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Bartlett (one of Sisterand#8217;s daughters) and Susan Bartlett Crater (a granddaughter) from Sisterand#8217;s own unpublished memoirs, as well as from hundreds of interviews with family members, friends, staff, world-renowned interior designers (Mark Hampton, Mario Buatta, Keith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
Dorothy May Kinnicutt Parish (“Sister” to her family and friends) was born into a patrician family and grew up at the right schools, yacht clubs, and coming-out parties. Forced to work during the Depression, Parish combined her design ability with social connections to create a still-thriving successful interior decorating firm, Parish-Hadley. Her list of clients reads like an American Whos Who, starting with Rockefellers, Astors, Whitneys, and Paleys. Parishs style, marked by cozy, airy, colorful, but understated elegance, came to be known as “American country,” and its influence continues today. Compiled by Parishs daughter and granddaughter, Sister Parish takes the reader right into the houses—and lives—of some of the most fascinating people of this inimitable womans time.
About the Author
Apple Parish Bartlett
is an artist; her work has been exhibited throughout the United States. The owner of the gift shop Apples on the island of Islesboro, Maine, she divides her time between Boston and Islesboro.
Susan Bartlett Crater is an artist and co-owner of Sister Parish Design (www.sisterparishdesign.com), the company she and Libby Cameron, Mrs. Parishand#8217;s last protand#233;gand#233;, founded in 2000. Created to carry on Sister Parishand#8217;s legacy, the firm offers fabrics and wallpapers from Mrs. Parishand#8217;s and the Parish-Hadley Associatesand#8217; archives, as well as a home collection that incorporates Sister Parish Designand#8217;s fabric patterns and aesthetic into home staples. She lives outside of New York City with her husband and two children.