Sister Parish

Sister Parish

Tara Bellucci
Sep 13, 2012

Designer: Dorothy May "Sister" Parish, 1910 - 1994

From: Morristown, New Jersey

The mother of American country style, Sister Parish was a decorator and socialite who combined classic European furniture with a homey, comfortable feel, so that spaces had continuity and character. A lover of trimmings and chintz, her spaces had personality, yet many of her rooms are quite timeless.


• She started her interior decorating business four years after her stockbroker father and husband lost fortunes in 1929.
• She was cousins with another influential decorator, Dorothy Draper.
• She hired Albert Hadley in 1962, forming Parish-Hadley Associates.
• She decorated the Kennedy White House, as well as homes for the Astors, Whitneys, Rockefellers, and Gettys.
• She would push a tea cart around a client's home, filling it up with things she deemed unnecessary, before beginning.

Quote: Some think a decorator should change a house. I try to give permanence to a house, to bring out the experiences, the memories, the feelings that make it a home.

Known for: Chintz, heirloom hand-me-downs, quilts, baskets

Representative Rooms Shown Above: (left to right)

1) Yellow Oval Room, 1960, via Wikimedia Commons
2) Sister Parish and her dogs, via Architectural Digest
3) Sister's New York living room, via Sister Parish Design
4) Sister's Maine living room, via Architectural Digest
5) Parish-Hadley project, 1970s, via Veranda/John About Town

Parish On the Web:

Architectural Digest
Sister Parish Design
The New York Times

(Images: as credited above)

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