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The rules of interior by Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin is a recognized master of new York decorators, known for his impeccable style and a penchant for a bright “expressionist” palette. Baldwin’s work has a stunning chic that has nothing to do with vulgarity – an effect that designers are still trying to achieve, inspired by Baldwin’s interiors.

Decorating is about color
Billy Baldwin was born on may 30, 1903, and spent his childhood and youth in Baltimore, Maryland. The first impression that had to do with art, Billy received at the age of ten, accidentally met in a theater box with the artist-Fauvist Henri Matisse. Matisse’s works struck the boy with a lively, emotionally charged palette. Billy accepted it, absorbed it, and later these colors came to life in his own works.

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“At the end of the day, decorating is all about color. Think of bright buds on a dazzling white cotton, a bouquet of live, freshly cut flowers – it’s a riot of colors and emotions.”
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Working for his father, who owned an insurance Agency, Billy did not make much progress, and the mother asked her long-time friend, decorator CJ Benson, to hire her son. Under Benson’s guidance, Baldwin learned the basics of decorator work, learning about decoration and drapery, and being responsible for every scrap of fabric when creating an interior.

In the 1930s, ruby Ross wood, new York’s most sought-after decorator, visited an apartment furnished by Baldwin. She wrote to him, calling him “a ray of light among the dark hulks,” and invited him to come to the city.

Ruby took the young assistant to receptions and parties, recommended him to clients, and encouraged Baldwin’s work to appear in Vogue-level magazines.

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“A garden in hell” for Diana Vreeland, columnist at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue

Baldwin designed apartments for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Greta Garbo, and created designs for William S. Palis ‘ barbershop, Kenneth’s barbershop, and the Round Hill club in Greenwich.

People were willing to pay a lot of money for the” sparkling clarity ” of Baldwin’s works. By the 1960s, the entire American elite wanted to work with him.

Baldwin’s Testaments and inventions: personal, convenient, new
“The worst thing any decorator can do is make the client feel like a guest in their own home»
His taste was eclectic: “I don’t recognize houses in a completely English, completely French, completely Spanish style,” Baldwin said. He defied established “European” trends and relied on an independent American style.

Favorite materials of the master was cotton and denim, he was drawn to the layering of prints and dark wall. Wicker furniture (straw, rattan, and bamboo)became a frequent element of the living room interior.

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Getting started, the decorator tried to include a part of the client’s furniture in the new interior composition to make the situation more individual.

Baldwin preferred to decorate the walls of dining rooms and living rooms with works by contemporary artists, rather than reproductions or Antiques. Planning the situation, the master created his own works. Iconic items include a tubular brass shelving inspired by the Directory, a “slipper chair” without armrests, and cross-legged banquettes (“X-benches”).

The interior of “the Baldwin”: the simple rules
Quality first

“If you spend most of your money on a Chippendale table or a Chinese lacquered screen, don’t fill in the gaps with mediocrity. Dress the furniture in covers of the same beautiful color. Later, you can buy other good things that match the color and quality of the existing ones. Let the room reach perfection gradually.”
Use covers for furniture

“A room will never be comfortable if we see too many naked chair legs everywhere»
Don’t forget about books

“The most beautiful room in the world is a room full of books…»
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Brass shelving and “slipper chair” in the interior of Billy Baldwin’s one-room apartment in Manhattan

Use recognizable elements

Use Billy Baldwin’s original finds in the interior: brass shelving, rattan chairs, expressionist prints, x-banquettes, walls painted with chocolate glossy paint.

“The slipper chair is equally comfortable for both a petite lady and a football midfielder»
Personalize your space

Consider your personal preferences: favorite things add personality to the interior.

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