David Easton, Architect for an American Gentry, Dies at 83

first_img“He certainly did the grand houses of the 1980s, and nobody did it better,” said Bunny Williams, the interior designer who, like Mr. Easton, is an alumna of Parish-Hadley, the Kennedy- and post-Kennedy-era design firm that taught new money to look old and old money to look fresh. “But most of his work wasn’t published, because he worked for very private people. It was a totally different time, and he wasn’t interested in fame. He was confident about what he was doing, and he never had to be pretentious.”David Anthony Easton was born on April 9, 1937, in Louisville, Ky., and grew up in York, Pa., the eldest of three children. His father, David Allen Easton, worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as an accountant; his mother, Elizabeth (Scheidt) Easton, was a homemaker.Mr. Easton spent summers with a grandmother in Chicago, and he knew he wanted to be an architect after visiting the Trend House at the Marshall Field’s department store there and becoming transfixed by its model rooms. He studied architecture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and after graduation received a scholarship to study architecture at a school in Fontainebleau, France.When Mr. Easton returned to New York City in 1964, he went to work for Edward Wormley, the modernist furniture designer. But he was a classicist at heart. In 1967, Parish-Hadley hired him as a senior designer. He started his own firm in 1972, and by the next decade, his work, along with that of Mark Hampton and Mario Buatta, would become emblematic of the English-style opulence that defined the 1980s. Speaking of his former client, Ms. Kluge, Mr. Easton told Town & Country in 2011: “I think she was searching for pleasure in life. The old Roman carpe diem. She was having a good time. I’m not protecting her. I’m just saying she has a view like that, and I think it’s a good and healthy one.” Yet Mr. Easton, who had a deep knowledge of and abiding love for Regency furniture, Roman statuary, Delft pottery and Chinese antiquities, was not really an impresario of glitz and bling. His tastes were disciplined, and he did not seek the spotlight. Even for its time, at the height of the go-go Reagan years, Albemarle House was considered over the top.“Albemarle House really threw down the gauntlet during the roaring ’80s,” said Stephen Drucker, former editor in chief of House Beautiful and Town & Country magazines. Gossip columnists fell all over themselves describing the excesses of the Kluges, like a private disco, a golf course and liveried footmen.The Kluges certainly weren’t the only high-wattage clients in Mr. Easton’s portfolio. He designed an apartment in the Pierre hotel in Manhattan for Phyllis and Sumner Redstone, the media mogul who died in August. For Paula Zahn, the former CNN anchor, he built a contemporary house in Aspen, Colo. And for Herbert Black, the Canadian businessman who exposed the Sotheby’s and Christie’s price-fixing scandal in 2000, he created a Georgian-style house in Montreal. – Advertisement – There were formal English gardens, five lakes carved into the estate’s 6,000 acres, a carriage house and stables, a grotto, a helicopter landing pad, an 850-acre game preserve and a chapel, for which Mr. Easton designed the vestments of the clergy who would preside there, as well as the crypt below. (Mr. Easton researched just what was required to store embalmed bodies.) The house itself was more than 23,000 square feet, and Mr. Easton filled it with European and English antiques.- Advertisement –center_img In 1981, Mr. Easton was already an established architect and decorator when Alistair Stair, a principal of Stair & Company, an antiques dealer, suggested to Patricia Kluge, who had just married John Kluge, the much older billionaire head of MetroMedia, that Mr. Easton was the man to design the estate the couple wanted to build in Charlottesville, Va.Mr. Easton and Ms. Kluge met at the Carlyle hotel in Manhattan, and, as was his habit, he used a cocktail napkin to sketch his design for a 45-room brick manor that the Kluges would name Albemarle House. – Advertisement – Mr. Easton and Mr. Steinmeyer married in 2014, after 39 years together. Mr. Steinmeyer said he had been engaged to a woman back home in Oklahoma when he and Mr. Easton met in 1975. “David said: “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but you can’t have your life two different ways. Either way, you’re going to make somebody very unhappy. If you want to screw up your life, that’s fine. But don’t screw up somebody else’s.”In 1992, Mr. Easton was named to Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame.Despite his very proper interiors, Mr. Easton had a mischievous streak. He drank red wine with all his meals, even breakfast, declaring, like W.C. Fields, that he didn’t like water because fish mated in it (although both he and Fields used a different verb). Former employees recall Mr. Easton asking for a ham sandwich on the Concorde, the supersonic jet that used to ferry the wealthy across the Atlantic at record speeds, instead of the lobster thermidor they were serving. At dinner parties he liked to say that he was a sex therapist, so that he didn’t have to talk about his work.But he was very serious about that design work, and its implications.In an interview with New York Social Diary in 2007, Mr. Easton said it was no longer appropriate to be building enormous houses.“I’ve built all these Georgian houses, we’re talking about 15-to-25,000-square-foot houses,” he said. “Young people are not going to build that way. They still are up in Greenwich, but that’s the last blast. We can’t afford to. No, I think in the day and age when people are starving and dying, the earth can’t afford it.” David Easton, an architect and interior designer who created English-style palaces for an American aristocracy, died on Oct. 29 at his home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 83.James Steinmeyer, his husband and only immediate survivor, said the cause was complications of dementia.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Clemson

first_imgCongratulations to the Clemson Tigers on their national football championship.  They defeated Alabama 35-31 in another football classic.  Just like last year, the game came down to the 4th quarter.  This time Clemson got the 2-yard touchdown that put them over the top.Not many people, outside of Alabama, were probably rooting for the Tide.  However, Alabama has a record of football title games that has to be admired.  Don’t bet your house that they will not be back again next year.last_img

Otters celebrate 25 years of release

first_imgMadison, IN—Today marks the 25th anniversary of Indiana’s first river otter release, which was at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge. Between 1995 – 1999, Indiana DNR released 303 river otters at 12 locations throughout the state.Reintroduction efforts went so well that otters were removed from the state endangered list in 2005. Such restoration efforts are supported in part by the Nongame Wildlife Fund, which depends entirely on donations (no state tax dollars are used). Consider donating to help Indiana’s wildlife have more conservation success stories like the river otter by clicking here.last_img

Mohamed’s Enterprise on board with GMR&SC Reaction

first_imgMOHAMED’S Enterprise has joined the list of sponsors for the upcoming Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC) March 19 ‘Reaction’ Drag Meet at the South Dakota Circuit.On hand to receive the donation, GMR&SC official Desrie Lee, thanked the company for the kindly gesture ahead of the highly anticipated event, since it will go a long way in helping to provide fans with the best possible atmosphere on race-day.GMR&SC president Ramez Mohamed has stated that they are expecting a big tournament since the drivers are fascinated with the new system in place and are eager to race.Up to $50 000 will be at stake for the fastest bus with free runs beginning from 09:00hrs followed by qualifying at 10:00hrs and the knock-out rounds from 11:00hrs.last_img