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William Billy Haines

American, 1900-1973

Plenty of prolific designers started off on slightly different tracks than those on which they ended up, but rarely did they begin their careers in a totally separate industry like William “Billy” Haines did. Before he gained a reputation as a furniture designer and decorator to Hollywood’s biggest and brightest, Haines was himself a star of the silver screen.

After leaving his native Virginia as a young man, Haines earned modeling and acting jobs in New York City and then won a Goldwyn Studios talent contest in the early 1920s. The next frontier was California, where he would go on to appear in more than 50 films. His acting career was halted abruptly in 1933, allegedly because he refused to leave his partner, British footballer Jimmy Shields, at the request of his representation at MGM Studios. Whether it was the fact that Haines was one half of Hollywood’s first openly gay marriage or that there were other factors at play, MGM cofounder Louis B. Mayer canceled his contract.

Luckily for Haines, he had nurtured a side career that kept him on Hollywood’s radar: He was a prominent antiques dealer on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. Haines dedicated himself full-time to both dealing and designing furniture as soon as his tenure as a leading man came to an end.

Haines collaborated with the era’s biggest names in architecture and created a desert living room for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco that featured walls made of California Joshua wood and a painting by Georgia O’ Keeffe. He paid close attention to lighting design, employed hand-painted wallpaper and favored featuring Chinese ceramics alongside Chippendale chairs and ottomans for entertaining. His most famous clients included Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Betsy Bloomingdale and more. Crawford played a significant role in kick-starting his career when she commissioned Haines to decorate her entire home in Brentwood.

Haines was such an esteemed tastemaker that he’s among those credited with having cemented Hollywood Regency as a reputable design style. (Its origins are owed to influential interior decorator Dorothy Draper.) While he gravitated toward the look of chinoiserie and English furniture, his signature was low-level seating and giltwood accents. Haines’s interior design style was so in vogue that Nancy Reagan became one of his biggest fans and eventually enlisted Ted Graber, Haines’s successor following his death in 1973, to decorate several private and public rooms in the White House.

Find a collection of vintage William Haines lounge chairs, lighting fixtures and other furniture on 1stDibs.

William Billy Haines Brass Klismos Leg Desk Table in Walnut and Cane circa 1950s
By William Billy Haines
Located in Troy, MI
Remarkable and rare saber leg desk table by Hollywood legend William Billy Haines circa 1950s Walnut and brass construction with single drawer and cane front cabinet supported by Ha...
Category

1950s American Hollywood Regency Vintage William Billy Haines

Materials

Brass

William Billy Haines 122" Biscuit Tufted Ledge Back Sofa in Velvet Upholstery
By William Billy Haines
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A wonderful 122" long Biscuit Tufted, ledge back sofa by Iconic Mid Century designer, William "Billy" Haines. The upholstery is in a high grade velvet and is a very comfortable is...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern William Billy Haines

Materials

Wrought Iron

Pair of Vintage Sleek Tufted Leather Klismos Chairs Designed by William Haines
By William Billy Haines
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pair of Vintage Sleek Tufted Leather Klismos Chairs Designed by William Haines, circa: 1950s. Solid Brass and Brass Patina Frames that aged well, these Sleek Comfortable Chairs Styli...
Category

1950s American Hollywood Regency Vintage William Billy Haines

Materials

Brass

William “Billy” Haines Brass Campaign Tufted Leather Dining Chairs MCM
By William Billy Haines
Located in Atlanta, GA
William "Billy" Haines (American, 1900-1973), circa 1950. A pair of Iconic Hollywood Regency, conceived by the father of Hollywood Regency glamour—William “Billy” Haines. The fram...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Hollywood Regency William Billy Haines

Materials

Brass

A Pair of Wooden Columns, William Haines
By William Billy Haines
Located in Palm Desert, CA
This collection presents a rare opportunity to own a piece of Los Angeles design history. The house, originally designed by Paul Williams in 1933 was given the Haines touch when his...
Category

1950s American Greco Roman Vintage William Billy Haines

Materials

Wood

William Billy Haines Carved Horse Lamps
By William Billy Haines
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Pair of highly carved table lamps by William Billy Haines. Each horse head is sculpted with hand carved hair and single bulb. Please confirm location NY or NJ
Category

20th Century William Billy Haines

Materials

Wood

William Billy Haines Carved Horse Lamps
William Billy Haines Carved Horse Lamps
H 21.5 in W 5 in D 10.5 in
"Gemütlich" Leather Clad Table and 4 Bergundy Brentwood Chairs by William Haines
By William Billy Haines
Located in Palm Desert, CA
This collection presents a rare opportunity to own a piece of Los Angeles design history. The house, originally designed by Paul Williams in 1933 was given the Haines touch when his...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage William Billy Haines

Materials

Leather, Fabric, Wood

A Pair of Neoclassical Style Consoles with Ocher Travertine Tops by Billy Haines
By William Billy Haines
Located in Palm Desert, CA
This collection presents a rare opportunity to own a piece of Los Angeles design history. The house, originally designed by Paul Williams in 1933 was given the Haines touch when his...
Category

1960s American Neoclassical Vintage William Billy Haines

Materials

Travertine

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William Billy Haines furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

William Billy Haines furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of William Billy Haines furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by William Billy Haines were created in the mid-century modern style in united states during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Nancy Corzine, Dan Johnson, and Phyllis Morris. Prices for William Billy Haines furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $3,500 and can go as high as $26,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $9,650.

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