Profile: American Decorator Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin (not the actor) is a design legend with taste that's pulled together and buttoned up. Much like his rooms, I imagine Billy's suits were always perfectly tailored and well pressed. Just don't call him an "Interior Designer." He hates that.

Like most of us, Billy realized the first function of furniture is to be comfortable. And for Billy, comfort and quality went hand in hand. Even though he was the master of mixing and matching different styles and eras, he knew quality was the key in bringing it all together.

Billy on quality: "If you spend most of your decorating money on a Chippendale table or a Chinese lacquer screen, don't fill in the gaps with mediocrity. Forget the gaps for a while; just have simple slipcover in one pretty color. Then, as you can, acquire other good pieces that are compatible in one pretty color. Let the room grow slowly to maturity."

When it came to clients, Billy worked with them on a very personal level. He liked using key pieces someone already owned, building off their style instead of starting with a blank canvas.

Billy on decorating: "Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect, loved possessions add personality."

And when it was time to paint, Billy was a pioneer when it came to darker shades. His choices in the bold in the beautiful stand up to the test of time and will continue to inspire Decorators and Designers for years to come.

Billy on color: "When you want to transform a room into an entirely different animal, change the color."

For more inspirational Billy quotes head here.

Images 1,2,3,4 The Peak of Chic; 5 Material Girls; 6 The JHU Gazette; 7 Where The Wild Things Are; 8 Style Court