there has been such an amazing response to part 1 of the MDS Interview with Bruce Budd, I’m sure you are all anxious for part 2- Bruce Budd’s favorite things! before we get to that i want to share a little more with you about the brilliant bruce budd.

For well over a decade Bruce designed and decorated interiors for only two clients, at their request- the billionaire philanthropists and collectors Paul and Bunny Mellon.

Paul Mellon, often called the greatest art collector of the 20th century, gave us the extraordinary East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, the I.M. Pei-designed addition to the museum (itself a gift from Andrew Mellon, Paul’s father) and Yale’s distinguished Center for British Art, designed by Louis Kahn and recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful museums (and where our Bruce created the celebrated Founders Room). Among Paul Mellon’s many staggering gifts to our nation (and to environmental conservation, I might add) are Cape Hatteras and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Bunny Mellon, the legendary tastemaker most recently dubbed “The Last Empress” by the New York Times, is herself celebrated for her contributions to design- gardens especially, most notably the Rose Garden and the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at the White House.

Over the years she worked with such stellar decorators as Syrie Maugham, John Fowler and Billy Baldwin. When Bruce Budd began working with the Mellons, the couple spent their time among eight magnificent residences around the world (with 350 people on staff, no less) from New York and Paris to the West Indies and Virginia, home to Oak Spring,  their legendary 4,000-acre estate.

About two years ago, after numerous inquiries about his availability, Bruce decided to take on new commissions and clients; he was Bunny Mellon’s last decorator. Among Bruce’s recent projects, is a beach house on Long Island’s East End, a major “cottage” in Southampton, and an historic house in Houston. Any favorite projects? i ask. “They’re all my favorites,” says the busy and somewhat shy designer, laughing. We hope to see more of Bruce’s work- and soon! until then enjoy a glimpse into more of bruce budd’s world and his favorite things!

Thank you bruce for the honor and joy of this interview. like we always say, “all is happy and beautiful!”

MDS- Currently, what is your favorite Color?

BB- Most shades of blue, many shades of white; pale gray; citron.

Bird’s-eye view of Bruce Budd’s third-floor terrace, just off his bedroom: blue-and-white striped rug, flowering fruit trees and clipped boxwood create a glamorous refuge. Fortuny print on cushions. 

Bruce Budd’s decorator show house room, with Budd-designed steel bed and Houdon terra cotta bust. House Beautiful cover 

Yale’s distinguished Center for British Art Founders room created by bruce.


MDS- What is your favorite Book?

BB- “Call Me by Your Name” , by Andre Aciman, and I recently started Matthew Parker’s “The Sugar Barons”.




MDS- What is your favorite restaurant?

BB- Da Fiore, Venice. The food’s superb, but the walk home is sublime.

Da Fiore Restaurant, Venice 


MDS- What is your favorite accessory?

BB- My iPhone, though I sometimes leave home without it; you have to. And my Schlumberger cuff links. They were Jean Schlumberger’s own, his favorite pair, and he left them to Bunny Mellon, his great friend and patron. Mrs. Mellon gave them to me many years ago with the loveliest note attached. Actually, I prefer the note to those two little gold nuggets – though they are, truly, small splendors.

Pot de Fleur” by Jean Schlumberger. A modest terracotta pot ornamented with gold and square-cut emeralds, diamonds, garnets and a sapphire. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Mrs. Paul Mellon. 


MDS- What is your favorite gift to give or receive?

BB- Books, with chocolate a close second.

Budd designed floor-to-ceiling bookcases in the hallway leading to his dressing room and bath. 


MDS- What is your favorite flower?

BB- Lily of the valley (late spring); peonies (summer); tulips (winter).

Peonies in Bruce’s bath, with architectural drawings and prints hung floor to ceiling 


MDS- What is your favorite artist?

BB- Just one? Let’s see: Goya, Freud, Twombly and Johns. Turner, of course – and Matisse. Shall I keep going?

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes – The Countess of Chinchón 

Portrait of a Young Man – Lucien Freud 


MDS- What is your favorite Indulgence?

BB- Spending time hiking the trails at a place called Notchview, in western Massachusetts. With over 3,000 acres, Notchview was one of the last of the great Gilded Age estates in the Berkshires – and it was owned by my great-uncle. My father spent much of his life there, and his uncle gave Notchview to the Trustees of Reservations, a preservation and conservation organization, for all of us to use and enjoy. Exploring those trails today as I did with my father so many years ago brings me back to a simpler time, clears my mind, and, well, makes me appreciate a good pair of walking shoes.

Miles of groomed trails pass through these deep plantations of Norway spruce – planted in the 1930s by A.D. Budd as an experiment in forestry. 

Old back roads at Notchview 

View of the main house at Notchview, home to Arthur D. Budd and Helen Gamwell Budd, with a glimpse of the fabled terraced gardens in the foreground. 

Autumn at Notchview 


MDS- What is your favorite store?

BB- The Printery, Gianni Basso Stampatore.

Gianni Basso Stampatore 


MDS- What is your favorite vacation spot?

BB- Megeve. Years ago, friends and I took a chalet there. When we arrived, all was fogged in; it was truly terrible. I thought, well, we’ll probably be driving into Geneva for fun this week. In the morning, though, my friend and I opened the shutters to our bedroom, the sun streamed in, and there it was, in all its snow-capped beauty: Mont Blanc! That holiday turned out to be perhaps my best ever.

Mont Blanc 


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