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The Daily Dish Southern Charm

Patricia Altschul Honored the Late Mario Buatta, Who Designed Her Iconic Estate

The Southern Charm matriarch joined Martha Stewart in paying tribute to the famed interior designer.  

By Tamara Palmer
Patricia Altschul Mario Buatta Stewart

Patricia Altschul joined Martha Stewart in attending a style lover's dream luncheon at Sotheby's to honor the Southern Charm matriarch's close friend and interior designer, Mario Buatta, who passed away in October 2018 after a battle with pneumonia.

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Buatta was known as the "Prince of Chintz" and designed fantasy homes for celebrity clientele, including Malcolm Forbes, Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, and Mariah Carey. He designed Patricia's incredible Charleston estate, the Isaac Jenkins Mikell House and was also behind the lewks in her former apartment in New York City that is now worth a whopping $19 million.

"Mario and I traveled up and down the entire Eastern seaboard together to find the right house," she shared with Elle Decor. "We went to Virginia, Maryland, and Savannah, and we came to Charleston three different times. Each time we would come to Charleston we would pass this house and it wasn’t on the market but I kept saying, 'That’s the kind of house I want.' Mario loved the look of it and as soon as it came onto the market we came down here to see it. Mario said I had to buy it."

She absorbed infinite lessons on style from her friend.

"I most connected with Mario's use of color, but I really felt a kinship with all of his work," she told the publication. "I connected with his use of antiques and exotic objects, and I also happened to collect many of the same things he collected, like Delft and Chelsea porcelain and dog paintings. He never had a dog, but he loved dogs. In fact he named Lily, my last pug, and he would always give me little pug objects — much of my pug collection was given to me by Mario. We just meshed."

Sotheby's is currently auctioning 1,000 pieces in Buatta's collection — this exhibit offers a glimpse of Buatta's vision.

Sotheby's homage to Buatta looked like a room he would have designed.

Patricia also revealed in her Elle Decor interview that Buatta taught her to think beyond ordinary dimensions.

"I learned the importance of scale," she said. "He was a master at placing furniture exactly where it should be, and it would always be the right size and it would fit perfectly. I never really thought about scale before Mario. Even though I had worked with a decorator when I was living in Washington D.C. I used to buy things and bring them home and they would never look quite right, but I would never know why. Now I know the reason is because they were never the right scale. It is difficult to get scale right."

"It was a bittersweet experience but also one filled with love being in a room filled with his lifelong friends," Patricia later recalled in a sweet Instagram post.

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