A Designer Disappointment

My dad sent me this article from the New York Times yesterday and to say it disappointed me is an understatement. Take a read and then lets discuss….

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You see Thompson, CT is a very near and dear town to me.  It abuts the town my parents’ home is in and is the town in which I married my husband (at the Lord Thompson Manor , which was so amazing that two of our friends married there after us!).  There is a gorgeous, albeit small, main street where some truly stunning historic homes stand and this, my friends, is where we pick up on our story.

As a designer- interior, architectural or the like-we are taught to not only love homes but live, sleep, eat and breathe them.  They are the medium in which we express our artistic talents and the canvas upon which we make our mark. To find out that a designer, never mind an incredibly FAMOUS designer, would treat a historic home with such disdain, such negligence, disgusts me.  He is incredibly successful and has the means to restore this property to it’s historic glory, but if that doesn’t interest him he should simply sell it to someone who does want to.  To hang onto it and let it rot just because “he can” and thinks “no one should be able to tell him otherwise” is repulsive and against everything a designer should stand for. To allow it to fall into ruin, have it affect an entire town and specifically his neighbor’s property values all while becoming an eyesore in a totally charming town is quite possibly the most unflattering display of ego I’ve ever heard of in this business. To allow it to be demolished is thumbing his nose at history AND his own industry. And finally, to threaten to “sell it to a funeral parlor” just to piss off the neighbors proves this man is frankly, a total asshole.  Who would trust their home to a designer so cavalier, rude and self-centered with no appreciation for architecture or other people?

I for one have signed the petition to save this gorgeous piece of history from demolition and send Mr. Buatta a message- GET OVER YOURSELF. I hope you will too and share this story with others.  It’s yet another example of the fact that money can’t buy you everything, least of all CLASS.

 

64 Responses to “A Designer Disappointment”

  1. gayle p says:

    bravo. my thoughts exactly when i read the article. and i’ve signed the petition.

  2. Becky says:

    Just signed it also, this is a sacrilegious act. I hope Mr Buatta has a moment of clarity and makes the correct decision.

  3. Karena says:

    Erin, this just astounds me, what in the world?!!
    I will be happy to sign the petition.

    xoxo
    Karena
    2014 Artists Series

  4. Megan says:

    The heart-breaking Detroit train station is in the same situation – with an awful owner who couldn’t give two sh*ts about letting an important and beautiful landmark fall into disrepair and one day in-existence. I don’t get it, sell it to someone who cares and will make an effort to care about it!!

    Grrrr!! Signed the petition!
    Megan

  5. Caroline says:

    Ditto. This guy is disgusting. I love houses. I love historic perseveration, heck my father in law is a historic preservationist!!! The fact that this house could be lost forever makes me sick to his stomach. Once you reach a certain amount of deterioration, there’s only so much you can do.

    Here here to the petition!
    Caroline

  6. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing, Erin! What a sad situation. Let’s hope something changes soon! I’ve signed the petition.

  7. kimberly says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am incredulous that ANYONE- much less someone who clearly relishes his status as a diva in some parts of the design world- could let this happen. To disrespect the integrity of a beautiful historic building and actually allow “demolition by neglect” is unacceptable. Your post is not only beautifully written (as usual), but will help to get the word out. I will sign the petition immediately!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I signed the petition as well. This makes my blood boil and breaks my heart at the same time. That home is gorgeous!!!!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Nicole, The Rehab Addict on HGTV, needs to get a hold of this property!

  10. Erin says:

    Hi think my Dad needs to get a hold of it!!!

  11. Kristin says:

    Heartbreaking- hate to see history destroyed so carelessly.
    http://affinityforpretty.blogspot.com/2014/04/spring-things.html

  12. That is awful! What a jerk. As I’m learning (still waiting to hear about our offer on a 138 year-old property), repairing and maintaining old properties is a helluva lot of work. But he of all people should know how to do it, certainly have the money to do it, and should have the respect for the house’s character to do it. DISGUSTING.

