Monday, April 12, 2010

Mark Hampton - On Decorating (and Enfilades)

Illustration by Mark Hampton

A couple of weeks ago my mom brought me her copy of Mark Hampton's On Decorating. What a treasure trove of decorating advice from a master of style and design. The book, published in 1989, is made up of monthly columns that Mark wrote for House and Garden magazine over a three year period - plus some material written especially for the book. It also includes many of his wonderful interior illustrations.

I have spent the last seven evenings pouring over the book and the timeless words resonate today. My favorite chapter is on the Enfilade - a suite of rooms aligned with each other. Enfilade is French, meaning to string beads by putting them on thread. Looking at these photos below, you get the idea.

Image from the Iowa State University website

Auguste Joseph , The Louvre

Image from Decorati

What I love is that your eye moves through the rooms so easily. We are carried across each thresh hold and eagerly anticipate what is beyond the next opening.

Illustration by Mark Hampton

Almost like opening a present inside a present inside a present...

Image via Cote de Texas

Our architect had the brilliance to include enfilades in my house - and I appreciate them every day!

Above three images courtesy of Whitehaven

An enfilade is featured on the cover of the to die for new book The Great Lady Decorators by Adam Lewis. This book is a must read for all decorating fans.


  1. You picked some great ones. We have 2 1/2 in our house. Get in the right place and suddenly you can see a long way. Very good to have something special at the end. A window may be best. It can make even our small house seem big.

  2. O, Mark market of my favorite designer/stylists...certainly an influential one!

  3. Cote de Texas wrote a beautiful post on enfilades earlier this year. Did you know that this is how the White House is designed? There 5 rooms across the back, all connected to one another, with the doors lined up. It is beautiful.

    The view I am most looking forward to seeing in my new house is from the porte cochere door through a series of doors all the way to the vestibule to the master bedroom.

  4. I was speaking with Albert Hadley and he had mention that "The Great Lady Decorators" was one of his favorite books.