The Magic of Mario: The Life and Legend of Mario Buatta

This content has restricted access, please type “glampad” below and get access.


  1. This. Is. Brilliant!!!

    Thank you for such useful (even in my IKEA Yurt) information! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I wonder how many current decorators will own up to memorizing every soupçon in this post? I’m not a decorator but already see our house differently!!

    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth! The fact that Glam Pad readers invoke words like “soupçon” is precisely why Miss Patricia and I reached out to Andrea for the series. That and their decided lack of snobbery. #YurtLife

  2. PS I remember that Absolut Buatta ad from the 80s so well because it was particularly amusing. On the backs of most issues of Architectural Digest as I recall!

  3. This blog speaks to me and while I get “it” I find its hard to achieve “it”. It helps me to take pictures of my rooms as though it was a photo shoot. So many rooms I admire are through the lens of another. So when I get the look I want , I then take a picture and can related some how better to it.
    Enjoy all your blogs . Long live the King (of Chintz). Carry on

    • You make an excellent point about the value of images. When Miss Patricia met Mr.Mario, she presented him with a folder of images she had collected from shelter magazines. While I am not a designer or decorator, I would imagine that it is helpful to have these pictures in order to assist in realizing a client’s vision. Not to be confused with being handed a picture and demanding an exact recreation of a room. That has disappointment written all over it!

  4. What a marvelous series. Luzanne deconstructs Mario’s oeuvre in an insightful way. I love her writing style. His interiors are timeless masterpieces, and one hopes that those lucky enough to enjoy them will hang on to them, as many John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster interiors live on to the present – still beautiful and relevant. The only thing that puzzles me is the apple green/yellow references. Pat’s double drawing room is famously apple green and appears so in all photographs I have seen, and on television. It’s not yellow. And no mention is made of Marios’s famous sense of humour and practical jokes. He once did a talk on Blair House for me in Central Park, and after being introduced by the parks commissioner, Mario took the microphone in a fright wig, gold buck teeth, and a heavy Italian accent. He proceeded with the slide show by introducing dog paintings as his “Uncle Guido” and other relatives. Love you, Mario!

    • It’s funny what we all read and take away. My favorite parts of the article were the references to Mario’s humor. Specifically a beloved bug “Harold” and his ability to defrost even the “frostiest doyenne” with his comedic personality. I was born in the late 80s so didn’t know he was mainstream enough to get an Absolut ad. You learn something new everyday. What a fascinating man!

    • Thank you for the kind words! The collaboration has been delightful. I have learned a great deal from Miss Patricia, researching the projects, and from reader feedback. Regarding Mario’s sense of humor, you might have scrolled too quickly and missed it. Mario’s personality is, no doubt, second only to his talent in creating such a loyal clientele. He seems to be the kind of person who brightens the space of every room he enters – both literally and figuratively!

      What my mind conjures when I hear “apple green” is a far cry from the color presented by Benjamin Moore. Alas, I do not expect to effect change as the moniker is well-established. An instagram follower suggested I might be color blind which is a possibility.

  5. I’m surprised by the comment, “The first step in any room is the wall color”. Unless on is using fabulous wallpaper by Gracie, Zoffany or de Gourney, it is often the last decision made. As a designer, I always start with a fabric or a rug – perhaps some art – and go from there. There are thousands of paint colors out there so beginning with things from which there are far fewer choices, makes much more sense. I have Hollyhock in my own living room, and it gave me many, many choices . In the end, I kept the wonderful Nina Campbell “buttah” yellow/cream striped wallpaper that was already there as I loved it. With Hollyhock, one can go in so many different directions.

    • You make an interesting point that I will seek to clarify. Your perspective makes good sense. I ran a query and read solid reasoning for both approaches, although yours was the more dominant. For the life of me, I can’t remember the order my decorator adopted…although order does not weigh as heavily when your walls are painted in Dunn Edwards Swiss Coffee!

  6. I have loved Mr. B’s work since I was 10 years old. He is a genius. Much like Martin Lawrence, he has a unique point of view that he brings to the world of interior design.

    I love studying every nuance of his work. His rooms flow as one cohesive unit; yet, in every corner there is a surprise as the room reveals itself to the occupants. The “surprise” could be an antique cane. a gorgeous piece of trim, or Harold. Mr. B’s designs are mentally stimulating yet calming. His “Buricyclopedia” is my new “bible.”

    Thank you so much for this incredible series. I am enjoying every edition.

    • I could not agree with you more about the surprises. As applies to the images in this article, the pug standing at guard beneath the 18th century antique. When I started researching Mario’s portfolio and learning more about his personality, there was no question that he’s the perfect partner for Miss Patricia. They’re both full of surprises!

  7. One post left in this series but I’m already missing it as I found your wonderful blog through it. I love Luzanne’s insight couched in a fun writing style. I feel like we’re best of friends chatting over martinis with Patricia. And I wonder if the Apple green is a special mix? Seems more of a soft butter yellow to me.

  8. Bravo!! To mister buatta . His interiors are extremely beautiful and charming without being “cutesy” , and they are a great source of inspiration for me . He is truly one of america’s greatest decorators of all time and his wit is legendary too!!!

  9. Thank you so much for included the bed illustration!!! I’m currently reading “Sister Parish Design: On Decorating” collected by Susan Bartlett Crater and Libby Cameron. It references this bed and I have not been able to find any visual reference to it at all!

    • My apologies for the delinquent acknowledgment of your comment. You can’t imagine how happy it makes me to read that I supplied something you’d had on your list. Thank you for reading! “


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


related posts

the latest features

on our bookshelf

trending now

designer profiles

best sellers