Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ann Getty Interior Style

One of the most beautiful and engrossing books that I've read lately is Ann Getty Interior Style. Written by the talented Diane Dorrans Saeks, the book profiles the work of San Francisco based Ann Getty, considered to be one of this country's most accomplished and rarefied designers. Getty's work is a prime example of serious decorating. Not serious as in boring, but rather representative of decorating in the most classical sense of the word. In Getty's interiors, sumptuous fabrics, glorious antiques, and unique fine finishes all come together to create worlds of fantasy that somehow remain comfortable and livable. That takes skill, you know.

For some time now, Getty has been regarded as a well-informed collector and connoisseur, one whose collection, as the author notes, spans countries, periods, and styles. But rather than reading as a disparate grouping of items, her collection is really quite harmonious and dazzling. Saeks' captions that accompany the book's photographs often include detailed descriptions of these treasures, serving as an education on the best of the best antiques and decorative arts. Provenances aside, Getty's use of antiques and art, whether they be in her own home or those of clients, is something that should be studied. History obviously plays a role in her work, and yet, one could never call her interiors staid.

The book's photographs are lavish and colorful, a testament to the depth of Getty's work. But whatever you do, make sure to pay attention to the book's text. Saeks' writing is the perfect partner to Getty's work, lyrical, engaging, and magical in its own right. Reading the book transported me to each of the featured homes, making me feel as though I had a very special perch from which to view these rooms.

If you're looking for a book that both inspires and informs, I urge you to take a look at this book. I think you'll find that it's a special addition to your library.

A holiday table setting inspired by Ann Getty's love of Chinoiserie. (Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012)

The Living Room, with curtains crafted in three shades of Indian silk and a pair of George I gilded armchairs covered in antique blue damask. (Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012)

The Trainas' bedroom, with a japanned and gilded Venetian secretaire, which was a family heirloom. (Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012)

The dining room, set for a fall dinner honoring illustrious scientists. (Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012)

Hand-painted, gilded, and semiprecious stone-ornamented Syro-Turkish paneled room, carved and adorned with marble and colored stones, featuring a gilded canopy bed. (Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012)

All photographs and captions reproduced with express permission of the author and publisher. Copyright Ann Getty Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks, Rizzoli, 2012. Lisa Romerein, photographer.


  1. I am envious of your getting an advance copy! It won't be released until October 23 and I am really looking forward to it. The Getty's Fifth Avenue apartment (since dismantled) was a Parish-Hadley commission during my tenure, so I can vouch for her indeed having great style. And books such as this are too often so pitifully written, so I am looking forward to Ms Saeks' text.

    1. I think you'll enjoy it. It's a beautiful book in every sense of the word.

  2. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Love those voluptuous interiors!!!!

  3. Looking forward to this! Not an all white/gray room in the whole book, I am assuming. My birthday is in October. When I was younger, it meant new clothes. Now it means getting lots of new books since October is the Christmas of book world. This one is at the top of my birthday presents to me list!

  4. A world few of us can match, but lovely none the less. I was impressed with the Venetian secretary set against washed wood paneling and flanked by those toile curtains. I also loved the branch curtain rods; do-able with the aid of a moderately competent iron monger and very individual and eye-catching. I also liked the French 19th century influence of greens used in complex fabrics.

    Glad to know that the book is well-written, so many of this genre are often just eye candy, without any scholarship, much less readability... Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Her love of Chinoiserie is right up my alley + can't wait for the book.

  6. Pictures are wonderful, but without great text--just a pictures. I always want to learn the details behind the image. Thanks--I will put this book at the top of my list.

  7. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Were pictures of the 5th Avenue apartment ever published?

    1. I'm not sure. Perhaps The Devoted Classicist knows?