Rendered Interiors

 "Some people make lists. I sketch. Once I've defined the design concept with a sketch, my imagination is set free to investigate the various possibilities" - Albert Hadley

The designers that choose to communicate their thought process in drawings and paintings have given us an intimate and unique view of their evolving visions. We had so much fun compiling some of our favorite renderings by designers and some of the inspired artists who have illustrated famous rooms by designers. 

The drawings of Albert Hadley show us a clear and confident designer with a seemingly effortless ability to visualize a room. Thanks to the book, "Albert Hadley, Drawings and Design Process" by The New York School of Interior Design, we have a compendium of finished drawings of realized rooms, unrealized rooms, and rough drawings. His finished drawings are artworks, while his rough sketches proved a unique development tool for his creative process, providing an invaluable tool for communicating to his colleagues and clients. 

Above is an drawing of the famous brass and red lacquer library Hadley designed for Brooke Astor. This is the drawing Hadley used to present the idea to Mrs. Astor, complete with an inset drawing of the brass detailing and bevel design. 

A fantasy sketch of a room done while Hadley was a student at Parsons. 

A playful sketch of Albert Hadley's own apartment on 85th Street in New York City.

A very precise proposal drawing for a layout in a New York residence. It's incredible that this is not a drawing of a finished room, it looks so inherently complete!

A drawing Hadley did of a Showhouse he designed with Sister Parish in the former Parke-Bernet Building on Madison Avenue. It is one of Hadley's favorite drawings. The walls were in a white linen, with a bright red sisal rug on the floor, a tie-dyed Louis XVI settee, lacquer cabinets, and light pink taffeta curtains.

Like Hadley's teacher Van Day Truex, it is so clear that there was deep pleasure in looking. Truex spent a lifetime rendering the essence of interiors, architecture, botanicals, and animals in perfect perspectival drawings of fluid ink washes. In his free time and after work he would spend endless hours sketching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In France he would explore humble dwellings for artifacts and architectural details not found in the museums, yet to be discovered. 

Above a watercolor rendering by Truex made in Paris, 1925.

Truex watercolor drawing, Edgewater, Hudson River, estate of Richard Jenrette. 

I simply can't leave Tony Duquette out of my post, even though there are very few drawings and paintings available. His artistry knew no bounds of medium from his "more is more" aesthetic in his interiors, to his jewelry, costuming and set design. What does exist of his drawings show a beautiful range of hand, from the voracious need to design and customize to the beautiful watercolors rendered with a light fluid touch. 

Above is an airy original sketch by Duquette of the staircase of the fabulous Porcelain Pavilion, the small carriage house he owned with Beegle in Neuilly, France. 

I love this extraordinary painting by Jeremiah Goodman of Tony and Beegle Duquette's masterfully conceived and decorated "Dawnridge" residence. This exuberant rendering highlights the 18' ceilings, the turquoise silk draped windows, the coral and emerald banquette and 18th Century Venetian armchairs.

The legendary Jeremiah Goodman made portraits of spaces for some of the most exquisite interiors since the 1940's. With a hand influenced by John Singer Sargent and J.M.W. Turner his paintings have a vibrant atmospheric presence with their loose brush strokes, thoughtful compositions, and rich palettes. Goodman has said, "I have always felt that one's memory of a room is more accurate than a photograph." Below are a selection of some of his famous interior portraits.

Diana Vreeland's "Garden of Hell" Living Room

Elsa Schiaparelli

Rose Cumming's New York City Sitting Room

Henri Samuel's garden room in Montfort-l'Amaury.

Thanks to the celebrated designer Mark Hampton we have a treasure trove of watercolors of some of the most famous decorated rooms. In his book, "Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century," he pays homage to the finest decorators by writing a historical account of their lives through text and paintings. His ruminations and witty tales of the designers lives and influences, make the history of design come alive as if an told by an old friend. Here is a selection of some of our favorites from the book. 

Madeleine Castaings country home in Leves.

Castaing's striped and tented entrance hall.

Mark Hampton writes,"The extraordinary continuity of her taste is something of a marvel. Certainly it represents an unwavering dedication on her part." For more on Madeleine Castaing, please see my previous post The Incomparable Madeleine Castaing about her life and work. 

Geoffrey Bennison's sitting room ripe with art and collected treasures.

Dorothy Draper 

 Renzo Mongiardino, drawing room, Paris

Lee Radizwell's country bedroom in Buckinghampshire decorated by Renzo Mongiardino.

Mita Corsini Bland renders contemporary designers rooms in watercolor and has worked with some of the best designers including Bunny Williams, Miles Redd, Alex Papachristidis, and Mario Buatta. Mita's beautiful paintings precisely map out the play between architecture and furniture with luminous light and color. Her illustrations can be throughly enjoyed in "Sister Parish Design: On Decorating" by Susan Bartlett Crater and Libby Cameron. Below are a selection of some of her works. 

A room by Miles Redd (always love that velvet tiger pillow!)

Sister Parish's living room at 960 Fifth Ave

It is only fitting that we end where we began! Mita Corsini Bland's watercolor of Brooke Astor's library designed by Albert Hadley.


  • What a treat to stumble on this post! Wherever did you find these all. Thank you for the background info, too.

    Posted by Christine G on October 02, 2015
  • I feel the need to thank you for such a wonderful post that celebrates great designers, artists and rooms that are simply magical…

    Posted by Jennifer Dengel on April 14, 2015

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