I had the good fortune of meeting the interior designer Jeffrey Bilhuber when I photographed his Long Island home for a book I was writing on beach houses of the American East Coast last year. (Coast: Lifestyle Architecture. Images Publishing.) This gracious gentleman would have to be one of the most courteous, most generous and most charming men I have ever met. He may spend his days designing homes for the rich and chic (Anna Wintour and David Bowie among them), and he may have even been invited to Obama’s inauguration (I spotteed the invitation discreetly framed in his downstairs bathroom), but you’d never know it from his demeanour. He is as down-to-earth as an Australian sheep shearer. Only with more manners, of course. And more taste.
His Oyster Bay hideaway, which is more of a grand Great Gatsby mansion than a humble weekender, is testament to his design talents, and one of the most intriguing interiors I’ve ever photographed. Bilhuber is as confident with colour as he is with form and space, and his rooms reflect this. I shot a hall wallpapered in whimsical tangerine and cream, a sitting room dressed in plum and duck-egg blue, and a living room dressed in bold lime, with sofas the colour of summer-ripe apples. The bar and main bedroom, meanwhile, were decorated were in Bloody Mary red, while the kitchen was in black, white and Tiffany blue. Simply extraordinary. For more details, see his new book, The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty (Rizzoli New York, October 2011.)