Architectural Digest is our go-to source for architecture and interior design ideas that make us catch our breath, plunk down our espressos, and practically press our fingertips and noses into the pages or screen. And this entryway—designed by interior decorating legend Mario Buatta for socialite Patricia Altschul—is just one of those spaces. Grand, sweeping, and dramatic, Buatta’s vestibule is a treat for decorating lovers, without a hint of “Well, I never!” haughtiness.
As part of Altschul’s renovation of a 9,500-square-foot, 1850s antebellum mansion in South Carolina, Buatta transformed the “frumpy beige interior” of the hall by painting it—including all the architectural details and the trim—white, and adding a faux finish to the walls to make them look like stone. He then hired decorative painter Haleh Atabeigi to stencil the wood floor in a graphic pattern inspired by Victorian tile, and matched the walnut tone of the curved handrail to the darker hue in the floor.
To keep the eye moving upward toward those lofty ceilings and the beautiful twist of the staircase, Buatta installed a Gothic Revival lantern for overhead lighting, and filled the wall opposite the banister with an artful display of antique photos and silhouettes in wood and gilt frames of various shapes and sizes. He added a stair runner in a rich brown and merlot pattern that tapers in the middle and widens at the top and bottom. The round chenille settee, or borne, in a lighter red provides a splash of color and texture, as well as introduces another shape into a space that’s full of eye-popping details. We even love the burst of branches from the center of the borne—a rustic addition that helps to bring the outdoors in and offer an organic counterpoint to a highly stylized space.
See the rest of the renovation here.