More Whitcomb

An astute reader commented about David Whitcomb’s apartment this week. Seems he had a pretty jazzy house upstate as well.

I flipped back through the New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration to see if it was in there.

No. But! There were a few photos of the apartment Whitcomb lived in following this one.

Do I love those black stripes on the moulding against the yellow walls? You know I do.

But I digress. The transition from one space to the next seemed to fit with the post at the beginning of the week about the two Albert Hadley projects.

It’s an interesting shift and I think one that many people who have an affinity for design would envy. Many of us wish we had a way to explore all the facets of design that appeal.

It’s also a fun “I Spy” game to see what moved from one spot to the next and how. These benches, which seem made for the space actually appear in the first living room.

The asymmetrical balance of this room is particularly appealing. (Let’s do just ignore that headboard.) As for the country house, Toby Worthington (another astute reader) knew (of course) where it had been published and the book is on the way.

This is from another Whitcomb project. I couldn’t help but post it. That linear latticework and the shutters are so chic. And the chintz. Terrif.

Whitcomb’s apartments photographed by Daniel Eifert. The sun room was photographed by Robert Perron. All images from New York Book of Interior Design and Decoration.
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12 thoughts on “More Whitcomb

  1. The fabric on the bed popped up in an early issue of Domino on a Louis XV chair. I think I've posted it but can't identify the fabric for sure. Receive questions about it though.

  2. Mrs B-

    WHITCOMB is very deft and elegant and chic–and totally unknown, right? Nationally the name does not resonate. No book, no big deal in H&G?

    Perhaps it is because his work is somewhat like Albert Hadley, and Mr Hadley was a media darling, what with Sister (perhaps a little over-rated in retrospect…Sister, I mean)…and all that.
    Wow, this man knows how to compose a room with such control. His neutral colors–with that perfect ivory–are so beautiful and have not dated. More, more of Whitcomb!

  3. Diane – I'm not finding much, though I'm clicking around a little bit. Wondering if the book deal is significant in who gets remembered and who does not. Classic Style by Judith Miller has pictures of the country house – I promise to post them as soon as it arrives.

  4. Whitcomb's New York City brownstone was published in The New York Times in 1960 and again in 1972. In 1957, he designed a vaguely Asian-style line of furniture for Biggs, which the Times described as "executed in solid Congo Lovea, an African mahogany. Details on the pieces are squared legs, simple lines, occasional use of inlaid wedges of butterfly design, repeated in the pewter pulls". The 1970s interior decorator Michael La Rocca, co-founder with David Easton of Easton La Rocca, used to work for him.

  5. Aesthete – grateful, always, for your knowledge. I should have noted brownstone. I'll hunt some more for the furniture line. Rocca was already associated with Easton by the time of this printing, but the ins and outs of these partnerships are always of interest. Thanks.

  6. LOVE the branch table in between the chintz chairs. Love that Lee Jofa chintz too!

    You, my dear are anything BUT ordinary!

    Whitcomb is not a name that is said with 'reverence' like Hadley or the over-rated Parrish. W did not set any trends, seems not to have had famous clients–but his work is so refined and his color sense so acute.
    I think 'who gets remembered' is who gets the press–and in those days it was who got the ears and captured the eyes of just a few editors and publications with clout–NYT and H&G and perhaps Vogue.It did help to be based in NYC. No doubt.
    W did not get a book (few designers did in that era) and most likely did not design for the Paleys or other Vogue-ettes. His rooms are timeless, with lessons in each inch. I am sure his clients adored him.
    Michael Taylor, superb designer, was in almost every issue and on every cover of H&G at a certain moment, and was best pal of Paige. Key at that time.

  8. i love those old NY TImes decor books, an elderly friend gave me a few along with old Arch Digest books – one day I'll pass all mine down I suppose! Loved the post AND the comments. first rate.

  9. Whitcomb! Yay nearly-unknown decorator!

    Going through books this evening seeking inspiration for a project and there was Whitcomb's brownstone master bedroom in all its brilliance and clarity and wit.

    I thought for sure I must have missed mentions, that he shared sources with Hicks and Baldwin and lunch with Hadley but, besides your excellent and through post, there's next to nothing on-line! Thank the lord for the amazing NY Times Book and you : )

    My theory on Whitcomb's invisibility? Everyone's been poaching his ideas and no one wants to fess up and name their source…

    Here's to the unsung!


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