Tuesday, December 15, 2015

William Hodgins, Town and Country

A reader recently suggested that I write about Boston designer William Hodgins, whose work has been woefully absent on my blog until today. Hodgins is, in a way, like designer Dan Carithers. Both men eschewed New York for Boston and Atlanta, respectively, and yet, despite not living in the epicenter of the design world, managed to forge high-profile careers and earn their places in the annals of American design.

A good introduction to the work of Hodgins might be this early-1990's House Beautiful article, which featured both his gracious Back Bay apartment and his country house.  In both homes, Hodgins has seamlessly blended elegance with comfort, traditional antiques with modern furniture, and American down-to-earth-ness with Continental sophistication, all underpinned by a neutral color palette and Hodgins's rigorous editing.

Also worth pointing out is the seemingly superb quality of both home's furnishings.  There are no junky accessories or random-looking pieces of furniture.  Everything seems to have been chosen with the utmost care.  Then again, that neutral color palette requires superb furnishings, because those neutral tones just don't have the ability to mask inferior furniture and fabrics like robust colors do.

If you wish to see more of Hodgins's work, you might want to read William Hodgins Interiors by Stephen Salny. Although I have not read the book, it appears to be a monograph worth checking out.

In the City:

...and in the country:


  1. I love William Hodgins' work! I had the pleasure to meet him while superintending a move of the Rohatyn's, one of his clients, to Paris when Felix Rohatyn was appointed our ambassador to France. Mr. Hodgins had, and still has, a down-to-earth sense of humour. I also have the pleasure of working with his office from time to time as they order from our antique showroom.

    As soon as the monograph was announced, I pre-ordered it. While very nice, the picture quality is a touch disappointing, the color quality does not do the real life rooms justice. I could accept this were it not for the fact that these same rooms have been published previously in House & Garden and other design mags, and looked infinitely truer to life. Even as reprinted in the House & Garden compendium volumes they have more accuracy of color. The Rohatyn's Fifth Avenue living room is a perfect example; it seems a tinted white in the new book, when it is actually a glowing, complex faux-finished soft yellow. Still, love your post, Mr. Hodgins' work is American elegance at it's best, clean lined "modern" yet neo-classical. Some find his palette "neutral", but in actuality, his whites have a great complexity of tone to them, and they are meant to let colorful things, like antique gilt, chiaroscuro flower paintings, seafoam silk curtains and delicate tint upholstery fabrics, stand out.

    1. Quatorze, It's nice to hear that Mr. Hodgins is not only talented, but down to earth, too. How refreshing. Indeed, American elegance at its best.