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Pair of Billy Baldwin X Base Decorator Ottoman Benches in Russet Leather

US$2,800per set
US$3,500per set20% Off

About

Exceptional pair of X leg ottomans or benches in rarely seen button tufted leather cover. Original design by Billy Baldwin. Nicely patinated and original.

Details

  • Creator
    Billy Baldwin (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 17.5 in. (44.45 cm)Width: 21.5 in. (54.61 cm)Depth: 16 in. (40.64 cm)Seat Height: 17.5 in. (44.45 cm)
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    1970
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Beautiful overall condition and patina . Tiny flake of color on seat of one bench ( shown ) . Visible only if you are looking . A few minor scuffs at bottom of one or two legs .
  • Seller Location
    Ferndale, MI
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU848222662352

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Ferndale, MI
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Designer

Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin had the unusual distinction of being the first man to break the glass ceiling of interior decoration, which before WWII was ruled by a coterie of ladies. 

The look that Baldwin championed in the mid-century was entirely American: classical in foundation, but modern in spirit, free of ostentation and unconcerned with trends. “Be faithful to your own taste,” he used to tell clients, “because nothing you really like is ever out of style.”

By the 1960s, just about every American taste-making blue blood was Baldwin's client, including Jackie Onassis, Pamela Harriman, Nan Kempner, Bunny Mellon and Babe Paley. If you ever wondered who was responsible for Diana Vreeland’s unforgettable “garden in hell” crimson drawing room, it was Billy B, as his friends called him.

“I always say I love color better than people,” he once remarked. He also loved cotton, calling it “his life,” detested damask and satin, and claimed to have “made a lady out of wicker.” His quips were legendary.

Unlike most decorators of his era, Baldwin believed that every project should feature furnishings already belonging to the client, so that the client’s personality would manifest in the room’s atmosphere. That atmosphere would emerge out of Baldwin’s selection of other furnishings — both old and new, American, European and Asian — and his choice of colors, mix of patterns and keen sense of proportion and scale. If good antiques were beyond a client’s budget, he advised buying top contemporary pieces, rather than reproductions. What was important was quality, as well as comfort. A resolute anti-snob, Baldwin detested pretentious people. He believed decorating was a collaborative adventure embarked on with the client.

Embracing of new materials, including fake leather and plastic, in the mid-1950s, Baldwin covered the walls of Cole Porter’s tony Waldorf Astoria suite in tortoise shell vinyl. For that project, possibly his masterwork, he also designed floor-to-ceiling brass étagères, as he felt it “would be extravagant to do built-in bookcases for an apartment in a hotel.” His enthusiasm for chintz slipcovers prompted Porter to threaten, “Don’t you dare slipcover these pianos!” When the hotel suite was published, the étagères began showing up everywhere. Baldwin was not pleased. “If I find that something I am doing is becoming a trend, I run from it like the plague,” he declared.

For the New York City apartment of William and Babe Paley in the St. Regis hotel, Baldwin covered the damaged walls in a shirred geometric fabric, which started another trend. Among other much-copied design signatures were low slipper chairs, swing arm brass lamps, dark-hued rooms, rattan-wrapped Parson’s tables and arresting orchestrations of brilliantly patterned cotton prints.

When he turned 70, Baldwin retired and a few years later decamped to Nantucket where he had often summered, and which he loved in part for its strong, clear New England light. When he died at 80, he had influenced a generation of American decorators and shaped the tastes of Americans on a mass-scale, even those who never knew his name.

Browse a wide range of Billy Baldwin furniture on 1stDibs.

About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Ferndale, MI
Vetted Seller
These experienced sellers undergo a comprehensive evaluation by our team of in-house experts.
Established in 1980
1stDibs seller since 2008
553 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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