Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ask Albert

Occasionally, in the helter-skelter of 1970s design there are moments of calm, reticent but not diffident rooms in civilized colors, outward looking, and by very good decorators. A number of last week's posts showed some of them and here is another - a real oh, boy moment - a room by Albert Hadley of Parish-Hadley, Associates.

This room came as a surprise - I was ready to pass on without looking at who did the quite serviceable and pretty interior that was badly served in the main by too-small images of the important spaces. The dining room was light, colorful and within the bounds of traditional design, quite spare, but it was when I turned to the last page that I realized here was a room that had stood the test of time. Perhaps so had the rest, it was just hard to see it.

The suburban Washington D.C. house enlarged by Mr Hadley to hold the Washington elite for dinner dances and informal evenings was decorated with comfortable upholstery, geometric carpets, needlepoint and Moroccan rugs, floral chintzes, primitive animal paintings, a Regency clock and pagoda cabinet, a Louis XV bureau plat, a Renoir lithograph, mezzo sopranos, senators, ambassadors and live Yorkshire terriers.

"It is a house without tricks. But is does have a quality of fantasy about it."

"We try to make it as attractive as possible, and what happens inside the house must be a clear reflection."

"I tried to create a house appropriate to the location. A country house, but not a primitive one."

"I cannot impose my style on you. You have to tell me whether you want to live in empty rooms with steel furniture or in a greenhouse with simple rustic furniture."

"It's like producing a play with the right cast of characters."

The real oh, boy moment was realizing this room really is timeless - made in 1975 but as up-to-date as 2009.

Photos by Richard Champion for Architectural Digest, March/April 1975.


  1. I don't know timeless but I'd sure enjoy being in this room, plopping down on the sofa or any of the chairs. The room is made for human comfort or at least for my comfort. Thanks for taking a second look and showing us.

  2. I love this room. But does the rattan element give it away as not being entirely timeless?