Albert Hadley

This is the sketch Albert Hadley did for Mrs. Astor
THE LESSON FROM THIS ROOM Be Direct with your Client—Sometime in the mid-seventies, Albert Hadley was summoned to tea with his longtime friend Brooke Astor, who broke the news that she was planning to hire designer Geoffrey Bennison to revamp the library of her Park Avenue apartment, which had been done by Mrs. Parish. “Sister’s going to be furious with me,” Astor told him. Hadley expressed admiration for Bennison’s sketches, which advocated chintzes. But he recoiled at the plan to keep the room’s ersatz Louis XV paneling, euphemistically known as “Park Avenue French.” “There’s nothing fake in your life except this paneling,” Hadley told Astor. “If I were doing it, I’d make this a twentieth-century room.” Intrigued, she accepted Hadley’s plan to replace the walls with floor-to-ceiling scarlet lacquered bookcases. Ten coats of oxblood-red paint were applied for the right glaze. The result is, indeed, one of the most famous private spaces of the twentieth century.

The finished room. An image of Albert Hadley is super imposed in this picture.

Bottom image from NY Mag Photographer Michael Mundy Top image from Albert Hadley's book


  1. what a great story, patricia. I love the idea of the effort of 10 coats of oxblood-red paint painstakingly applied to the walls. The resulting perfect shade is well worth the effort, however!

  2. Anonymous21/9/07

    That's a interesting story, I love the red bookshelves.

  3. It really is a stunning room. And as I've just ordered my very own copy of that book I'll get to see mor of his genius soon!

  4. Anonymous22/9/07

    What a fabulous story. I learned something new today. Thanks. Your posts are always so inspirational.


  5. Great post, Patricia! It was especially a treat to see his sketch. Thank you!

  6. Hi Franki
    Glazed walls have such a wonderful depth and sheen to them. It is a very meticulous process and unfortuately it is a process that is slowly dying out as it takes skilled crafts people to execute properly.

  7. Hi Robyn
    I love the red bookshelves also. Aren't they the perfect frame for the books.

  8. Hi Suzy
    I know you will really enjoy this book.

  9. Hi Me, Myself & I
    It is a great story. Albert Hadley was a genuis salesperson as well as an excellent designer.

  10. Hi Annechovie
    I thought you might like his sketch. He has many more in his book.


Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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