Photography by Nelson Hancock
Interior Designer Markham Roberts is known for timeless, all-American style. His second book Notes on Decorating (which will be published in September by Vendome Press) includes work from the past 5 years – 32 projects in total. “As Americans, we are a perfectly blended mixture of all different cultural influences,” Roberts says. “I think American decorating takes the best of all worlds and influences and synthesizes those into a style that reflects all of that. I see it as relaxed and confident, enthusiastic and optimistic.” Below, Roberts gives L’Officiel USA the inside scoop on some of his favorite rooms.
“The breakfast table of a ski house in Montana. I loved the scale of this project and having been able to create an entire interior envelope of natural and reclaimed materials, used in a modern way, as a background for more subtle decorating, done to not compete with the incredible views outside.”
“Big open room rustic loft. This is my studio in the country, where I work and spent most of my time during quarantine. It’s a 19th century carriage house loft I renovated and clad in unfinished pine. Here I was able to decorate and furnish the space much more playfully than most clients typically have me do, so it was a joy to get to experiment with things like the curtains for example: made of many different strips of material and trims, inspired by beautiful red embroidered Ukrainian blouses.”
“The dining room of a Nantucket house we built; this project shows a very refined and complicated way of decorating, done for a collector and connoisseur, where every surface and every piece was incredibly thought out and realized. The simple ticking stripe wall upholstery for example, is skillfully and meticulously done to create the effect of paneling, which echoes the ceiling and woodwork in the room. To do this type of work and make it look subtle and relaxed is not easy. I am very proud of this room.”
“The entry hall of a London house done for a close college friend and her family. The client had extraordinary art and furniture from her family and we used it in ways which give the pieces new life. The decorating is rich and sophisticated and still quite welcoming.”
“A New York living room for a great collector of art. The decorating is textured and layered and done to highlight the visual impact of the artwork. Decorating is not always embellishing and tricking things out. It is just as much, knowing when to hold back or to make things recede visually to achieve a certain effect.”
“Our dining room in our house in Port Townsend, out on Puget Sound in Washington State. This room, where I created the custom color-way of my friend Nathalie Farman-Farma’s Decors Barbares print called "Casse-noisette” to work with the antique Bessarabian rug, allowed me to fully exercise my love of mixing pattern and color.”