Billy Baldwin’s stair hall in 1949: Pink walls, white wood work, black floor paint and striking, graphic rugs in black and white. The banisters final curve, in gloss pink I think – don’t you? plays with the console table’s curves and urns, the abundant floral display brings the pink through the scheme. The dark wood flooring anchoring the scheme visually.
Kelly Wearstler’s entrance hall in LA, 60 years later:
No Change there then! If it works, it works, updated – but the same elements masterfully arranged. A play on black and white, with pink.
In Kelly’s case, there’s a sweeping Louis XVI staircase, set off by its graphic, almost tribal, runner. Firmly 21st century, due to its bold graffiti-style wall decor, in ‘pepto bismal’ – that’s pink right? The equine sculpture pulls the dark gloss floor up into the stair’s curvature. I like how she has left the decorative moulding white: this emphasises the staircase sweep, echoes the runner and frames the graffiti – simultaneously. It’s those final details right? which nail a scheme and add visual complexity to a seeming simple arrangement.
Kelly played with this scheme in a pared back arrangement for a residential project:
Anyway all food for thought, and I am now completely obsessing about Billy Baldwin, Architectural Digest describes him as “the Dean of indigenous decorators…whose name became a byword for exemplary American design”.
Billy Baldwin from ‘Billy Baldwin Remembers’
Kelly Wearstler from ‘Hue’ by Kelly.