Alexa Hampton, daughter of the influential interior designer Mark Hampton, is an old friend of mine. We met while I was studying architecture at RISD and she was attending Brown University, nearby. I will never forget the summer day when Alexa typed up my first resume on the living room floor of her beautifully appointed apartment in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, Alexa carries on her father's incredible legacy as the President and featured designer of Mark Hampton, LLC.
Mark Hampton began his career working for some of the greatest interior designers of his time: Mrs. Henry Parish II, David Hicks, and McMillen, Inc. He later went on to design for such clients as Brooke Astor, Estee Lauder, Jacqueline Onassis, and the Henry Kissingers, in addition to his work on the White House, Camp David, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the American Academy in Rome.
Mark Hampton: An American Decorator (Rizzoli, 2010) is a tribute to the designer compiled and written by Duane Hampton–Alexa's mother and Mark's widow. The book features exquisite photography of Mark Hampton's work. As I poured over the book, I flagged images of rooms that I have seen in person, which I am sharing with you below. While these images are beautiful, they hardly do these finely-decorated rooms justice.
1 A portrait of the esteemed designer.
2 Mark painted a watercolor of one of the rooms he decorated for Pamela Harriman in the American Embassy Residence in Paris.
3 A Hampton-Hicks collaboration. I love the steel-and-glass tables mixed with antiques–a balance of modern and traditional styles.
4 This room is so whimsical thanks to the use of floral upholstery paired with floral wallpaper and palm fronds.
5 The door to this dining room is flanked by orchids on gilded pedestals.
6 Inside the dining room green-and-white trellis paper lines the walls. The blanc de chine over-mantel mirror is the room's focal point.
7 Mark outfitted this East Hampton sitting room in blue-and-white batik. It is so sophisticated, yet still beachy.
8 Long before ikat was a hot home design and fashion trend, Mark favored the fabric.
9 This San Francisco living room has all of the bells and whistles. The curtains are strie silk, with tassels, fringes, rosettes, bows, and tiebacks.
10 This card room has many vibrant elements including the tiger rug. Gilded accents lend an distinct sense of luxury to the room.
11 Duane calls this living room "a Victorian/Edwardian riot of color and pattern." I couldn't have said it better myself.
12 I love the use of a calming palette of pale yellows and cream.
13 The dining room of the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, with Marks's decoration largely intact. In the 1980s Mark decorated many rooms and suites for the hotel.