In light of the “What Inspires You” contest being sponsored by DesignSherpa, I’ve been thinking about what inspires me. Coincidentally–just when it was top of mind–I ran across a New York Times piece featuring the Manhattan home of Duane Hampton. Her husband, Mark, was one of the most gracious designers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Not to mention talented. And their Park Avenue apartment, where Duane still resides, is a spectacular testament to that talent. Case in point is the rich red dining room, where a William Kent-style table is set beneath a grand Venetian mirror. (In 1994, Vanity Fair asked Mark Hampton what object he would like to come back as when he died. Either a 1941 Lincoln Continental or a William Kent table, he said.)
Equally impressive is Duane’s office (once daughter Alexa’s bedroom), where the desk faces a watercolor portrait of her husband. It’s also where she undoubtedly penned her latest book; Mark Hampton, An American Decorator (Rizzoli), due out this month, is a celebration of his remarkable career.
But, as they say, design is in the details–and this is the detail that inspires me most: Atop Duane’s dresser is Mark Hampton’s manifesto. Written in his own hand, it reads “I don’t believe less is more. I believe that more is more. I believe that less is less, fat fat, thin thin and enough is enough!”
Design with conviction is always inspiring.