On Friday the world learned that iconic Interior Designer Albert Hadley passed away at the age of 91. His name is as synonymous with the industry as “chair” or “window covering”, and his iconic status as America’s preeminent decorator is no accident. He was one of my Interior Design idols, and his presence and example will be sorely missed. When I decided to become an Interior Designer, I could not think of a better person to try to emulate than Mr. Hadley.
By all accounts, Mr. Hadley’s career, was not so much envied and coveted, but admired and aspired to. He did more for the Design industry as an ambassador than could ever be imagined.
I learned much about him when I bought the Rizzoli book about his life that is in his own words, with commentary by Adam Lewis. His career is nearly mythic in who it cross-references along his journey. When moving to New York he sought out mentors in design legends like Rose Cumming, Billy Baldwin, Van Day Truex and of course he is best known for his collaboration with Sister Parish at their eponymous firm Parish Hadley.
Although I never met Mr. Hadley, I have admired him and his work since before I became a designer. In the Rizzoli book he is quoted as saying:
“ Decorating is not about making stage sets, it’s not about making pretty pictures for magazines; it’s really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul. Design is coming to grips with one’s real lifestyle, one’s real place in the world. Rooms should not be put together for show, but to nourish one’s well being.”
Thank you Mr. Hadley for showing us how it’s done.
David J. Hansen
*All photos are from House Beautiful and were photographed by Fernando Bengoechea.