Oil portrait of Angelica by Julia Condon, Hicks' home in London
Portraits and cushions, Hicks' library in London
Roman glass, Hicks home in London
"Technically, Allegra Hicks: An Eye for Design (Abrams Books) is a book presenting fabrics and rugs created by Allegra Hicks, a tall, Anglicized drink of water who hails from Turin and married into England’s most famous design family. (Her former husband is designer Ashley Hicks, and his father, the late David Hicks, was the renowned interior designer who combined classical décor with mod elements in the homes of the British elite during the ’60s and ’70s.)
Thanks to creative director Antonio Monfreda and photographer Emanuele Mascioni, however, the publication is nothing short of a revelation. Hicks and her team draw us into the shared sensibility of the aesthetes who are her friends and the rarefied world that inspires her designs. (Like in her London home, pictured at right.)
“He made his own house,” says Hicks. “He painted everything himself. This isn’t about rarefied, inaccessible work or having an enormous amount of money. It’s simply having an eye…. That’s the aesthetic of the book,” she continues. “It’s a mood—the creative process.”
We asked Hicks a few quick questions:
You have such a way with combining patterns for a polished look. Any tips on how to recreate the looks in your book? ALLEGRA HICKS: Color is the key element in a pattern and so is scale. Combining small and big scale creates a diversity, and using a compatible palette as a base will give depth and harmony to a design.
New Yorkers are plagued with the task of designing for small, sometimes tiny spaces. What’s your advice? AH: I think getting the scale right in the furniture is very important. Buy a few pieces but good ones. That is the plus in having a small space—you don't need a lot of furniture! Also, invest in a good rug. It will dress the room.
Stylists often tell us to splurge on classic staples and skimp on trends. How should we approach shopping for the home? AH: Very good lighting is a key to a good room, and so is a fabulous rug and the color of the walls. These are the essentials and everything else can be added later.
What are your favorite NYC home décor boutiques?
West Elm is great for design at affordable price, and I have just designed a special collection for them launching in six months. And my store, of course.
And what is the most treasured item in your own home?
My new favorite objects are the coral stones I have just dipped in silver by a great artisan in Naples.