Today we’ll show you a New York home where the spirit of decorating of an iconic decorator lives on through its dazzling vintage furniture… We’re talking about Mrs. Henry Parish II—“Sister” to family and friends – owner of the interior decorating firm Sister Parish founded with Albert Hadley, that has placed its indelible stamp on American design.
Parish once wrote, “In good decorating, innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is useful, and what is lasting.” She would have adored the lively genealogical patchwork of the Bedford, New York, house where her likeness now hangs. The residence of her granddaughter Susan Crater, it is also a winter stopover for Susan’s mother (Parish’s daughter), Apple Parish Bartlett, who spends most of her time on an island off Maine where she owns a shop and lives in the clan’s venerable summer place.
Susan and her husband, Douglas, bought their house in 2000. But the couple lived in it for more than a decade before embarking on extensive renovations. To create a home office for Susan, a seasonal studio for her mother, and more space for the couple and their two children, they reconfigured rooms and porches. And to evoke more gracious architectural precedents, the bland 1960s shell was embellished with pilasters, cornices, mantels, and other classical details.
A pioneer in mixing periods and styles, high and low, Parish could discern magnetic personality in a Georgian mahogany desk or a Yankee quilt, a filigree birdcage unearthed at the island dump or a needlepoint leopard sprawled across a doll-size antique sofa. A tribal textile might inspire one Parish-Hadley print, while the next seized its pattern from a vintage pot holder.
The library’s striking cobalt-blue was inspired by walls in Apple’s former Boston home. The 19th-century dog portrait above the mantel, as well as the sconces and Wedgwood medallions that flank it, once belonged to Parish.
A Georgian mahogany secretary handed down from Parish displays family photos and other mementos. The living room’s Parish-Hadley slipper chairs wear a Sister Parish Design canvas.
In the dining room, the walls and chair cushions feature Sister Parish Design fabrics.
The lampshade and pillows in a bedroom are made from fabrics by Sister Parish Design; the quilt came from Parish’s Maine house.
A custom-mixed Benjamin Moore yellow enlivens a bath. The shadow box on the windowsill is by Apple Parish Bartlett, Parish’s daughter and Susan’s mother; the hooked rug came from Parish.
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