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Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design Hardcover – November, 1995
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From Library Journal
The unschooled, instinctive, and established interior designer Sister Parish was looking for assistance with her design firm when she hired Parsons School of Design-trained Albert Hadley. That began the Parish-Hadley style, combining Parish's "cabbage rose and Aubusson" with Hadley's "modern, pared-down approach." Comprised of personal reminiscences from the principals and a history of the firm, this well-illustrated work presents an overview of their work together as well as Parish's alone, most publicly her redecoration of the White House for the Kennedys, and shows the timelessness and continuity of their design style that is the trademark of their association. With so few books documenting individual interior designers and their work, interior design schools and large collections will find this a valuable work.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Unlike architecture, in which such practitioners as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe are recognized by many people outside the field, the rarefied world of interior design has few popularly recognized icons. But the late Sister Parish and her partner Albert Hadley certainly fell into that category. Their impact both inside and outside the profession of decorating has been subtly powerful; their use of glazed chintzes, bright colors, handcrafts from patchwork quilts to rag rugs, comfortable upholstery, and other touches has influenced many of the country and casual trends today. Chronicled here are the lives and experiences of the two principals and their design philosophy. More important, though, are the approximately 150 color photographs, examples of their work and testimonials to their style. A special chapter documents Sister's 1961 work done on the Kennedy White House. Barbara Jacobs
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Top customer reviews
Although no photographs were done expressley for the book, the projects that did have a shot or two are interesting studies. After the first section on Parish and Hadley, the second part shows examples of rooms in the categories of Arrivals, Living Rooms, Dining Rooms, Libraries, Bedrooms, and Garden Rooms. The third part tells the story of the decoration of the family rooms of the Kennedy White House, complete with documentary photos. And the fourth part shows multiple homes of various clients, most famous, all rich.
In the sixty years, undoubtedly there were many incredible projects that were not photographed for reasons of privacy and it is a shame for the readers and for the sake of a record that not even a mention is made of these. Evidently either Parish or Hadley at least supervised the projects pictured here. However, the strong back-up of talented assistant decorators, such as Bunny Williams, Kevin McNamara, David Easton, Brian McCarthy and David Kleinberg, who later went on to successful careers on their own, are only minimally mentioned if at all. And nothing is mentioned of the in-staff architects, Michael Shell, David McMahon, Paul Engel, John Tackett and Mark Ferguson among others, under the direction of vice-president Harold Simmons, who provided the magnificent "bones" of so many of the projects in the zenith years of the firm; all left before the downfall to start successful practices of their own. A listing of projects with their locations and dates would have been interesting, as would have been a write-up on the talent that trained at the firm. And strangely, there are none of the famous Albert Hadley sketches or renderings of any kind.
Although flawed and much less than it could have/should have been, this book is none-the-less an excellent reference for all interested in traditional residential design. Without a doubt, a MUST HAVE for all decorating libraries.
The result of this union of opposites was a partnership made in decorating heaven. In fact, the "marriage" produced wonderful offspring: Marriette Himes Gomez and Mark Hampton both got their start here.
If you'd like to see how many of the top American names of the 20th century lived, Jackie, Nelson Rockefeller, Babe Paley, it's all here. And if you'd like in depth exposure to the design principles of two American masters, you couldn't ask for a better source.
What a shame this out of print book costs $250. If it were $50 I'd buy it in a one-click minute. Attention book publishers, you need to reissue this book for the design-starving masses.