Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jeffrey Bilhuber: Reflections on American Beauty

An enormous ceramic vase centers the Living Room
of the townhouse of the Laird family
as furnished by Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Image by William Abranowicz for
The Way Home:  Reflections on American Beauty
published by Rizzoli.
Mid-Southerners are in for a real treat on Friday, November 9, 2012, when Jeffrey Bilhuber, one of today's most in-demand interior designers, comes to speak at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for a special event sponsored by Decorative Arts Trust.  Mr. Bilhuber's list of clients ranges from design legends Hubert de Givenchy and Elsa Peretti to celebrities Iman & David Bowie to media mogul Robert Pittman and wife Veronique to cultural icon Ashton Hawkins of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, also a client, sums it up best, "Jeffrey is great at taking one's taste and making it better".
A detail of the entrance of the Entrance Hall
of the Laird townhouse as furnished by Jeffrey Bilhuber.
The image by William Abranowicz is from Bilhuber's latest book
The Way Home:  Reflections on American Beauty
published by Rizzoli.
While Bilhuber's portfolio is full of one glamous room more fabulous than the last, his latest book THE WAY HOME: REFLECTIONS ON AMERICAN BEAUTY focuses on very livable residences, often home to children, that are furnished to suit the way families live today.  While it would be difficult to choose a favorite from the dozen residences featured in this book, one stand-out for The Devoted Classicist is the very first presented, the Upper East Side Manhattan townhouse of advertising superstar Trey Laird and his family.  (And it is merely a coincidence that Trey's lovely and most gracious mother was a client of John Tackett Design).  Although this project was also featured in Architectural Digest magazine, it was beautifully re-photographed for this book by renown photographer William Abranowicz, as evidenced in these images.
More will follow in the weeks leading up to this event, but the tickets have just gone on sale for the special two-part presentation in Memphis and more than half of the seats are already sold.  So I did not want to delay any further in announcing it here.  Ticket information, and advance purchase is recommended as it is sure to be a sell-out, may be found on the website of Decorative Arts Trust here.  (Unfortunately it is flash-driven site and cannot be viewed on many mobile devices).

Jeffrey Bilhuber
Image:  Bilhuber & Associates
I look forward to seeing many Devoted Readers on Friday morning, November 9, 2012, at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.


  1. Replies
    1. Columnist, I know you would enjoy it. Perhaps another time.

  2. Dear John,

    Great post! We have always admired Jeffrey's work, and often use his books for inspiration on our projects.

    Dean Farris

    1. Dean, although Jeffrey has a distinctive style, he does indeed have a range that can be a source of inspiration.

  3. Seriously; this is the sort of thing that makes me long for the greatest luxury!

    A private plane! I could hear the lecture in Memphis; and on and on!

    I went to a lecture in Los Angeles last week; (from Santa Barbara) 3 hours in traffic..(usually around one) and not even a private plane would have helped me! Not even a helicopter!

    I hope someone is taping these lectures and posting them! It is a poor substitute......but it is better than nothing!

    I have almost as many "sticky tabs" in Jeffrey Bilhuber's books; as I have in Keith Irvine's! I also write in these books I love! stars and exclamation points!

    I went to Keith Irvine's book signing a few years ago.....and stood in line...and as I put this "complete mess" of a book down in front of him......I thought (Yikes! 50 plastic tags; all kinds of writing on almost every page..stars, explanation points!!!.......eeeeek!) but it was too late!

    He looked at the book. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. He said......."You have gotten so much out of it!"

    I "got it" and so did he! I could read it in his eyes! He was delighted that I had written all that stuff....and been so inspired by all of his details!

    And, I (choked up); I said.....I have been doing this for damn near 40 years......and yours is my favorite book! I always read it with a magnifying glass!"

    I later thought about what a real compliment it was for him!

    It was his first and only book! I am so happy I went to that book-signing!

    Boo hoo! He has "gone up"! How lucky we were to have him.......and lucky to still have the great "Chippy"! His illustrious wife who has written many books!
    Writing a book is not easy!
    It is a huge public service; helping regular people make beauty around them......and I admire so much these talented people sharing their knowledge with everyone.

    Thank you all!

    Jeffrey Bilhuber is coming along filling some very big shoes!

    1. Penelope, thank you for your comment. I am glad to hear of your experience and am always suspicious of designers who decidedly avoid design lectures and book-signings. Certainly, business obligations prevent us from doing all the things we'd like, but certainly there are all sorts of things to be learned from peers (even if it is what NOT to do)! We are fortunate indeed to have Jeffrey Bilhuber come talk, certainly one of today's most dynamic interior design speakers.


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