Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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The brilliant interior designer Albert Hadley died on March 29 in Nashville at the age of 91. His New York firm—Parish-Hadley, in which he was a partner for 33 years with Sister Parish—created interiors for the rich and powerful. Numbered among them were names such as Astor, Paley, Rockefeller, Getty, and Mellon. But above all Hadley was a teacher, trained at Parsons School of Design and well-schooled in history, he had a precise understanding of how houses should work, from the architect’s first drawing to the last decorative touch. But, to me, Hadley’s great contribution was his assessment of what interior design is all about:  “Glamour is part of it. But glamour is not the essence. Design is about discipline and reality, not about fantasy beyond reality.”

Below are photos courtesy of House Beautiful of a Colonial house Hadley decorated in suburban New Jersey.

Hadley used an off-white for the clapboard and shutters of the 1820′s house.

Asian wood figures cluster around a bronze censer in the center hall of the house. A collection of new and antique canes fills the polished old barrel.

Club chairs in the living room are slip-covered in white cotton; a Louis XVI fauteuil, one of two French chairs in the room of English and American antiques, is reupholstered in a small check (see next shot).

Hadley loved the 40-year-old print on the back of the chair, so he retained it when he refreshed the seat and front of the chair–a common practice in 18th century France.

An American eagle weathervane hovers over the screened porch where the owner likes to dine.

A decorative Irish server is the setting for a small collection of antique globes and shoes; a French sunburst clock is above.

The bed in the ruby red jewelry room is totally covered in the owner’s collection of Guatemalan textiles. The trompe l’oeil canopy is by Carmen Almon.

Even the lamp is bejeweled in the jewelry room.

An antique chair is shrouded in silk embroidered shawls.

The three-bay carriage house is dressed up with window boxes.

Enliven that glass top table: plant moss on the top, water often, and keep it in the shade (might not work in Texas…)

Four Chippendale chairs surround the antique mahogany pedestal table in the dining room/library, which still has the original board and batten walls.

An English Regency bench (with original paint) sits at the foot of the antique American bed that was made to fold up (webbing, canopy, side rails, and all) for moving.




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