Timeless Elegance – The Houses of David Easton

I just received my David Easton book, Timeless Elegance, today and although I don’t want to spoil it for those of you awaiting your copies, I couldn’t wait until next week to post at least a few images.

The title is apt – Easton has mastered this genre. One image is more beautiful than the next. Some of his more extravagant designs are a bit too over the top for my taste, such as the Kluge’s famous Albemarle House in Virginia, the contents of which Sotheby’s auctioned earlier this year for a grand total of $15.1 million.

photo sotheby’s

But most are lovely and there is no denying that Easton is a supremely talented architect and designer. The photographs are beautiful as are Jim Steinmeyer’s drawings.

jim steinmeyer 1993 of entry hall of renovated adler house

Even the casing is understatedly elegant – a John Fowler type red with a simple gold embossed spine. The text, accomplished with the able assistance of seasoned veteran Annette Tapert, is approachable and conversational with a modest tone and Easton’s introduction is informative and charming as witnessed by this photo of him and Lizzie having breakfast at Balthazar which is featured at the conclusion.

You will recognize many of the images, but there are certainly enough that I hadn’t seen and it’s always nice to have it all contained in one volume.

Here is a quick peek inside.

Let’s start with this lovely bedroom from the Serrano house in Mexico City.

When I saw this next image, it reminded me of Joni at the wonderful Cote de Texas, because of both its Texas location and its successful mix of casual vernacular architectural style with Continental antiques.

Sprinkled throughout the book are Easton’s own sketches, particularly of lanterns, which he collects. This drawing is based on one he saw in a villa in Italy.

And incorporated into this fabulous entry in a house in Nassau

As seen above, Easton is a master of entries. His vignettes in small spaces are superb. Take for example this niche in a house in Aspen.

The woodwork is bleached pine, wire brushed to show the grain, and then stained pearl gray and glazed to an antique finish. The attention to detail is amazing.

In this Aspen entryway, Easton used limed oak millwork and a Swedish painted console table (excuse the page divide).

How would you like to soak in this tub overlooking Central Park? The mosaic floor is copied from an ancient one in Pompeii (naturally) and I have a weakness for curved tub enclosures,  especially since my husband nixed it when redoing our last bathroom.

This next New York City apartment is an interesting story. Easton had done a total renovation for a client in 1995. She then sold it to someone whose last place Easton had done fifteen years earlier. Of course she brought him in for the job again, which meant he had decorated this apartment for two different clients, twice within four years. Here is the gallery hallway as decorated for the second client. How fabulous is the stenciled floor, which was kept from the first renovation – can you imagine getting rid of it?

This library from the same apartment (decorated for client #1) was always one of my favorite images of his with the beautiful painted wood and Napoleon III furniture.

The last section of the book is devoted to Easton’s own residences. Most of you will remember his gorgeous house, Balderbrae, in Suffern, New York. I still have tattered tear sheets of it from years ago. Here is the charming dining porch.

This stunning entry (yet again a perfectly orchestrated vignette) is from Easton’s current residence in a renovated loft downtown in the Flatiron district.

He is contemplating a redecoration in what sounds like a more contemporary Belgian style aesthetic with upholstered pieces in more “linenlike materials.”

The epilogue references his latest personal project – a modular house in Lac Brule, about an hour north of Montreal. Although the layout will be similar to Balderbrae, the construction will use all sustainable materials and will have geothermal heat and solar panels. Easton, a vibrant 73, sums it up in both an appreciative and forward looking manner, “How lucky I am to have the opportunity to build a house for myself that is both an intellectual and professional search of what “home, sweet home” will mean in years to come.” And how lucky are we to have a look at the results of his intellectual and professional achievements so far.


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20 Responses to Timeless Elegance – The Houses of David Easton

  1. pve says:

    Quite an accomplishment to be able to achieve such elegance and livablity in one’s enverions to create homes of astonishing caliber. Albeit not for the masses, but for the fortunate few who have toiled away to establish foundations for their family that are cultured, elegance and grace.
    I will add this book to my wish list.

  2. elle says:

    Easton creates a grandeur that still feels intimate and is completely livable (regrettably this is interpretation, not from first-hand experience). The mosaic floor in the bathroom is simply stupendous and that library….. I want to curl up in one of those club chairs and savor the rest of his book. This will be the perfect Christmas gift for several people on my list! Thank you for sharing.

  3. quintessence says:

    yes, that library is so inviting – and this will be on my holiday giving list as well.

  4. Marsha says:

    I think we will be new best friends. I love your blog, and thank you so much for hopping over to visit me today & leaving such an insightful comment. I look forward to visiting you often. Did you see my giveaway, the Joe Nye book just published, Flair? If you would like a chance to win come back to that post & tell me. xx’s Marsha

    • quintessence says:

      Thank you and you’re welcome! I think this is the best part of blogging – meeting new people and making new friends. I would enter the contest but I already own the book (of course) but don’t worry I will be back again asap.

  5. Harrison Howard says:

    As someone that rarely gets to a bookstore these days I might not otherwise have known about this book, so I’m glad to see this post. I think his work is always terrific, and the entry in his rennovated loft is beyond terrific. What a tranquil place for someone living in the city!

    • quintessence says:

      And if you get the book (there’s always Amazon), wait til you see the rest of the loft – it’s stunning. In fact that’s it on the cover.

  6. mydesignchic says:

    What an aptly titled book for David Easton. His work is truly stunning, and I am so happy to get a sneak peak!! Looks like I’ll be adding one more to my ever growing stack of design books…thrilled to have found your blog this evening-it’s wonderful!

    • quintessence says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, this fall has a ridiculous number of fabulous books on the horizon. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

  7. David has decorated each and every one of my mother-in-law’s homes – first in Lake Forest and Chicago, IL, then in NYC and the suburbs. Each time, he brought his own unique touches like a trompe-l’oeil bookcase filled with books written by her children. Can’t wait to get my hands on this treasure!

    • quintessence says:

      OMG – that’s amazing. You should do a post about it – I’ll bet her homes have been incredible! You should get this for her for Christmas!

  8. this book is my new favorite–his work is so timeless-the dining porch is exquisite!

    • quintessence says:

      Yes – you will love it and it is beautifully published – elegantly designed, beautiful thick paper, lovely photographs. Thank you for stopping by!

  9. Cobus Gauche says:

    I will be happy to offer your readers, bookplates signed by David, which they can then stick into their books. Please feel free to email names (for inscriptions) and mailing addresses to [email protected] and we will get it done over the next few weeks.
    Many thanks indeed,

    Cobus Gauche
    Studio Director
    David Easton Inc.

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  12. home before dark says:

    I loved this book. I found your site from Peak of Chic where I left the comment that I think I am still stuck in the layers of the 80s because I had missed them due to my decorating style then being dominated by Fischer Price and Star Wars toys. His personal spaces are my favorites. It is fascinating to watch his evolution, the paring down, the movement towards space and light. Must be a metaphor in there for a life’s journey. I also loved his quite saucy interview with NYSD.

    • quintessence says:

      home before dark – Welcome! I recognize your name from many insightful comments on other blogs I read. I love Jennifer’s blog and as you can see, loved this book. You make a great point about his style progression, which I do indeed think has something to do with wanting to pare down as we get older – he is older than he looks – I believe 74. And I remember being a little surprised, and amused, by his NYSD interview!

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