Originally from Boston but, as he tells it, always determined to leave Beantown for the glittering lights of New York, Stephen Mallory, ASID, indeed has come a long way. He and his wife Jennifer moved to France (whence he commutes by jet to see his U.S.clients). The chosen mise-en-scene is in deep farm country, at a big distance demographically from the fashionable glamour spots on the southern coast.
Much came to pass in the interim years. Demobbed from the army and enriched (figuratively only) with the G.I. Bill of Rights, Mr. Mallory enrolled at Parsons School of Design. Initial design experience came from working with John Gerald and Melanie Kahane; inspirational guidance was provided by Van Day Truex and Billy Baldwin, who, the spokesman recalls, sent many a rich and important client his way. In the mid-1950s he teamed up with James Tillis as Mallory-Tillis, Inc. In 1977, he founded his namesake firm. Two custom furniture showrooms-to-the-trade, Stephen Mallory Preferred and Domus, were among early side-line ventures. Though highly promising, both were aborted. "I realized I was a better decorator than merchandiser," he concedes.
Nowadays Mr. Mallory concentrates on residential work. He excels at honoring the wishes of his clients, many of them sparking instant name recognition, and most returning for more jobs here and abroad--without bending his standards of taste and style. He believes in simplicity, favoring a neutral palette punctuated with artworks and small doses of pattern. Fussy florals, aggressive rug designs and overly elaborate window treatments do not appeal; he describes his preferred approach as more severe. Only once did he compromise, if not capitulate, and that happened right under his own roof. In the design of the Mr. Mallory's Manhattan townhouse, the lady of the manor was allowed to have the last word. The ensuing look, in the words of the master, is gentle and soft.