The 82-year-old American designer was known for his love of bright, glazed floral fabrics and English country style.
On October 15, designer Mario Buatta passed away in Manhattan after more than five decades decorating rooms for the likes of Mariah Carey, Barbara Walters and Malcolm Forbes. After starting his career at a department store in 1959, he went to Europe to study architecture and design, and that’s where he discovered English country houses. Buatta fell in love with the idea of layering fabrics and accessories, and where he began to develop his keen eye for doing so.
Buatta went on to design opulent homes with pricey finishings, antique furniture, and those chintz fabrics that gave him his nickname. By the 80s, he was one of the most in-demand interior designers in the business—he even decorated 50 rooms at Blair House, the official presidential guesthouse. Buatta also had an excellent sense of humour, giving gifts like fart machines and tossing on old toupees in the middle of galas.
When Buatta’s death was announced, thousands of fans took to Instagram to express their grief and remember the timeless rooms he dedicated his career to. Herewith, four Buatta-approved design tips that will never go out of style:
1. Re-envision the gallery wall.
Just about every home has a gallery wall these days, so if you want to elevate yours, take a cue from Buatta. A gallery wall in his home dedicated to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels not only included framed paintings, but also more three-dimensional elements, like bows and mounted statuettes.
2. More is more.
“He was just a mix master at taking two different fabrics and putting them together like nobody else could,” designer Alex Papachristidis said of Buatta to the Washington Post. Do the same and combine different prints, like adding a striped throw pillow to a floral chair. If you’re apprehensive, choose prints in similar colour combinations to keep it cohesive.
3. Or, go match-y.
Although Buatta loved an unexpected pairing, he was also known for continuing a theme throughout an entire room, particularly with his signature floral prints. That means a room full of everything from curtains to pillows to wallpaper to upholstery in the exact same print.
4. Take your time.
When you want to redecorate a room, don’t rush it. Buatta often took years to complete a project, and told Life Today magazine in 1992, “A room or a house has to come together the way a garden grows—a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow, and the rest when the spirit moves you.”