Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

10.27.2008

Channeling Billy

Recently a style-savvy magazine challenged me to find furnishings with classic forms and small price tags. Vintage and thrift shopping was not allowed in this challenge because the pieces needed to be readily accessible to all. So, as a jumping off point, I turned to the timeless 1972 book, Billy Baldwin Decorates. Surprised?

It's true that most of Baldwin's clients had large decorating budgets, but I think perhaps he had seen quite a few over-the-top rooms in his day. He preferred understated things and seemed to contemplate what makes good design, regardless of cost.

Here are a few of his tips that I find enduring: 

"The appearance of simplicity and honesty. Rooms suitable for their use and created with an awareness of budget and maintenance cost."

"Cotton everywhere."

"Lots of white."

"Clear clean colors...fresh flowers always."

"The use of small-scale upholstered chairs, easily moved."

Baldwin also gravitated toward Asian accents, natural fiber rugs in soft tones and tailored armless furniture. He said nothing dates a room like an old fashioned lamp.  




BTW: I was flattered to be asked to contribute to this November In Style story since the ultimate deal finder, Grace, a.k.a. design*sponge, was involved too. Be sure and see her page in the magazine.

21 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

That "cotton everywhere" made me re-think my entire philosophy. The book is an inspiration; your picks are, too.

Style Court said...

Well, I hope they are Patricia -- thanks.

Aren't you already sort of a cotton-linen woman? Maybe I'm projecting?

Mrs. Blandings said...

I am, but I have a weakness for silk. I can't help myself.

Designing Spaces said...

There really is nothing quite as appealing as creamy white trim and walls. I particularly like Farrow and Ball's color Pointing. It has the perfect amount of warmth to act as a backdrop for treasures of any kind in any room.

Style Court said...

Thanks for the tip DS :)

sandra/tx said...

Interesting. You're right. There's nothing like timeless design.

Style Court said...

thanks sandra. Glad you stopped by.

Visual Vamp said...

Now you know my secrets, as I have taken many pages from Mr. Baldwin's book, and made good use of them!
Mrs. Draper also has excellent thrifty advice in her recently reissued "Decorating Id Fun!"
xo xo xo

Janet said...

A man after my own heart ~ great post! Just got the November Domino ~ great to see you there!

Style Court said...

Thanks Janet!

katiedid said...

Well spoken words! Thanks Courtney!

katiedid said...

Well spoken words! Thanks Courtney!

The Peak of Chic said...

A great source of inspiration (you and Billy B!). I'd also add that nothing dates a room like old-fashioned lamp shades.

Style Court said...

Amen Jennifer!

Style Court said...

I meant Amen to the lampshades!!

thebubbreport said...

This book ALWAYS inspires me (while Billy Baldwin Remembers makes me laugh - esp. the "thorns in his crown."). Here's another one from BB that should help you with this challenge:

Not everything that makes a room appealing costs a great deal of money. Some things cost a lot of money, some very little, some none at all. These are the details that make the difference between a perfectly nice room and one that is full of life and charm.

For instance: I’ve always believed that architecture is more important than decoration. Scale and proportion give everlasting satisfaction that cannot be achieved by only icing the cake.


Can't wait to see your feature!

Becky

Style Court said...

Becky -- that's the best quote of all. You are spot on! Thanks!

thebubbreport said...

You're welcome! Whenever I'm struggling for a post, I turn to Billy as well! I think he's on my Top 5 People I'd Love to Have to a Dinner Party!

becky

Style Court said...

What a great dinner party.

Couture de Papier said...

Inspiring blog!

Style Court said...

CdP -- thank you!