince of Chintz" drove the market until the economy tanked in 2000. Since then we have had to endure less grand and quite often dreadful interiors.

  10. Well, this would be a perfect example of why I don't comment more often. I was utterly inspired by this post, by these well-loved rooms by a designer who is often overlooked today and yet when I read the comments by your professional friends, I don't dare. Which is silly, because I would imagine that you would be all too happy to know how much I have absorbed from your wonderful blog this past year, even if I am just little ol' me. So thank you! Un grand merci et bonnes fêtes!

  11. I agree with all of the above comments!

    Provence- That is silly because your comments are always thoughtful and articulate! Thank you for the kind words.

  12. Mario Buatta has earned his place in the design pantheon. I think that I memorized every detail of his famous "blue bedroon" from the late 80's--the pinked drapes, yards and yards of blue & white chintz, the poster bed, etc. Super post. Maybe a post on his collection of dog paintings.......please? Thanks, Mary

  13. Anonymous3:32 AM

    I would have to say.....not one element in one of these pictures looks dated at all to me!
    Not one lampshade! (they are the first to be dated)

    Not one single element!

    "Trendy" is not me....I am guided by classic principles....and classic taste.

    Mario's rooms he did 40 years ago; I could move in with my toothbrush. Changing not one iota. His eye is peerless.

    Ha! "dated" NOT!!

    Just my very biased opinion.....41 years as a very opinionated decorator!

    How lucky we are to have him...and have him be published so much......I have three notebooks chock full of his wonderful rooms!

    He is brilliant beyond......and hilariously funny; as well!


  14. Anonymous3:36 AM

    OH! I forgot to agree with "Aesthete" Genius is a word I do not overuse......

    Mario is a complete and total "genius"!

    So there!!!

  15. Just the Best of the Best.Sadly no book from him.The greatest colorist working. Would be completely happy with any room of his down to the postcards tucked in a mirror.

  16. I have an old AD article with photos of the yellow room in which the young decorator, Mr Buatta, was tipped as the new Billy Baldwin!

    Mr Buatta's Blair House drawing room still stands out in my memory as one of the most beautiful rooms I've ever seen.

  17. That yellow can do no wrong... xv

  18. I do ahhhdore a beautiful yellow room dahhling! So very chic.

  19. Anonymous1:18 PM

    i love seeing his rooms over the years- how he reused certain items as is and recovered others -
    and how he used his own things in show houses- and then again at home

    elegant but still very "put your feet up" cozy

    john in nc

  20. Anonymous4:57 PM

    Well said, katiesez! Ditto!

  21. Wouldn't it be interesting to do an "updated" apartment in his style- with brighter colors, and in some of the new fabrics by designers like Martyn Lawrence Bullard?

  22. Funny about this post. I've been thinking a lot about Mario Buatta lately too. His rooms are just pretty. They feel comfortable because they are graceful. Full but not cluttered. I kind of miss the huge ribbons holding pictures from a picture rail, just never see that anymore.

  23. I have to say that I too miss the ribbons holding pictures!

  24. Anonymous2:21 PM

    I have some; and I'm putting them up!