Monday, January 09, 2012

Decorating with Confidence

While perusing my bookshelves this past weekend, I found the book Decorating with Confidence by Jose Wilson and Arthur Leaman. I have no recollection of buying it and can't figure out from where it came. The book fairy, I suppose. Anyway, what was interesting about the book is that most of the interiors were done by designers with whom I'm not familiar. I have a feeling that when the book was published (1973), many of the featured designers were probably prominent names in the design industry...or perhaps they went on to become prominent names later in their careers.

I've written so many posts on the likes of Billy Baldwin and Dorothy Draper that I decided it was time to devote one to the talented designers whose names may not necessarily roll off of our tongues. It would be interesting to know what has become of these designers, don't you think?

A small tented dining room by designer Jane Victor

J. Neil Stevens of McMillen,Inc. fashioned a small library and games area out of a hallway leading to the master bedroom. The striped fabric, used on walls and furniture, was used horizontally to make the narrow space seem wider.

Crystal bibelots, displayed on the cocktail table, add some sparkle, as do those metal screens. Reg Adams, designer.

A trompe l'oeil Fornasetti secretary holds shells in this room by George Headly.

I wonder if this room designed by David Holcomb might have been a display room for a department store.

You have to admit that the projected image of the Sistine Chapel is kind of wacky, but rather clever too. Room by C. Ray Smith.

A masculine space with walls covered in herringbone fabric. Jerome Manashaw, designer.

This one room apartment epitomizes the early 1970s aesthetic. Allen Stuart was the designer.

A half-canopy was created using curtain rods and fabric. R. Holland Trull, designer.

Logan Brown found all of this sitting room's furniture, lighting, and accessories at Goodwill.

Portuguese tile wallpaper makes an interesting backdrop for copper cookware. Michael Brown, designer.

Photo at top: I'm crazy for the Bargello runner in this living room designed by Carl Steele of Kunzig & Steele.

All photos from Decorating with Confidence by Jose Wilson and Arthur Leaman


  1. What a great look back. The Allen Stuart room looks the most fun, while the Logan Brown room with green walls and red and purple accents seems heavily drug-induced.
    --Road to Parnassus

  2. Anonymous9:10 AM

    C, Ray Smith was a neighbor and a good friend of mine!
    I spent many hours in that was all white....and he projected many different images on the walls and ceiling!
    He was not a designer, but an interior design editor.
    Thanks for the memory!

  3. C. Ray Smith may be most often remembered as editor at architecture magazines such as OCCULUS and PROGRESSIVE ARCHITECTURE. He also taught at Parsons, F.I.T., and NY School of Interior Design.

  4. Anonymous10:03 AM

    C. Ray was also was the author of Interior Design in 20th Century America : A History. A good reference book to have!
    AND, Randy Trull was a designer, and manufacturer of
    "Bedroom ensembles ". The picture looks like a showroom set, or a PR photo for the company. He now lives in Wilmington NC, and most recently designed a collection of Sunbrella fabrics!

  5. Golly, fantastic post. Such a blast from the past!

  6. Love this! The tented breakfast room, the Fornasetti secretary, that half canopy, and the projected image of the Sistine chapel ceiling are all great ideas with a sense of humor. Amazing how fresh some of these ideas still are.

  7. As much as I love and admire Dorothy Draper, I know she wasn't the only designer during the period and I definitely need to study might have just given me the inspiration!! I just happened upon your blog today and its fabulous. I hope you have a wonderful week and Happy Monday!
    Twirling Clare

  8. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Isn't that the same Portuguese tile wallpaper that Oscar della Renta used in that famous blue and white dining room in the'60s? I bet it was by Coles(of London)!



  9. Herts- Wow. I did not make that connection, but I think you might be right!