Remembering Decorating Legend Mario Buatta

A look back at the prince of chintz's iconic designs.

Patrick McMullan Archives
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Mario Buatta, the design legend who loved tulips (preferably black and white ones, but never mixed), favored a monkey cuckoo clock for an alarm, and was known as the "Prince of Chintz," has passed away due to complications of pneumonia at the age of 82.

Even if you didn't grow up with Buatta's designs, there are many things you can glean from his personal style just by seeing them. He was extra before "extra" was a thing. Buatta was known for his use of chintz—printed cotton fabric with a glazed finish—and for his "exuberant" use of pillows, tassels, and bows, The New York Times wrote. It's no understatement—his curtains were so elaborate that a set might cost $12,000 in today's money, the newspaper added.

"He was just a mix master at taking two different fabrics and putting them together like nobody else could. You think of these in­cred­ibly beautiful florals and how cheery and happy they look," New York designer Alex Papachristidis told The Washington Post. "What he did looked collected, but it was actually just decorated."

Designers, friends, and fans have d tributes to Buatta and their memories of him, like Southern Charm's Patricia Altschul, who wrote, "We were the closest of friends for over 30 years....I miss you already," in a touching Instagram post.

"In the context of American politics and design, the nomenclature for our current era is yet to be coined. But stylistically, a substantial swath of it pertaining to interior design and decoration may be described as 'Buatta.' Such is the influence of decorator Mario Buatta in the decorative narrative of America over the last four decades," textile designer Christopher Hyland d on Instagram. "Mario Buatta is the standard-bearer of a design sensibility both ancient, certainly in American terms, and eminently compelling as a continuing component of design history."

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Buatta Reigns! Design periods, like those in politics, are often designated by a name garnered from the principal players of a given era. Politically, Napoleon’s era became the Napoleonic; stylistically, the Empire; the age of Washington, Federal; and the age of George, Prince of Wales, the Regency. In the context of American politics and design, the nomenclature for our current era is yet to be coined. But stylistically, a substantial swathe of it pertaining to interior design and decoration may be described as “Buatta”. Such is the influence of decorator Mario Buatta in the decorative narrative of America over the last four decades, that he is afforded by the design community the only title of nobility that this writer has been able to uncover during the last several hundred years of decoration history, “the Prince of chintz.”….. Mario Buatta is the standard-bearer of a design sensibility both ancient, certainly in American terms, and eminently compelling as a continuing component of design history.– CH Excerpt from “Mario Buatta Reigns” Issue 16, “Constant and Refreshing”, Hyland Magazine. Photo courtesy of Rizzoli. #mariobuatta #princeofchintz #rizzoli #chintz #classicalinteriordecoration #floralchintz #interiordecoration #elegant #americaninteriordecoration #masterbedroom #yellow #christopherhyland #christopherhylandinc #architect #designer #interiordesigner #decorator #interiordecorator #theoworldofinteriors #hyland #icaa #nysid

A post d by Christopher Hyland Inc. (@christopherhylandinc) on

Among Buatta's roster of clients were famous names like Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, and Malcolm Forbes, and over the years, his work was featured several times in Natipernavigare, highlighting his romantic approach to decor. Today, we honor his legacy with a few of his most memorable designs, which evoke his sense of fearlessness—and playfulness.

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Farewell to Mario Buatta, the Prince of Chintz. “I decorate a room as if I were a painter, painting a little bit of the canvas at a time. A room is never finished, a house is never finished. A house is like a garden. It continues to grow throughout your lifetime.” 📸 @archdigest . . #mariobuatta #princeofchintz #rip #chintz #legendary #oneofakind #greatdecorator #youwillbemissed #mariobuattadesign #stacydavisrealtor #ansleyatlanta #atlantarealestate #atlanta #atl #buckhead #realestate #atlantarealty #atlantahomes #ansleyworks #homesweethome #wallcovering #legend

A post d by Stacy Davis (@stacydavis_realtor) on

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The unmistakable elegance of Mario Buatta, rendered in this sunny living room.

A post d by AFK Furniture (@afk_furniture) on

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One of our absolute favorite designers has passed! #mariobuatta was such an inspiration for us as pickers ... along the way we’ve picked so many of the curated items we have coveted from his designs .... our love for #scalamandre #letigre and all things #Chinoiserie started with him .... take a moment to let him to continue to inspire you and your home! #moreIsMORE ❤️ #love #instagood #photooftheday #fashion #beautiful #happy #cute #like4like #tbt #followme #picoftheday #follow #me #art #selfie #summer #instadaily #repost #friends #nature

A post d by Janna McClure (@gentry_wild) on

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Я верю, что красивые вещи можно создавать только с прекрасной душой. ⠀ I believe that beautiful things can be created only with a beautiful soul. #MarioBuatta ⠀ #Hewas82 #TimelessInteriors #tastemaker #PrinceofChintz #SignatureStyle #Buattapedia #designer #interiorsDesign

A post d by Дизайн Интерьера (@natalia_schetinina) on

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