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The Top Ten Lines From Today's Times Decorating Story

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Today's New York Times has a piece on the global impact of the high-end decorating business—how the exorbitant interior design project of wealthy folks in Manhattan, say, help support hundreds of artisan communities all over the globe. Titled "In Defense of the Decorator," the article features interviews with established folks such as Mario Buatta, Bunny Williams, Darren Henault, Scott Salvator (who has 11,000 different vendors), and former House Beautiful editor in chief Stephen Drucker, who says that these folks have "a crazy, God-given special gift. Yet decorators have been targets of ridicule forever.” Here now, the top 10 lines:

1. "Donna May Woods is trying to explain the complexities of a hot-pink and turquoise silk brocatelle."

2. '"If you’ve ever been to camp or rehab,” she begins encouragingly, using the humble potholder you might make there as a reference for a rapid-fire tutorial on the history of fine textiles that ranges from the practices of Italy’s 15th-century mills to the mountains of Afghanistan, which in the decorating world is known less as a training ground for terrorists than as a producer of ikat, the voguish, woozy-looking fabric."

3. "In other words, there was no product quite right for those who have an appetite for $1,000-a-yard silk damasks woven in 200-year-old European mills."

4. "'It is not unusual for our clients to have a chair that's worth a million dollars,' Ms. Woods said. The fabric, she added, "needs to match that."

5. "In a new building he designed on East 79th Street for the Brodsky Organization, bricks are being hand-laid, old-school-style, by New York City masons; the door hardware comes from P. E. Guerin, a foundry in the West Village; limestone relief sculptures designed by Mr. Sofield on a clay model in his dining room are being made by an Indiana sculptor from Indiana limestone."

6. "Not that this isn’t a valid question, he said, detailing a long back-and-forth with a client about a Lucite pedestal for an armillary versus a cast-bronze one (the Lucite option, less costly, won), which this reporter half-listened to while frantically Googling the word 'armillary.'"

7. "'If a couple just purchased an apartment for $1,000 a square foot, and they plan on staying there for 5 or 10 years, maybe they can sell it for $1,500 a square foot,' he said. 'That's a budget. It doesn't come from nowhere, it comes from the market. Then you back into it. For $500 a square foot, you can't get gold fixtures or hand-painted Gracie wallpaper, but you can do O.K.'"

8. "Mr. Sofield, for his part, eschews the word 'decorating' entirely. 'I don’t like it, I think it’s pejorative,' he said. 'I prefer to use words like movable'—to refer to interior design—'and stationary,' for architecture."

9. "Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, recalled the drama when her friend Michael Smith decorated the Oval Office, for a reveal just before Labor Day in 2010. [...] what really irritated Ms. Russell was the carping about cost (which in any case was paid for by a private fund, as every White House decoration since the first has been)."

10. "'I’m not a discount shop, I’m not here so you can get the cheapest price,' he said. 'I’m here to spend your money well.'"

Photo: holbox/Shutterstock

· In Defense of the Decorator [New York Times]