Space: Master bedroom, Boyesen Road, Southampton, New York.
Client: Lydia Buhl Melhado Farr (later Mrs William H Mann, died 1997), third wife of Francis Bartow Farr, one of Wall Street's richest salesmen, according to The New York Times. Heiress to a Detroit industrial fortune, Lydia Farr—then in her early 30s and the mother of two young sons—had an 18-room apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue and a fabled collection of Verdura jewels. And the good sense to hire David Hicks when she and Farr built a modern house in Southampton, shortly after they married in 1966.
Elements: Next to nothing, really. A wall-to-wall field of white-glazed hexagonal Provençal tiles. A 19th-century French armoire, stripped to the raw pine. Sleek white-lacquered side tables topped by dead-plain modern lamps. A director's chair of polished steel and white leather. The bed, however, is the piece de résistance, a towering shelter hung with white-linen curtains printed with an overscale damask pattern and lined with crisp glazed white cotton. It is opulently penitential, like something a world-weary marquise of a certain age might have commissioned after being named abbess of a deluxe convent.
Image: From David Hicks: Designer by Ashley Hicks (Scriptum Editions, 2003).
Originally published: An Aesthete's Lament, 20 November 2008