Mario Buatta was a decorating legend known for his unconventional use of color and pattern. He has left an indelible imprint on the world of interior design, and his impact can still be felt today. Buatta has special meaning for us at Impeccable Nest. When we were in design school, we took a Timeless Design workshop and were assigned to research and present on Mario Buatta. We were encouraged to investigate and describe what made his designs timeless, and this is precisely what we discovered.
Buatta’s designs were whimsical and playful, bringing the English countryside to America in a bold and whimsical way. He questioned today’s popular minimalist design trends, believing that homes should appear lived in rather than displayed. He wanted his designs to appear to have been created over time rather than purchased all at once.
Buatta was a man who believed that more was more, whether it was in terms of color, pattern, or accessories. He was a big personality and a design industry leader who will be missed. “Young people today have no reference,” he once said. They don’t want Grandma’s furniture, nor do they want anything brown or antique. It’s strange, very strange.” Despite this minimalism trend, Buatta’s designs are timeless, and his influence can be seen in the work of many designers today.
So, what was it about Buatta’s designs that made them so timeless? It was his distinct blend of traditional and playful elements, his daring use of color and pattern, and his conviction that homes should look lived in. His designs were never stuffy or overly formal; instead, they exuded warmth and whimsy. He was a true original, and his influence and inspiration in the world of interior design will live on for future generations.
The Prince of Chintz: Mario Buatta’s Timeless Designs and Legacy in Interior Design
Mario Buatta, the interior designer known for his signature flowered fabrics that adorned his English country-style rooms, died five days before his 83rd birthday in New York City. Buatta, known as the Prince of Chintz, captivated the world of interior design, earning him a spot on the AD100 list. Buatta was born and raised on Staten Island, New York, where his grandparents were Italian immigrants who worked as craftsmen. His childhood hobby of collecting antiques evolved into his life’s work, transforming him into a legendary designer.
Buatta began his career as a salesman at B. Altman and Bonwit Teller. He studied design at Pratt Institute and Columbia University before attending Parsons School of Design in Europe in 1961, which proved to be a life-changing experience. His entry-level job with Mamie Eisenhower’s decorator, Elisabeth C. Draper, was followed by a year working for Keith Irvine, a decorator known for his spirited Anglo atmospheres. Buatta’s reputation for country-house-style rooms with a sense of centuries-old accumulation led to the establishment of his own company in 1963. His rooms frequently featured a mix of traditional and playful elements, highlighting his distinct design style. Buatta was the long-time chairman of the Winter Antiques Show and earned the moniker “King of Clutter” for his love of embellishment.
Buatta believed that a house should evolve in the same way that a painting does. His goal was to create rooms that appeared to have been built over time, with each element contributing to the overall effect. His designs were inspired by his passion for English antiques, floral fabrics, and ornate rooms. Buatta had a significant impact on the world of interior design, and his legacy will continue to inspire and influence designers for generations to come.
The Glamorous World of Mario Buatta’s Interior Design
Mario Buatta’s iconic design style introduced the English country-house look to America with a generous dose of exuberance and a wholly American sunny optimism. His signature style included bright, saturated colors, a plethora of patterns, and forests of blue-and-white porcelain. He was a master of craftsmanship, creating works of art as wall finishes. According to the Washington Post, painting a small dining room in Buatta’s signature style can cost up to $10,000.
Blue-chip society figures and business tycoons were not the only ones who trusted Buatta’s one-man operation with their homes. Mariah Carey hired him to decorate her Manhattan triplex, and he designed a glamorous scheme with gold, peach, and silver tones, as well as crystal flashes, that could have been the setting for a modern Carole Lombard. The successful project was published in AD in 2001, and its understated opulence introduced Buatta to a new audience.
Buatta was an artist who created spaces that were not only beautiful but also reflected the personalities of the people who lived in them. His passion for ornate rooms and antique treasures inspired his distinct style, earning him a spot on the AD100 list. His design style was rooted in the English country house look, but it was unmistakably his own, generous and exuberant in its approach.
Mario Buatta was the undisputed master of pattern and color in interior design. His designs are timeless, and his impact can still be felt today. He questioned minimalism trends and believed that homes should appear lived in. He was a big personality and a design industry leader who will be missed. His legacy, however, lives on in the work of many contemporary designers, and his unique blend of traditional and playful elements continues to inspire and delight.
We’re Emma Carole Paradis and Kimberly Carole, the owners and designers of Impeccable Nest, based in Bedford, New Hampshire. A mother-daughter team with a love of design. Originally from Manhattan Beach, California, now based in Bedford, New Hampshire, we bring a Southern California cool and New England tradition to our design. Not only do we work together…we also live together in a multi-generational home…and a home that they are known to design for others.