  13. Ann says:

    Petition signed. Erin, you and your father really need to get a hold of this property and restore it with the love and care that all your projects have!

  14. So glad you and the NYTimes are bringing to light this home. Having just gone through renovating a home from 1880 (you know :) I know renovating an old home is not for the weak or faint of heart. If he cannot complete the project, please please sell it. They simply do not make homes like this any more. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, history. Everything in this home from the doors and molding, to the fence out front were probably milled on site, specifically for this house. No ordering your windows from Marvin. This house is a custom work. Hopefully your reach will bring this to light.

    xo

  15. P.S. I am going to post a recap, link to the petition and link to your post from my blog.

  16. Heather P. says:

    It always breaks my heart a little each time I see a beautiful home like this go neglected. There aren’t many homes like that in my area at all, but the few that are seem to always be in such horrible disarray. I can only hope that there are amazing people out there who can save more homes like this one!

  17. Erin Gates says:

    Thanks Sarah! xoxox

  18. Abby says:

    This has such amazing potential! Cannot believe someone wouldn’t care to revamp it!

    Abby
    http://www.champagneplans.com

  19. Annie says:

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  20. Susan says:

    Signed it and pinned it with a reference to the petition. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. A disappointment is an understatement! As someone said in the article he truly is an “interior desecrator.” Hopefully, this will make a difference!

  21. Sue says:

    What a huge disgrace! I will definitely sign the petition.

    On a separate note, my husband and I were at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok and we had a cocktail in the Bamboo Bar at the hotel. You must check out the pictures online – it was sooooo YOU!

  22. Ash says:

    He said: “You can do anything you want with your property.” That’s completely untrue. Even if you don’t live in an HOA area, there are zoning laws.

    Situations like this are the reason I’m happy my town has laws against Demolition by Neglect. This is a travesty.

  23. Kathleen says:

    Amen, sister. I know the home well. My in-laws live down the street. I have admired the beauty of this house for the last 20 years. I wondered why it was falling into disrepair. Now I know why. Jerk.

    Thanks for the link to the petition.

  24. Nicole says:

    I live in Connecticut, and am very familiar with Thompson (I also almost got married at LTM) and am so sicked by this. There are gorgeous properties all over the state that have been cast aside because of their age. I wish there were more people like you to take advantage of these historical properties and restore them back to their original beauty. I have signed the petition, but wish I could do more. Thank you for making people aware of this example of disrespect for our state’s history.

  25. marybeth says:

    Just signed. How disgusting. I am sure if this was next to his house he would be the first to complain. All the excuses are pitiful. Just sell it or better yet the town should take it on eminent domain. They do that for the better good of the community and take houses and properties all the time.

  26. Julie says:

    Amen. I hope he is shamed into fixing this gorgeous house or selling it, although I am not holding my breath. What a jerk.

  27. Lily says:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I am a CT resident and LOVE historic homes — this disgusts me as well on so many levels. I joined you in signing the petition, let’s hope things turn out for the best.

    xo Lily
    http://whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com/

  28. Applause to you for standing up and speaking out on this issue! All the best to this once fabulous Gothic Revival Home and to its neighbors. It’s a strange situation that does not make sense for Mr. Buatta, now his name is a bit tarnished.

    Regards,

    Zuniga Interiors

  29. Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing, Erin. Astounding! Demolition by neglect is the worst sin of all.

  30. Andrew Gates says:

    We need Harvey Specter on the case…either lawyering this up or kicking his ass. Maybe both.

  31. BEC says:

    totally agreed. Truth is that he has NO money….

  32. Emily says:

    Its so sad and unfortunately, this is happening everywhere. There is an amazing plantation close to my office in Northern Virgina that I would love to see restored. This article is from 2009, but based on images I found on Flickr taken in the fall of 2013, the house is still sitting neglected.
    http://www.leesburgtoday.com/news/loudouncounty/selma-house-placed-on-endangered-list/article_dd85d7dd-cf63-55e4-8425-4c69487acbc6.html

  33. Maureen McLochlin says:

    Can’t handle this……

  34. Kandy says:

    Sounds like he is sick and/or broke.

