Ever since his Aunt Mary – his very own Auntie Mame – introduced Mario Buatta to the joys of floral fabric in the 1940s, the New York decorator has never wavered in his passion for color and pattern.
Known as “the prince of chintz” for his devotion to that most cluttered of prints, Mr. Buatta built his 50-plus-year career on English country-style interiors that delight in old-fashioned abundance: cabbage rose-covered couches and canopy beds, paintings hung by sashes and bows, chinoiserie, big vases of flowers, brightly colored walls, bibelots and books.
His rooms are vibrant, colorful and specific, a rejection of the tasteful dreariness of gray, white and beige interiors found in so many homes. The aesthetic appeals to both old money and new money that wants to look old—he counts Barbara Walters, Jackie Onassis, Henry Kissinger and Mariah Carey among his clients.
Even when earthy neutrals ruled, Buatta unapologetically wore the crown of the Prince of Chintz. “I always liked being called that,” he admits. His all-star clients wholeheartedly agree with his maximalist approach. “If you don’t like chintz,” Buatta notes, “don’t come to me.”
For a living room, Mr. Buatta gives an amazing advice: yellow walls, a pale-blue ceiling, and white woodwork.
“The floral fabric is coming back. I see color and pattern all around in fashion. How much black can you have?”, says Mr. Buatta.