Mario Buatta is America’s premier decorator known for English country style. He’s been dubbed the “Prince of Chintz” (and even has the nickname as the title of his Facebook page!) because he’s able to bring a rich, yet busy, opulence to what is typically known as a very traditional style.
He has a career that spans 50 years and includes clients such as Barbara Walters, Mariah Carey, and Billy Joel. To commemorate his 50th year in the business, he released his first book called “Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration” which is an anthology of his career. In an interview with Curbed, he describes his book as a direct reaction to the “monographs” being released by younger designers left and right. “These vanity books—30 to 40 to 50 a year—they’re all from young designers who’ve been around three, maybe four, years. They’re looking for jobs. I’m not looking for jobs.”
Here’s a look at some of Mr. Buatta’s thoughts on decorating to live:
Clutter Isn’t Always Bad
Buatta told Observer that he likes “a place that looks lived in—magazines and books everywhere, pleasing decay, I’m kind of a hoarder. I love to have objects around me.” This comes from a need to rebel against the “fanatically clean”, modern, white home he lived in growing up on Staten Island.
He grew to love decorating to abundance and while some may not be able to pull it off, Buatta is able to fill a space with meaning. Though it may remind some of clutter because it goes against the current impersonal minimalist trend, it creates a unique and meaningful home for his clients.
Dysfunctional Decoration Works
Buatta told Elle Decor that “dysfunctional decoration” is a term for “interiors that don’t relate to people.” He says “Everything is done for styling, and nothing has to do with living— there’s no place to have a conversation or set down a drink. The best time to look at a room is the day after you’ve had a party because you see the way people used the space.”
He encourages people to look at how your furniture and your things work together. Do they create a functional home or just there to make a trendy (and temporary) statement?
Patterns and Colors and Prints – Oh My!
Buatta’s personal mission when decorating a home is to get rid of all things white, beige and bland. To do so he brings in bright colors, bold patterns and prints, and rich materials on the furniture and windows. He’ll even paint the ceiling if it’s right for a space. It all goes together to create vibrancy for his clients. “You have to create a background for them, a stage for them to play out their lives. It should be a place that will flatter them.”
What do you think about Buatta’s maximalist approach to decorating?