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Gone But Not Forgotten (Part 1): Interior Designer, Billy Baldwin

"A person with real flair is a gambler at heart." I absolutely adore this quote! Can you guess who said it? It's none other than my all-time-favorite interior designer, the late Billy Baldwin (1903-1984)! Even...

"A person with real flair is a gambler at heart."

I absolutely adore this quote! Can you guess who said it? It's none other than my all-time-favorite interior designer, the late Billy Baldwin (1903-1984)! Even after all these years, his influence continues to shape the world of home interiors. I treasure my vintage copy of one of his two books, Billy Baldwin Decorates (1972), which I constantly refer to for inspiration. But more than the beautiful photographs, it's Baldwin's wisdom that truly captivates me. Whenever I'm designing a room, I can't help but ask myself, "What would Billy do?"

Among his many accomplishments, Baldwin is best known for his iconic slipper chairs and brass bookcases designed for Cole Porter's Waldorf apartment. He once famously quipped, "Small women and football linebackers find it equally comfortable!" The slipper chair was actually created with Pauline de Rothschild's tall, slender frame in mind, making it more comfortable for her to strike a pose with her long, lanky legs.

Here are two slipper chair options currently available in the Billy Baldwin Collection by Ventry Limited:

Billy Baldwin Slipper Chairs Captivating slipper chair options from the Billy Baldwin Collection.

Throughout his career, Billy Baldwin lived by several design principles that continue to influence my own work. Here are a few of them:

Be True to Your Own Taste

"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style." Baldwin believed that personal style is timeless, and it's important to stay true to what you love.

Embrace Quality

"Quality matters! If you have the choice to buy one high-quality piece, versus several lesser quality pieces, choose the former." Baldwin understood the value of investing in well-crafted furniture that stands the test of time. He encouraged decorators to focus on acquiring good pieces that are compatible and let the room grow gradually.

Mix and Match

"Mix different styles together in your designs." Baldwin was a master of blending different styles seamlessly. He believed that incorporating diverse elements adds depth and interest to any space.

Honor Loved Possessions

"Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect, loved possessions add personality." Baldwin recognized the sentimental value of personal belongings and encouraged designers to find ways to incorporate them into new designs.

A Roomful of Books

"The best decoration in the world is a roomful of books." Baldwin understood the power of books as both functional and decorative elements in a space. They bring warmth, depth, and intellectual charm to any room.

Comfort is Key

"Nothing is in good taste unless it suits the way you live. What's practical is beautiful... and suitability always overrules fashion." Baldwin prioritized comfort in his designs. He believed that a well-designed space should not only look beautiful but also cater to the needs and lifestyle of its occupants.

Billy Baldwin's work was truly timeless. His designs, characterized by lacquered brown walls and the use of rich, bold colors, still resonate with modern-day aesthetics. Take a look at some of his work below:

Billy Baldwin Designs Billy Baldwin Designs Billy Baldwin Designs

His designs are as relevant today as they were decades ago. That's the enduring charm of Billy Baldwin's work - it never goes out of style!

If you're interested in diving deeper into the world of Billy Baldwin, I recommend checking out the newly released book, Billy Baldwin: A Great American Decorator. You can find it on Amazon.com.

Now, go out and have an "It's So Fabulous!" day, just like Billy Baldwin would have wanted!

All image credits: Sanaulac.vn