BOOK REVIEW: Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration

Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration; Mario Buatta, Emily Eerdmans

Rizzoli New York,

RRP: £47.50

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This book is a celebration of the style and taste of Mario Buatta who has been decorating homes for the last fifty years and still continues to do so.

Mario Buatta in front of  painting. © Jason Schmidt and Nest magazine Background painting. © Sander Witlin

Mario Buatta in front of painting. © Jason Schmidt and Nest magazine
Background painting. © Sander Witlin

His style has been influenced by the renowned English elegance of Colefax and Fowler and by America’s colourful decorating doyenne Sister Parish.  His is a reinvention of the English country house style layered with antiques, sumptuous curtains and colours that all combine to produce rooms that are both opulent and stylish but immensely liveable-in.

Painting of Mario’s 1984 Kips Bay show-house room. © 1984 Jeremiah Goodman

Painting of Mario’s 1984 Kips Bay show-house room. © 1984 Jeremiah Goodman

It is a look that clients such as Henry Ford II, Barbara Walters, Malcolm Forbes, Mariah Carey, and the President (he helped decorate Blair House, the Presidential Guest House) have liked along with many other discerning clients.  The copious illustrations admirably underscore this.

Neoclassical House, Houston, TX—living room. © Gordon Beall / Architectural Digest © Conde Nast Publications

Neoclassical House, Houston, TX—living room. © Gordon Beall / Architectural Digest © Conde Nast Publications

Not unsurprisingly he is known as the “Prince of Chintz” for his prodigious and extremely effective use of this fabric.  At home his mother allowed him to re-arrange the furniture and his stylish Aunt Mary was another early influence.  Buatta shares with us his work process and the rules that he uses in decorating along with some amusing anecdotes.

It is certainly a book for all interested in interior decorating and one to keep close at hand for ideas.

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