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Living with Design

by habituallychic

07 . 10 . 08

I was thinking this past Sunday that I should really try to finish reading all of the great design that I own, especially the vintage ones. So I got a few of them out including the usual suspects, Dorothy Rodgers, Ruhlmann, Mark Hampton and Billy Baldwin, which is what prompted me to post the photo of the Eastman apartment. But it’s always David Hicks Living with Design that I come back to time and time again. I find his use of color and art always inspires me, especially the dark walls and modern paintings. I also love how timeless his designs seem. I think all you would have to do is get rid of some of the dried flowers and replace the outdated technology and you’d be all set. His quotes about interior design are also what draws me to his book. They are some of the best. Enjoy!

“The best rooms have something to say about the people who live in them.”

“Good design is in no way dependent on money. I like to spend the minimum of money and yet gain the maximum effect. Style is not what you do but how you do it.” Amen!

“Function is just as important as aesthetics; but there is no reason why, if a problem is properly considered, function should in any way interrupt aesthetics. Very often the practical aspect of an idea can improve the aesthetic pleasure one gets from it. Function dictates design.”

“Good lighting is subtle lighting; the more sources of light, the subtler the effect. Fluorescent lighting has no place in the home.”

“I am always looking for total simplicity and practicality in modern design.”
“I dislike brightly coloured front doors, they are more stylish painted white, black or other dark colours. I hate wrought iron. I loathe colour used on modern buildings – it should be inside. I do not like conventional standard lamps – I prefer functional floor standing reading lights.”

“A seventeenth-century house may have dark paintwork but rarely a dark ceiling. In general, all ceilings and most paintwork in rooms should be white or of a light colour.”

“I am inclined to begin with a room looking very bare but, being an inveterate collector, I nearly always end up with a good deal of clutter. It is not a question of what you do but how you do it which adds up to style. Even in a hotel room I unpack all the books and sketch pads that I travel with, put them on a table and arrange them, but then I am an arranger by nature.”

“Too little real consideration is given to good detailing.”

Today there are far too many good fabrics, carpets and wallpapers available to the few and not enough good ones available to everyone. Expensive antiqued velvet is hideous yet plain course linen is inexpensive and elegant. I hate satin, particularly when it has designs printed on it.”

“I like rows and rows of tonic water bottles, apple and tomato juice, two of three syphons of spirits lined up behind each other; it gives a generous, welcoming atmosphere, and if a bus-load of friends does descend upon you, you are ready for them.”

“Patterns can give great atmosphere, as can be seen in the paintings of Vuillard and Matisse and earlier Pre-Raphaelite interiors. I love pattern and use it a great deal, especially in carpets.”

“I have always had a passion for what some people consider clashing colours. I call them vibrating colours – for instance, vermilion, shocking pink, puce, salmon pink and blue pink. I like them with aubergine. All reds go together , and I include both pink and orange in the red family.”

“Good taste is something which you can acquire: you can teach it to yourself, but you must be deeply interested. It is in no way dependent upon money.”

“I like to mix modern paintings with antique furniture.”

“An enormous number of ideas come to me whilst I am lying in the bath in the morning or the evening, so I always have something readily at hand with which to write.”

Comments Closed

  1. Paloma July 10, 2008 | 4:18 am

    Two of my favorite things..design and inspiring quotes. Wonderful post!

  2. maison21 July 10, 2008 | 4:49 am

    absolutely, bar none, the best decorator ever, and of course, by far the biggest influence on my own taste.

    thanks for the pics- i think i need to dig up my copy and peruse it again.

  3. Suzy July 10, 2008 | 5:07 am

    Fantastic, I must add that one to my ever growing wishlist!

  4. jojo July 10, 2008 | 11:05 am

    Love this blog and love David Hicks.
    I particularly like his practical and handy hint about grouping rows and rows of bottles in case to welcome unexpected guests.

  5. Virginia July 10, 2008 | 11:37 am

    I have a thing for a “drinks table” and Mr. Hicks’ sets the standard. Love the detail…

  6. That Girl Designs July 10, 2008 | 12:28 pm

    great photos and quotes by one of the best. thanks for sharing.

  7. Ms. Wis. July 10, 2008 | 1:39 pm

    HIcks was an equally adept flower arranger and his tablescapes and desks almost always have a bouquet. You can see his style in a 1979 book, “Flower Arranging,” published by Octopus. The book showcases the work of 6 designers along with lots of tips and how-tos. The six are: Stella Coe, David Hicks, Juliet Glyn Smith, Frances Kemp, Daphne Ramsbottomn and Kenneth Turner. Though credits for each arrangement are given in the back of the book, you don’t need to check them to be able to pick out Hicks’ work. Whether flowers or interiors, his style stands out.

  8. Brett July 10, 2008 | 3:16 pm

    I love everything Hicks did and the images you posted are so inspiring! Perfect pictures to look at to iget the creative juices flowing this morning.

  9. FancyPants-design July 10, 2008 | 6:19 pm

    gorgeous rooms!

  10. david santos July 10, 2008 | 6:37 pm

    Happy day.

  11. inhabitatmag July 10, 2008 | 7:08 pm

    Hicks work is amazing.
    Use of modern artwork with dark walls is so inspiring for me.


  12. inhabitatmag July 10, 2008 | 7:14 pm

    Hicks work is amazing.
    Modern artwork looks spectacular on dark walls.
    So inspiring

  13. so_chic_darling July 12, 2008 | 4:18 pm

    He was so right on then and looks fresh even today as you said. I like what he says about taste having nothing to do with money. Coco Chanel said “Some people think that luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.

  14. pve design July 13, 2008 | 12:50 pm

    Somehow, today’s designers pale by comparison.
    I am so in awe of how they addressed function & chic style. As always, you post the best!

  15. Things That Inspire July 13, 2008 | 4:39 pm

    What a great idea for a post…illustrating these design priciples with pictures.

  16. DCLawyer August 13, 2008 | 2:41 pm

    “Fluorescent lighting has no place in the home”

    Amen – great stuff – thanks for sharing.