Markham Roberts "Decorating the Way I see It."

If you only buy one decorating book this year, make it  Markham Roberts' new book "Decorating the Way I See It," published by the good folks at Vendome Press (2014).  Flying below the general public's radar for years, this book brings Markham Roberts' understated but highly admired work into the public eye.

Markham is a decorator's decorator: in a league with his mentor, Mark Hampton. Markham is brilliant at delivering unpretentious and refined interiors in a broad range of styles from traditional to contemporary; yet his projects never look the same.  As Senga Moritimer says in the forward: "there is never a recognizable stamp for which so many decorators become known", except a "distinct refinement that runs through all of his work."  It is as if he absorbs his clients personality and gives their style animation through his designs.  

Markham Roberts in his 
NYC office
Decorating the Way I See It strikes the perfect balance between text and photos; heavy on pictures, with just enough text to leave you wanting to hear more of Markham's terrific insights, humor and charming wit -- I laughed out loud reading about his almost yellow room.   I also learned lots about Markham that I did not know, including the fact that he is a talented photographer whose works hang in a number of his clients' homes (which he modestly mentions only briefly) and that he and his partner, furniture and art dealer James Sansumhave a very chic connected office/gallery space in NYC (33 East 68th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side).

Markham's book starts out illustrating how the designer approaches a project-- he moves seamlessly  from floor plans, color schemes, discussing bespoke furniture  and choosing art.  The second part moves into architecture and finally the book concludes with my personal favorite -- images of his own homes.  The organization of the book makes it easy to digest and he offers lots of helpful pointers on adding the details that finish a room and make it look and function better.  For instance, his use of custom throws illustrates the perfect blend of practicality and luxury.
Markham Roberts is responsible for the understated design and the wonderful photograph (which is his own) hanging above the table in the dining room of a client's Sagaponack house.
Markham Roberts dressing room in his Clinton Corners home -- sophisticated and understated 

One of the things I love about Markham's work is how he mixes fabric patterns/textures and pulls furniture from different periods together in a way that relate well and play off each other.   This mix is perfectly illustrated in his homes that blend some of his favorite objects, inherited and collected over the years by Markham and his partner, James.  

This is Markham Roberts' Clinton Corners home, eclectic, layered in personal history 
and refined in a relaxed and understated way
Markham Roberts demonstrates a wonderful American style of decorating -- casual, inviting and not overly decorated but oozing with worldly good taste.   This book reinforced my  I belief that Markham Roberts is one of the most talented American decorators of our age -- unpretentiously blending different periods and styles for a new generation.  Decorating the Way I See It  is a must for the library of any design aficionado. You can get it here.

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