Thursday, June 11, 2015

Parish-Hadley Tree of Life

is a new book to be published October, 2015.
There is a new book in the works, PARISH-HADLEY TREE OF LIFE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY OF THE LEGENDARY DESIGN FIRM, being developed by Brian J. McCarthy and Bunny Williams that will focus not only on the firm, but will also feature thirty-one of the former employees who have gone on to successful careers on their own.  Because of the unique learning environment created by Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, the "graduates" of Parish-Hadley are known in the design profession as "alumnae" with their experience compared to an advance degree in design.  Each of the 31 alumni interviewed have a chapter in the book giving a personal reflection of the firm with illustrations of their work past and present.

The Parish-Hadley story is an very unique one; no other interior design firm - ever- has produced so many designers who left to establish their own studio.  Brian had the idea for the book about eight years ago.  He developed an outline and discussed it with Mr. Hadley (who passed in 2012 following Mrs. Parish's death in 1994) who was very excited about the project.  But Brian's own book, LUMINOUS INTERIORS: THE HOUSES OF BRIAN McCARTHY, came first.  When Brian told Bunny about his idea when they were both at the Nashville Garden & Antiques Show, she was very enthusiastic and promised her full support.  The next week, Bunny was in a meeting at Abrams and happened to mention the idea; the publishers jumped on it, giving the book an immediate green light for Stewart, Tabori and Chang, using the same book agent Jill Cohen, art director Doug Turshen and creative team that both Bunny and Brian had used before on their own books. In addition to the very readable text, the book also promises to be visually interesting.  Advances in digital imagery will avoid the muddy results of historic black & white photos that have plagued design books in the past.  Plus there are many new color never-before-published images.

The image used for the book jacket (and that may change) is one of my favorites of the Parish-Hadley projects, the Living Room of Nancy Pyne in Peapack, New Jersey.  Both partners had a hand in the design and the result is quintessential Parish-Hadley -- comfortable yet refined and with an architectural sensibility in the furnishings without being too rigid.

The title of the book expresses Albert Hadley's appreciation of the traditional motif, the Tree of Life.  The mythology of the sacred tree dates back to a number of ancient civilizations including the cultures of pre-Islamic Persia and ancient Egypt as well as other Asian, European, and Native American beliefs.  The motif gained wide-spread exposure as a popular design on 17th century printed cotton bedcoverings from India, the palampores which often featured a Tree of Life as a central figure.  The Tree of Life motif was also developed in Persia and China in the 18th century with adaptations for the European market where various goods were marketed.  Crewel embroidery was also used to represent the motif in England, often a natural color wool yarn on a colored background;  a wallpaper representation of this was an Albert Hadley favorite.

And not insignificantly, there will be a short chapter on John J. Tackett that Devoted Readers will not want to miss.  Plans are for an October 13, 2015, release with Hearst Publications -- Elle Décor, Veranda, and House Beautiful -- hosting a gala launch on that date.  So there will be plenty more about the book in the magazines in the coming months.  But for those who cannot wait to see the book on store shelves, pre-ordering at a discount price is available here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Another Storey

John Tackett Design.
A Proposed Addition and Improvements
to a New House Under Construction.
Image: The Devoted Classicist blog
A colleague has interior design clients building a very large house custom designed by a local architect.  In addition to a substantial main block, there are extensions in both directions with almost endless passages to room after room on the Ground Floor.  So it was a surprise to be contacted about a possible expansion while the house was just starting construction.

There was interest in having parents occupy the planned Master Suite on the Ground Floor, requiring the homeowners to relocate to the Second Floor and push the guest rooms to a new Third Floor.  The interior designer wisely advised against expansion of the Ground Floor, already a maze many time larger than the main block.  The program for John Tackett Design was to suggest an upward expansion of the main block without increasing the overall roof height, and propose some detailing to give more architectural interest.  The foundation was complete and framing underway but the structural engineer gave approval for the proposed added storey.  My quick sketch over a reduced-size print of the original construction drawing is shown.

A very deep porch is replaced with an entrance terrace (already in place) with a rusticated limestone first floor giving a visual base for applied limestone pilasters and a limestone pediment.  Instead of the over-sized brown brick with white mortar originally planned, I suggested a traditional-sized brick in a buff ochre color with matching mortar to compliment the proposed buff Minnesota limestone.  The windows were already on order, but I did suggest changing the Upstairs Center Hall window over the front door, and the window of the two-story Secondary Stair Hall seen on the front of the house.  Also, my design changes the front door to a narrow pair and alters the sidelights, transom and limestone surround.

The interior designer who had apparently expressed concerns throughout the original design process was thrilled with my proposal.  And the homeowners were ecstatic.  But the parents, who were not part of the discussion, balked at the thought of moving in with their adult offspring.  "Never!" was their reported comment.  So this has been one last view before going into the Unbuilt category in the files.