Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Honoring the Greats: Albert Hadley

Today I wanted to celebrate the life of one of the most iconic designers of the twentieth century- Albert Hadley.  Hadley passed away in 2012 at the age of 91, but his design work live on and so does his legacy.  He grew up in Tennessee and attended school at Parsons School of Design before fighting in World War II.   When he returned from the war, he went on to train under the prestigious decorator A. Herbert Rogers.  Hadley opened his own firm shortly thereafter, and was met with considerable success.  His client list includes former Vice President Albert Gore, Diane Sawyer, Babe Paley, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the Astor and Getty families.  In 2010, Lonny Mag did a home tour and interview with Albert in his Upper East Side apartment, and of course every detail is perfection:

Known for his kind, down-to-earth personality, Albert is the perfect example of a go-getter who wasn't afraid to follow his dreams.  When he returned from the war, he knew he wanted to be in New York City where all the big designers he followed were based:   

 "When I came back, it wasn't long before I had decided that I intensely wanted to be in New York City—it was where  the design work that I had been following was. In those days, as it still is a bit today, interior design was seen through publications so I knew of every important person working!" Hadley admitted, laughing about the ambitious youngster he had been. "It's still a mystery how I was able to be so outgoing and outspoken amongst such icons of design, but I made it my point to meet them all! I explained that I wasn't looking for a job and that I just simply wanted to meet them. Strangely enough, all without exception were open to meeting me. I started with the top ones of the time like Rose Cummings and Billy Baldwin—you know, the big firms."

Hadley is also well known for his work with Sister Parish.  They began working together in the 50s.  Sister Parish had just finished decorating the private family quarters in the White House for the Kennedy family, including the oval drawing room on the second floor, where the president liked to receive foreign dignitaries, and was looking to go in to work with someone.  She hired him after finishing the White House, and in 1962 he was made partner in her firm, creating Parish-Hadley.

{Albert's bathroom features his own whimsical wallpaper design, "Fireworks", by Hinson & Co.  I believe this paper has been discontinued now, but contact Hinson if interested!}

More of Albert's fab work...

You can read a fun interview The Editor at Large did with Albert a few years back here. I found the article so inspiring and interesting!  One particular quote that stuck with me regarding Albert's design process is this:

"Each project is a very personal thing and has very little to do with trends as far as I'm concerned," Hadley said. "I've never been involved in trends or fashions—maybe what's fashionable but that's never been a priority. I think it's a very serious business and one that takes concentration and dedication to both the physical situation, meaning the architecture, and the people who are personally involved—the owners, the inhabitants."

PS- Today I am over on my girl Lindsay's blog, Sadie + Stella, sharing a few Valentine's gift ideas!  Go check out the post and give Lindsay some love.


  1. Sam, such an amazing man and designer. I never tire of looking at his rooms. Thank you so much for featuring Albert Hadley!!

    The Arts by Karena

  2. Enjoyed this post very much, Sam! Thanks!

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What say you? I'm all ears.

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