“A ROOM WITHOUT RED…

is like a lady without lipstick,” said the inimitable Diana Vreeland. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am sharing my favorite red rooms by legendary designers, artists and trendsetters…

Photo by Horst P. Horst
Interior Design by Billy Baldwin

Ms. Vreeland is worthy of a blog solely dedicated to her larger than life personality and style.  She worked as the fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar from 1937-1962. She left to become editor in chief at Vogue for the next decade. She gave all of her models, editors, photographers and stylists total creative freedom.  After leaving Vogue, she worked at the Metroplitan Museum of Art as a special consultant to the Costume Institute. She organized several blockbuster shows including the Ballet Russes, the World of Balenciaga and Romantic and Glamourous Hollywood Design. When she lost her vision in the 1980s, she said it was because she had looked at so many beautiful things.

Ms. Vreeland used her surroundings to reflect her dynamic personality and was always drawn to red.  She worked in a lacquered red office, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day followed by a shot of scotch. She only liked red flowers, used red ink for her notes, and preferred to be dressed in red from head to toe. She asked Billy Baldwin to design a room for her that looked like a garden, but a “Garden in Hell” which is illustrated in the image above.

The Red Room at the White House
Interior Design by Stephane Boudin of Maison Jansen
The Kennedy Archives

The Red Room at the White House was the favorite stateroom of Jackie Kennedy. The color red has always been associated with power, excitement and celebration. It grabs your attention and gets people to take action. It is the Chinese color of luck and prospertity and the offical marriage color in India.

Interior Design by David Hicks

Using red in an interior space can be tricky.  Red makes a statement and is typically used in rooms for entertaining or in small rooms to make an impact.  In the examples shown here, most of the designers (except for David Hicks and Billy Baldwin) have offset the use of red by adding, white, black, cream and blue to create a graphic punch.

Interior Design by Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton worked for Billy Baldwin before venturing out on his own.  His daughter Alexa says her father used their apartment as a design laboratory to try out new ideas such as the red lacquered walls with the white contemporary sculpture above the fireplace.

Mrs. Astor’s Library
Interior Design by Albert Hadley
Interior Design by Miles Redd
Influenced by Mrs. Astor’s Library
Photography by Francisco Lagrisse

The library of Brooke Astor by Albery Hadley has always been a personal favorite.  Mr. Hadley’s use of brass inlay to define the bookcases and add detail to the walls was pure brilliance.  I love how Miles Redd reinterpreted this idea for a modern day library seen above.

Interior Design by Mary McDonald
Photo Courtesy of the Kips Bay Showhouse

For the Kips’ Bay Showhouse, Mary McDonald took a narrow, obscure hallway and added her glamourous touch with a red backdrop, ebony accents and wonderful contemporary art.

Interior Design by Ruthie Sommers

Town and Country

Ruthie Sommers created this cozy interior for cocktails, reading and entertaining.  Imagine how it looks by candlelight!

Interior Design by Miles Redd
Elle Decor

Miles works his magic once again with the charming window treatments playing off the red walls.  The room is sophisticated, yet playful at the same time.

Interior Design by Mary McDonald
House Beautiful
Interior Design by Mary McDonald
House Beautiful

Both of the images above illustrate how Mary McDonald used red as a backdrop and then punctuated the spaces with black accents. If committing to red walls sounds overwhelming, consider using red in small doses which still has a big impact.  A red door, pair of red pillows or lamps, or even painting the back of your bookcases red can add a livley finishing touch to any room….just take Dianne’s advice!

One Comment

  1. Laura Casey Interiors February 23, 2012

    I love your red kick! I can’t get enough of Alessandra Branca and Miles Redd. David Hicks called it all!

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