Coco Chanel famously advised women to look at themselves in the mirror each evening before stepping out and to remove one thing. Thad Hayes’ residential interiors, collected in this beautiful volume, share that same just-slightly-less-than-luxurious sensibility. The rooms he assembles perfectly balance opulence and austerity, embellishment and architecture. They never feel monotonous and they never go over the top.
Hayes works in both contemporary and traditional styles, taking cues from a house or apartment’s existing architecture. The projects in this book include a post-war Manhattan apartment, a colonial revival house in Baton Rouge, and a neoclassical mansion in Palm Beach. Whatever style he’s working in, his interiors possess a unique serenity. The designer has a light touch, selecting furniture with simple profiles and employing neutral, monochromatic color schemes. And he has a special gift for spaciousness. He groups objects without clutter and furnishes rooms without crowding. Corners, walls and tables are often left unadorned. Each of his interior designs feels welcoming; one feels that there’s space to come inside and move around.
Hayes has exquisite taste, and often enlivens an interior by incorporating one or two more idiosyncratic accessories. A all-white modern living room has a grouping of hand-painted ceramic fish platters on one wall. A cleanly detailed master bathroom boasts ornate crystal wall sconces. A cream colored bedroom suite has drapes in a bold, tropical print. These distinctive details, when piled one upon the other as they are in many professionally designed interiors, can feel heavy-handed. As Hayes employs them, selectively, they add depth and interest to the room, along with a bit of personality, all the while maintaining the clean spread of the space.
There probably couldn’t be a more perfect title for Hayes’ work than The Tailored Interior. A custom-made suit impresses with the fineness of its materials, the subtlety of its details, and the quality of its fit. Thad Hayes’ interiors dazzle in the same quiet, discriminating ways.
all photos © Scott Francis, used with permission from Thad Hayes, The Tailored Interior. New York: Rizzoli, 2009.