  35. Erin says:

    I signed! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Could you keep us west coasters up to date on this? It makes me really sad someone would be so spiteful. Hope this public disgrace will get across to him…whoever he is (never heard of him so he can’t be that awesome ;)

  36. […] in our 130 year old home.  Which makes this recent article in the NY Times, alerted to me via Elements of Style all the more upsetting.  Apparently, famous New York designer Mario Buatta purchased a beautiful […]

  37. Ceci Bean says:

    That is a sad story about a selfish man. Incidentally, the Carolands mansion (the California renovation mentioned in the first paragraph) is an interesting story of a home right near my hometown (including the site of a murder and the proposed site of a western “White House”). Ironic that he worked on bringing that home back to life while he let his own fall into such disrepair.

  38. OMG…so tired of seeing these old beauties torn down for Mcmansions….although renovations are more expensive to do, the results are often so much more spectacular! Keeping my fingers crossed for this lovely old home…

  39. andrea says:

    At the very least you would think he would want to preserve it for history’s sake. He’s obviously not a romantic about such things, which is quite ironic given his previous design accomplishments and chosen field.

  40. Lisa says:

    While I don’t like seeing beautiful old homes go into disrepair the fact is it is his property and his right to do with as he pleases. A person’s right to property is a basic right in this country and should be protected above all else.

  41. This is bad enough but to read from the nytimes that the supposed legendary mr Buatta is doing this is especially outrageous. Whether he has the funds to do the works or not is irrelevant. If he doesn’t then he could raise the funds or sell it to someone who does. There is obviously a lot going on in the background that we may not know but his actions alone are pretty damning…how sad. I wonder if it is due to some illness? And I mean that seriously. Sad in so many ways…

  42. So disappointing! At this point, why won’t he just sell it? Is is pride? We are restoring our home in accordance with our state’s historic preservation office (our home is on the national register), and I can honestly say that, at least in our state, they are very accommodating and willing to help in any way. With his available resources, it really is a travesty.

  43. Lisa Stevens says:

    Just signed the petition. Thank you for bringing my attention to the shameful conduct of this designer. I hope it makes a difference!

  44. katie says:

    Mr. Buatta designed a family member’s home in NYC back in his heyday in the 80″s. His behavior does not surprise me one bit. He is (reportedly) a diva and a complete asshole. Shame on him.

  45. Paula says:

    A regular follower who also grew up near this town, worked in Woodstock and spent many a days in Pomfret. This is a tiny slice of heaven that should be left alone in all its glory. I’m so glad you brought this to my attention. Now I adore you for one more reason.

  46. Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors says:

    Erin,

    I just sign the petition and put it up on Facebook.
    I also know this area of CT. It is truly a very special
    place to live. I also know the designer in question.
    I am appalled by his behavior. All I can say is he is
    getting way up there in years. It appears he is just a
    mean old designer. The Prince of Chintz… Now with
    no class !!

  47. Becky says:

    Thinking about this again… this type of behavior gives all Designers a bad name. I am so over the super pretentious behavior.

  48. Greta says:

    I signed it! I never really like Mr. Buatta’s design aesthetic anyway. Too stuffy!

  49. Elizabeth says:

    This is honestly a disgrace. Of him professionally and personally.

  50. Unfortunately there is a level of arrogance that already often exists in our profession, but this is a heightened example where an owner does not take into account that when we lose historic homes we lose our history. It is also incredibly wasteful to let a good home deteriorate no matter its historical relevance. This is a beautiful home with incredible architectural detail and I for one would hate to see its demise. Unfortunately I have my doubts that a petition will make a difference in this situation, although I will sign it. I live in a historic river town of less than a thousand people, and I believe the historic home and building codes here in this tiny town would never allow for this to happen.