January 13,2023

2010 AD100: Thomas Britt

by David Stewart

The inimitable Thomas Britt, who has been a force in interior design for some 40 years, counts the Venetian palazzi Labia, Brandolini and Ca’ Rezzonico as the pinnacles of stylish living. Although Britt is as American as they come—he hails from Kansas City, Missouri—he has learned a lesson from the Venetians: how to combine the restraint of classicism with the luxury of rich detail. For all that, he brings a singularly American clarity and freshness to every room he touches. For Britt, who has an 11-person firm in New York, design is a multilayered affair. “I like an organized structural basis,” says the admirer of the seminal Italian architect Palladio (La Malcontenta is another favorite property). “I am very aware of scale and exercise it whether the project is contemporary or has antiques woven in.”

For wall treatments and draperies, he is not opposed to Italian flamboyance. “I like to use a whole gamut of colors,” he says. As for the later stages—such as furnishings—Britt often creates what the room needs himself, from sofas to cabinets to light fixtures. “I’ve always designed my own furniture,” he says. He arranges these pieces, along with the singular accessories he has a knack for discovering, with an instinct for proportion and placement. “Many people think that design is about gathering some fabrics and furniture,” he says, but, as the Italians well know, “that’s basically the icing on the cake.”

Thomas Britt


  • David Stewart
  • January 13,2023

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