Monday, November 16, 2009

The consummate gentleman ...

"... with excruciatingly correct manners and impeccable attire." Said of Anthony Hail by his obituary writer in the San Francisco Chronicle, the characterization comes pretty close to describing this interior designed by him for a 24-year old bachelor in 1976.

The client's aspiration for the apartment which overlooked Lafayette Park in Pacific Heights, was "something like the tones of Billy Baldwin's apartment in New York, I suppose. Well, I went to Anthony Hail, here in San Francisco, because I really like neutrals, and I had heard about his excellent use of them."

Certainly, Anthony Hail's use of neutrals is excellent but in this case not a narrow range of beige: yellow for the entry hall; aubergine for the kitchen, breakfast room and bar; camel in the bedroom and living room, light cocoa and white for the upholstery; the pale golden brown of cane; natural wool tones in the Moroccan Berber rug; natural linen. Plants are used as green accents and to connect inside with the view of the park through the windows. The other accent is found in tortoiseshell, red pillows, a lacquered leather chest standing in front of the sofa, and the painting above it.

Anthony Hail said of his design "We wanted to keep the tradition of the building and still have a clean-cut modern living space. There were no budget limitations; everything is of excellent quality. But it is economical. The material is durable; the lacquered nest of tables would fit anywhere, as would the eighteenth-century blanc de chine lamp. And its not dated. If Mr F.... should move, everything could be moved directly into a library, or any other room, for that matter."

His client's reaction - "I wanted a place where I could entertain my friends comfortably. I'm pleased, very pleased. The apartment's everything I wanted it to be."

What is most apparent more than 30 years later is that Mr Hail created a classic masculine aesthetic that looks as current today as it did then.

Photography by Russell MacMasters from Architectural Digest, December 1976.


  1. Anthony Hail was indeed a gentleman of the highest order. I had the great pleasure of meeting him in the early 90s when we were both working on apartments at 1 Sutton Place South. We are both Tennessee natives, but he spent much of his youth in Denmark which influenced his love for Baltic antiques. Later, I had a client whose parents had several homes decorated by Mr Hail and I was able to see those first hand. Coincidently, one residence was an apartment also at 1 Sutton Place South; I think it had been published in "Architectural Digest" as well.

  2. Mr Tackett, thank you for your comment. You have given me a number of directions over the past couple of weeks and I want to say how much I appreciate it. I shall investigate.