Class, It’s Friday, Pop Quiz

Trolling through the files of the vintage magazines is easy inspiration. The thing is, not everything is noteworthy, exactly, but some of it is interesting because it is the work of a very prominent designer. Ten years ago. So, today, I’m offering the first of what will be occasional “Name That Designer” quiz.

I will promise a couple of things. 1) I won’t exclude images because they might be an obvious hint, and, 2) I will credit the first person who identifies the designer on line and provide an example of current work.

This story is fun as its colors lend themselves so much to the season. The layout appeared in House and Garden in December of 1987.

The homeowner (and I’m not being coy here, she wasn’t identified) was having trouble describing what she wanted, “As close as I could come, was the kind of a house Myrna Loy and William Powell lived in, in a movie I couldn’t name – not Mr. Blandings.”

And if you are afraid I’m taking offense, I am not, as this is a very ill-informed comment. Loy and Grant were our Mr. and Mrs. Blandings. Loy and William Powell starred in four “Thin Man” movies as charming and witty detectives, whose homes were mostly very modern and sleek. Definitely worth watching. But nothing to do with this style of house.

This image should tip my hand. What do you win? The same thing my 11-year-old son gets when he does well on a test – the satisfaction of a job well-done. Begin.

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26 thoughts on “Class, It’s Friday, Pop Quiz

  1. Is it someone who might have been surprisingly young at the time? So young in fact we would assume he wasn’t being published? Or is it old guard? I know you aren’t providing hints — just thought I’d try 🙂

  2. Oh, maybe it’s someone who once worked for Parish-Hadley but who is still living — if I’m picking up on your clues…

  3. This house is so not The Thin Man – kind of Mark Hampton – Mario Buatta ish… complete guess, as I am not really familiar with his work – Michael Smith?

  4. I have no clue about the designer, but I find the staircase to be very interesting. I do not think I have ever been in a house where the staircase wraps around on top of the front door. I don’t really like that floorplan, although I am sure it opens up the front hall!

  5. (I’m not sure if this went through the first time I tried.)

    Jeffrey Bilhuber? The furniture layout is what reminds me of his work.

  6. That kitchen looks VERY Bunny Williams, but I am going to say that I think it is Mario Buatta, because there is chintz everywhere in the bedroom and living room, and he always asked Sister “what have you done lately that I can copy?”
    My only concern about my choice is some of those rooms look to unadorned to be him.

  7. Ah, those numerous lights should’ve been my clue. But, I’ll confess I know nothing about Diamond and B. Bunny maybe offended that so many of us mentioned her. I took a wild guess maybe she used bolder colors back then 🙂

  8. I’m too late to guess, but I have carried the image of that living room and hall around in a file, as well as my mind, since it was published. I knew who the designed the house immediately. To me this is the perfect family home, warm, colorful and traditional with bookcases, oriental rugs and slipcovers. I still like everything about it.

    I, too, was flumoxed by the references to Myrna Loy & William Powell. But that is why people hire designers; because they don’t really know what they are talking about. I stared at the pictures in the article of the clients horseback riding; wondering who could be lucky enough to live like this! At least Diamond & Baratta “got” what the client wanted.

    My two favourite references in shelter mags are to an “18th century period coffee table” and liberal use of “Bugatti red” in a room. Frequently, even designers don’t know what they are talking about, nor do the editors who print the drivel. It’s all about the pictures!

    The “Diamond Baratta Design” book is available at for $7.95 (published at $55), if anyone else enjoys their steroidian sense of style, as I do. It’s a great book, if you like color, large scale and checks!

    Where was that DB blue living room published? It looks like it channels the famous Billy Baldwin room from that beautiful house in the south of France. Too late for me to go rustling through my bookshelves for the Baldwin book. If you like I can send the picture.

  9. Pamela – a few people have kept that room in their files. Great info on the book, I’m headed there next. The more current piece is from Southern Accents on Color – which is a great book.

    My New Year’s resolution is to learn a little more about Hicks and Baldwin – so your comment is a gentle nudge to start looking for those books as well. You have a great eye -thanks for stopping in.

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