Decorating & Design

November 6, 2009

The David Hicks Legacy

Recently, a new book came across my desk: David Hicks: A Life of Design by his son Ashley Hicks.

David Hicks Book Cover

I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the most comprehensive look at the influential designer’s life yet: it follows the designer from his childhood through his career and family life until 1998, when he passed. While I’m not a fan of everything David Hicks, there is a lot to be said for his design legacy. His work was done in the ‘50s and ‘60s yet a lot of it looks current and still influences many designers today.

Hicks Living Room

Green Hicks Living Room

His signature mark of coordinating wallpaper and fabric became a sign of 1960s trad with a twist décor and thanks in part to our belovedly departed Domino magazine, it’s back on trend today.

Hicks Spread Bedrooms

Hicks was also a master of featuring a dramatic four-poster bed, often paired with a tub in the middle of the room. It’s a glamorous treatment and one that takes a certain confidence, in more ways than one. 

Hicks Four Poster Bed

Hicks Bath Tub

I’m a big fan of Muriel Brandolini and some of David Hicks’ use of deep saturated colour and lots of layers reminds me of her work. This one is David Hicks, more on the formal traditional side.

Hicks Room WIth Zebra Rug

And this is Muriel Brandolini, more on the exotic side.

Muriel Brandolini Living Room

A lot of Jonathan Adler’s interiors have a Hicks influence as well but with more a sense of humour. Love this outdoor dining space that Adler did with the architecture framing the view…so 1950s.

Jonathan Adler Patio

Jonathan Adler Interiors

Adler uses this Hicks-inspired honeycomb graphic a lot but personally I prefer a softer more livable take like Madeline Weinrib’s fabrics (clockwise from top left: Blue ivy, grey chevron, black isabelle, pink brooke).

Madeline Weinrib Fabrics

And I love Allegra Hicks’ Spheres and Twigs dhurries for their more organic, grid-like use of pattern. It’s interesting to see how all three of his children carried on their design gene with their own unique spin.

Allegra Hicks Spheres Dhurrie

Allegra Hicks Twigs Dhurrie

Ashley Hicks recently designed a collection of marble and limestone flooring for Studium that reinterprets his father’s iconic style in tile work. It looks stunning in a front hall foyer.

Studium Tile By Ashley Hicks

Studium Tile Console Vignette 

And of course there is also the infamous India Hicks. You can see formal elements in her designs from her British upbringing, paired with the more casual, plantation-style influence from her life in the Bahamas.

India Hicks Dining Room 

Photo credits:
David Hicks: A Life Of Design by Ashley Hicks (
 2009 RIzzoli)
8. Muriel Brandolini
9-10. Jonathan Adler
11. Madeline Weinrib
12-13. Allegra Hicks
14-15. Studium
16. India Hicks for Crabtree & Evelyn Island Living