An Interview with Mario Buatta!

I’m spending the day outside on the porch, scrubbing down the walls and cleaning off the mildew and yuck caused by months and months of almost constant rain. Boooooorrrrring job. To pass the time, I headed upstairs and grabbed my iPod so I could listen to some of my favorite podcasts while I cleaned.

Screened Porch with Sheer Curtains and White Wicker Furniture


I noticed in iTunes, the ladies at The Skirted Roundtable (Linda, Joni and Megan) have a new podcast up. I just about fell off the ladder when I realized who they were interviewing: Mario Buatta!  Yipee!



His book, Mario Buatta, Fifty Years of Amercian Interior Decoration, is due out next month. I rarely ever pre-order a book (have done it only once before) but I’ve had this one on pre-order since the day I first heard about it in early May.

It’s 432 pages long and 1.9 inches thick! Wow!  This is a big book!  If you think you want it, don’t wait too long to order. During the interview Mario said he has no plans to ever write another one. I guess that’s why this one is so big, it covers his whole career!

Mario Buatta, Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration


Mario is his usual humorous, entertaining self and the stories he tells are a hoot! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book because he revealed during the interview, in addition to photos of his stunning rooms, the book is filled with fun stories about the people he has met and the adventures he has had over the last 50 years of his amazing career.

Beautiful Yellow Room Decorated by Mario Buatta


In case you wondered, he is still working! Currently he’s working on a huge home in Florida with 51 rooms!

I listened to the podcast on iTunes. Hopefully it will be up over at The Skirted Roundtable by the time you  read this. If not, subscribe to TSR in iTunes and listen there. I think interviews hit iTunes before they show up on the blog.

Thank you Joni, Megan and Linda for the interview. I loved it and will listen again!


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  1. You might go to the New York Times website.. In the Style section there is also an interview with him as well as pictures. I thought of you when I saw it. Enjoy!

  2. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! (Or the back porch door, in keeping with chatting with you here.) I saw this as your title when I logged on seconds ago & couldn’t believe it!! How cool, Susan! I can’t believe I had forgotten about his book coming out in October, so what a welcome reminder. I think I will pre-order it, too, as a late birthday gift to myself. I (finally) joined the 21st century & recently got an IPod, so thanks for the infoabout The Skirted Roundtable podcasts. Susan, you have made my day!! First, in helping me figure out how to build the Pottery Barn desk this morning & now with Mario news. Oh, I’m doing a happy dance right now!! :-0

  3. I live in Vancouver, BC and have wrapped-around porches, and railings with turned spindles. Every year, like you, I have to get rid of the mildew accumulated during the winter and I have found that the easiest way is to use TSP diluted in warm water, along with these double sided green and yellow pads: One side for scrubbing, the other one to wipe off and rinse. It works very well, without much scrubbing. Now, a friend of mine is using a product called :”Thirty seconds outdoor cleaner ” and apparently it works like magic. I saw the results! I have yet to try it myself!
    Bon courage!

    • Michelle, I will definitely try the scrub sponge…great idea. I have some areas that are extra stubborn. I think some places will have to be painted again. I’ve never seen it this bad ever. I hope we never have a summer this rainy again…just too much. Thirty seconds sounds intriguing…may have to look for that just to see how it work. I’ve been using a kitchen cleaner that has bleach in it. I don’t use much and then rise it off well afterwards. But some areas are not coming white again.

  4. I was just doing the outdoor shower, but I use the Olympic deck wash, spray it on and rinse it off and it looks like new. Takes all the green away.
    I saw MB once out here in Southampton. He was involved in the annual tent party for our hospital, donated all the fabrics they used.
    Don’t work too hard!

  5. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Oh Susan, you make me tired and a little ashamed. Why don’t I have the energy you have???! Anyway, I’m glad you got your work done and I’m extra glad you got to listen to dear Mario whilst doing it. I only learned of him through you, but like you, am so smitten with his decor AND his charming and funny personality. He’ll surely be tired after working on a 70 room .. er … ‘house.’ Maybe he would be willing to come do a bit of sprucing up at my much humbler abode 😀 *sigh* Wouldn’t that be something ~ to actually have a real, live, Mario Buatta designed home? Wow.


    Here’s the link, Susan. There’s also a slideshow with it. The FLA project is 40 rooms…still a HUGE project! 😀

    • Thanks, Cyndy…I will check it out. I was just listening to the interview again and he said 51 room in the interview. The house grew since the New York interview or maybe it’s two different houses. 🙂

  7. I’ve always loved Mario Buatta, and loved his decorations in Architectural Digest Magazine of Interior Design, (one of my favs) and used to be so inspired with chintz in my previous home. I had chintz living room furniture and all, as it is his specialty for his English style decor. Takes you dear Susan to let us know about this great book of his…I’d love to own it myself too! How great that you listened to his fun interview while you worked away cleaning and I’m sure it entertained you from the tedious job too!!! Thanks and have a great week.

  8. Hi Susan,
    I have a porch that I fight Mildew every year as well in Indiana. I always use a long handled car washing brush and Tide! My beautiful throw pillows from TJ Maxx even got mildew as well!( They are not outdoor material.) This year I thought if there were more air circulating that it might help. So…I have left my ceiling fan on the porch on medium all summer after I completed my spring cleaning, and guess mildew this year. I don’t know what running the fan has done for our electric bill, but I am guessing not much.
    Blessings 🙂

    • Shelly, I’m so glad you mentioned this. I brought my new Ikea pillows (well, they are really a year old but still look brand new) in and have just had my TJMax/HomeGoods pillows out there all summer. They are about 5 years old and kind of faded. Well, I had the same problem…mold on the fabric!!! 🙁 A contractor who has done work on my home has a house on a lake. He told me last summer to leave my fans on all the time because that’s what he does. I was worried it would wear out the fans early and I’d end up having to replace them. Also, wasn’t sure how much it would increase my electric bill. Have you gotten a bill yet? Was it a lot higher? Sounds like he was right and I should have left them on. I think next summer I will. Do you think it will wear our fan(s) out sooner?

      • Susan,
        I just compared our electric bill, last spring/summer with this
        spring/ summer, and it did not appear that it increased our monthly
        bill at all! Last year was a very hot year for us, several days in the
        90’s compared to our mild summer this year. (the air conditioning has
        not run as much with the cooler temps this year) so I would have
        expected a variance in our electric bill just due to that reason
        alone. I am shocked that it really did not effect our bill! 🙂

        I am guessing the fan may wear out quicker leaving it on all the time.
        My husband is an electrician and always recommends Hunter brand. We
        built our home 20 years ago and we have run some of the ceiling fans
        upstairs (often left on for air circulation) and have not needed to
        replace any of them.

        I do know that I have had my screened in porch about 5 years and I
        have had several cushions ruined. The mildew does not always wash out
        on the pillows with removable cover and those with non removable
        covers just get thrown away.. So it has created an expense for me to
        replace them. However, most of these cushions were not really made for

        Give it a try next year, maybe only running one of your fans?

  9. Hi Susan,
    I just moved into a house with a screened in porch. Your blog has been a great source of inspiration for me and I can’t wait to get out to the porch this summer! I have started the process of cleaning it after winter and am wondering how you clean the screens? I tried using the hose on a pressure setting but that didn’t seem to do the job. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Monica. I just wipe the screens down with a damp rag about once a year, using very light pressure so as to not damage the screens. I’ve never tried using a hose. A damp rag works pretty well.

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