Life is a Circle

Last Friday, Florence Knoll, the renowned mid-20th-century furniture designer, died at 101. Knoll worked with Modernist masters and Bauhaus founders Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Marcel Breuer. In a strange twist of fate, on Friday one of my mother’s custom Florence Knoll couches, 2 Mies van der Rohe chairs, ottoman, and coffee table arrived at my home.

My mother bought this furniture for her Boston pied-à-terre when she was married to an architect who came from the Bauhaus school and worked with Walter Gropius. Gropius was our neighbor at our home outside of Boston. Excluding the Vineyard house, all of Mother’s homes were mid-century modern and were showcased in interiors magazines (I’ll share some photographs in a post).

In a rebellious move, when I decorated my own home I embraced traditional interior design. I bowed to Cowtan & Tout and Brunschwig & Fils and piping became my obsession. My mother was horrified. But, now my slipcovered Park Avenue circa 1960s pieces are in storage and, ironically, Mother’s furniture looks right at home. Life is certainly a circle.


  1. I think it’s great that you have inherited your mom’s collection of mid-century furniture. I appreciate re-using family pieces of furniture…I’m sure you feel good surrounding yourself with great items that remind you for someone you love….BRAVO

  2. Preston,
    How wonderful to revisit these pieces.
    And yet another testament to good design and great quality never go out of style.

  3. I love this post. It’s so true that our eye changes, evolves and sometimes returns back to where it started. Please do share more pics. That one is wonderful.

  4. It’s funny Preston I was just thinking today that my eye for design and interiors style evolves and changes much more than my fashion style. It’s wonderful that you keep your mind open to new things and appreciation for older things.

  5. Preston, I grew up in Brookline. I was wondering where outside of Boston you grew up?
    Love the furniture! How wonderful to live with family heirlooms that don’t look like heirlooms… they look fresh and current.
    Love, Pamela Taft

    1. We had a house in Lincoln, which was great when I was in boarding school at Concord Academy and my mother was mostly in the Back Bay apartment or traveling… Brookline is ideal because you are a heartbeat away from downtown Boston, but in a beautiful suburb — best of both worlds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.