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Frances Elkins

Frances Elkins

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Visionary American Designer

Scott Powell

The first comprehensive book on the timeless, elegant interiors of Frances Elkins, the grande dame of early twentieth-century design who influenced so many important designers of our time.

Called “the most exciting designer we have ever had” by Billy Baldwin, Frances Elkins has been revered for her classic, elegant, and timeless decor. Ahead of her time, Elkins became a successful designer in the man’s world of the 1920s and ’30s, with a talent rivaled only by her formidable sense of style.

Known as the “first great California designer,” Elkins brought an international perspective and architectural sensibility to her work. With a social circle that included prominent artists and designers such as Jean-Michel Frank, Coco Chanel, and Alberto Giacometti, Elkins traveled widely with her brother, architect David Adler, introducing a modern European chic to her clients. She collaborated with craftsmen and artists, commissioning handloomed carpets, Mexican silverware, decorative finishes, and custom furniture, which gave her interiors their distinctive elegance and polish.

Showcasing never-before-published material, Frances Elkins includes more than sixty interiors that illustrate her outstanding sense of color and her gift of mixing periods and styles—from her early work in Pebble Beach, to houses she designed with her brother in Chicago in the 1930s, to iconic hotel commissions of the 1940s such as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, to midcentury homes for William Paley and David O. Selznick. With images by top photographers of the day, this volume will serve as a revelation and inspiration to fans of design.

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