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The Legacy of Albert Hadley

The Legacy of Albert Hadley

One of America’s legendary interior designers, Albert Livingston Hadley, is known for his remarkable classic and contemporary styles. Born in Tennessee, Hadley established a name at Manhattan together with Sister Parish, leaving behind several exceptional interiors when he died in March at age 91. According to Hadley, “I start with the hammer and the saw—moving doors to line up with windows, straightening out the floor plan, that kind of thing. Once the dust has settled, then you can start thinking about fabrics and paint…Decorating is not about lace curtains and carpets from Paris!” 

Hadley started as an instructor at Parsons School of Design, which later moved into a decorating firm founded by Parish in 1962. The partnership flourished because of each others complementing skills, and they have indeed created breathtaking rooms for several years. Sadly it lasted only until Parish’s death in 1994. Here’s a few of Albert Hadley’s exceptional creations:

Kennedy White House: The interior decorating firm Parish-Hadley Associates, Inc., worked with Jacqueline Kennedy to decorate the White House and John and Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal homes, and documents the firm’s working relationship with the White House after the Kennedy years. Sketches and scrapbooks on the White House Restoration

Fifth Avenue: This maisonette has a private entrance abode within the Rosario Candela–designed 960 Fifth Avenue co-op. Its Central Park–facing address, just blocks from the Met and Museum Mile, is one of Manhattan’s most prestigious locations.

Frederic R. Coudert III’s NYC living room– A mod herringbone floor joins peacock-blue walls featuring the large painting of Larry Poons.

Parish-Hadley Assoc. ‘s midtown Manhattan office. An array of fantastical objects, ranging from antique to modern.

Hadley’s Manhattan living room in the 1980s. Featuring the tea-paper-clad walls, sculptural chairs, and one of the hooked zebra rugs he favored.

Brooke Astor’s famous Manhattan library. Astor’s late husband’s rare books filled the enamel-and-brass bookcases; the sofa, covered in Brunschwig & Fils’s La Portugaise print.

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Sophie and Leonard Davis’ Residence – commissioned during the 70’s at the Palm Beach Florida, Hadley refined the vast space with deep-dish sofas clad in ethereal pale blue, Chinese antiques, Egyptian-inspired chairs, and black-and-cream carpets of Moroccan mien. 

Hadley’s fresh ideas and tireless curiosity made all his crafts even more impressive. There’s always something new in what he brings; at the same time, he remained indeed au courant–always passionate with history and definitiveness. His sense of style has kept the next generation more inspired. 

“Albert led so many of us to the right places… Now we have to pick up the torch of supporting young people. That will be Albert’s legacy.”

-Christopher Spitzmiller

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