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Sister Parish Design: On Decoratingby Susan Bartle Crater
Synopses & Reviews
Sisterand#8212;as she was always called by family and friendsand#8212;was born Dorothy May Kinnicutt into a patrician New York family in 1910 and spent her privileged early life at the right schools, yacht clubs, and coming-out parties. Compelled to work during the lean years of the Depression, Sister combined her innate design ability with her upper-echelon social connections to create an extraordinarily successful interior decorating business. The Parish-Hadley firmand#8217;s list of clients reads like an American Whoand#8217;s Who, starting with Astors, Kennedys, Paleys, Rockefellers, and Whitneys. She helped Jacqueline Kennedy transform the White House from a fusty hodge-podge into a historically authentic symbol of American elegance. For her clients, she was an indispensable presence, both in their salons and designing them. Sisterand#8217;s style, marked by cozy, airy, colorful, but understated elegance, came to be known as "American country," and its influence continues to this day.
Compiled by Apple Parish Bartlett (one of Sisterand#8217;s daughters) and Susan Bartlett Crater (a granddaughter) from Sisterand#8217;s own unpublished memoirs, as well as from hundreds of interviews with family members, friends, staff, world-renowned interior designers (Mark Hampton, Mario Buatta, Keith Irvine, Bunny Williams, and her long-time partner Albert Hadley, among many others), and clients (Annette de la Renta, Glenn Bernbaum, Mrs. Thomas Watson, et al.), Sister Parish takes the reader right into the housesand#8212;and the livesand#8212;of some of the most fascinating and famous people of this inimitable womanand#8217;s time.
Long out of print, this acclaimed biographyand#8212;a New York Times Notable Bookand#8212;of the doyenne of American interior design is once again available to acquaint a whole new generation of designers and design lovers with the charismatic woman who redefined interior design in America. Fully updated, the revised edition features a new Foreword by Albert Hadley and an Appreciation by Bunny Williams, who began her career at Parish-Hadley.
A New York Times Notable Book
Praise for Sister Parish:
"Sister Parishand#8217;s reminiscences, along with those of her friends and admirers, bear a remarkable resemblance to what one remembers about her interior decoratingand#8212;warm, personable, cozy, thoughtful, harmonious, satisfying, impeccable. An enchanting compilation."and#8212;George Plimpton
"In my novel People Like Us, I based the character of the famous society decorator Cora Mandell on Sister Parish. Apple Parish Bartlett and Susan Bartlett Crater have presented a loving portrait of her, as well as a superb social history of her era."and#8212;Dominick Dunne
"If you love design, history and a good biography, you are sure to enjoy this book!"and#8212;Annechovie blog
"What makes this biography so enjoyable is that it compiles Sister's own unpublished memoirs with stories from family members, friends, staff, clients and world-renowned interior designers. . . . All generations of decorators and designers will appreciate this look at the life of this American icon." and#8212;From the Right Bank blog
"Compiled from Sister's unpublished memoirs and augmented by many interviews with friends, family, staff and fellow design icons, it is a wonderful insider look at an era and a life." and#8212;Quintessence blog
"This book is a MUST HAVE for any design library of substance or design student." and#8212;Architect Design blog
The legendary interior design firm Parish-Hadley Associates set the standard for American style in the finest homes for more than three decades, from the 1960s through the 1990s. Throughout its colorful history, Parish-Hadley was commissioned by the most prestigious families in the country, from the Kennedys at the White House to the Astors, Rockefellers, and Gettys. Yet the fertile partnership between Parish and Hadley also greatly influenced the taste, style, creative process, and practices of the designers who worked for them. In this volume, 30 of the most renowned designers relate in detail their personal experiences working at the firm, accompanied by images they have chosen of their own work, past and present, illustrating how their designs were shaped by Parish-Hadley.
Comfort is the essential element of a successful interior and the hallmark of the Parish-Hadley style. In Sister Parish Design, Libby Cameron, Sisters last protégé, and Susan B. Crater, Sisters granddaughter, explore this aspect and much more in a series of conversations with the leading decorators of today.
Sister Parish is the iconic American decorator of her generation. Her use of flowered chintzes and overstuffed armchairs combined with unexpected items, like patchwork quilts and painted furniture, is credited with popularizing what is known as American Country-style during the 1960s. Her passion for bold color and mixed patterns invoked charm, imagination, and a lived-in look to her rooms. Her philosophy was to be unafraid and to put things together because you liked them--not because they matched.
Filled with beautifully-rendered watercolor illustrations, Sister Parish Design is more than just a stunning book—it is an inspirational resource that all decorating aficionados will want to add to their bookshelf.
About the Author
SUSAN CRATER is the granddaughter of Sister Parish and co-author of Sister: the Life of Legendary Decorator Mrs. Henry Parish II. LIBBY CAMERON worked for Sister Parish and now runs her own design firm. In 2001 they started SISTER PARISH DESIGN, a fabric and wallpaper company based on designs from the Parish-Hadley archives. Their products are frequently featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest, House & Garden and House Beautiful.
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