Partner Jack Conner
2403 W Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78207
60 Sutton Pl S, New York, NY 10022
A.J. Conner House, 301 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022
A.J. Conner House, 400 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022
Andrew Johnston House, 16 Portland Pl, St. Louis, MO 63108
Arthur O. Wellman House, 318 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02116
Billy Rose House, Mt Kisco, NY 10549
Bonwitt Teller, 1331 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Clifford Building, 429 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Col. Walter Pew Penthouse, 31 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075
Crane Haussamen House, 40 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019
Dunhill Tailors, 65 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Founders' Room, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005
Four Seasons and Brasserie restaurants, Seagram Building, 375 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022
George Gross House, 245 Middle Neck Rd, Sands Point, NY 11050
Herman Coffina Penthouse, 241 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
Jared Coffin House, 29 Broad St, Nantucket, MA 02554
Joe S. Werner House, 25 Upper Ladue Rd, St. Louis, MO 63124
John Cloud House, 720 Park Ave, New York, NY 10021
Joseph Klingenstein House, 1120 Park Ave, New York, NY 10128
Joseph P. Binns House, 11 Wampus Close, Armonk, NY 10504
Joseph Wohl House, 15 Manor Ln, Lawrence, NY 11559
Le Directoire nightclub, 160 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017
M. H. Hackett, 19 E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021
Mathew Fox Penthouse, 445 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022
Maurice Levin House, 236 Crestwood Dr, South Orange, NJ 07079
Max Hess House, 2643 W Livingston St, Allentown, PA 18104
Memorial Student Center and Regents' Annex Board Room, Texas A&M University, 275 Joe Routt Blvd #2240, College Station, TX 77843
MetLife Building (formerly Pan Am Building), 200 Park Ave, New York, NY 10166
Milton Steinbach House, The Hampshire House, 150 Central Park South, NY 10019
Milton Steinback House, Rockledge Rd, Rye, NY 10580
New York Hilton Hotel, 1335 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Pahlmannia, Pound Ridge Rd, Bedford, NY 10506
Paul Tishman Office, 21 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021
Pen Ryn Estate, 1601 State Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020
Peter Sharp Reality, 30 E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021
Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Rd, Gladwyne, PA 19035
Prince Matchabelli Perfumes, 707 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Richard Costigan House, 71 E 77th St, New York, NY 10075
Sunset Memorial Park, 1701 Austin Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78218
The Columbus Hotel, NE 1st St & Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
The Palmetto Club, 1231 Sumter St, Columbia, SC 29201
The Pierre, 2 E 61st St & Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Theron Ephron Catlin House, 41 Brentmoor Park, Clayton, MO 63105
West End Presbyterian Church, 165 W 105th St, New York, NY 10025
William Pahlmann Associates, Inc., 119 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann Associates, Inc., 136 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann Associates, Inc., 218 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann Associates, Inc., 231 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann Associates, Inc., 244 E 84th St, New York, NY 10028
William Pahlmann House, 145 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann House, 235 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann House, 350 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
William Pahlmann House, 525 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
William Carroll Pahlmann (December 12, 1900 - November 6, 1987) was a New York-based, mid-twentieth-century interior designer who popularized the eclectic style of design. The eclectic style borrowed decorative elements from different time periods and countries and often used bold color combinations, varying textures, and a mixture of antique and modern furnishings. Pahlmann employed eclectic design principles to accommodate his customers’ personal taste preferences and stressed the importance of comfort, functionality, and adaptability in his work.
William Pahlmann was born on December 12, 1900 in Pleasant Mound, Illinois. His father died when he was six, and the family relocated to San Antonio, Texas, where his mother ran a boardinghouse. At the age of ten, he began to draw freehand and showed an interest in flower-arranging at the local Baptist Church.
After completing high school, he accepted a job as a traveling salesman selling sewer pipe. While he was on the road, he completed a 48-lesson correspondence course from Arts and Decoration Magazine. He moved to New York in 1927 to study interior decoration at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, now the Parsons School of Design. Pahlmann helped pay his way through school as a dancer in Broadway musicals. In 1929, he was given a scholarship to study at Ecole Parsons à Paris (Parsons Paris School of Art and Design) in Paris, France.
Upon his return to the United States in 1931, Seton Henry commissioned Pahlmann to decorate his eighteenth-century home, Pen Ryn, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Pahlmann’s extravagant design quickly garnered attention when the project was featured in Country Life magazine. Shortly after, he decorated a Manhattan apartment for Dorothy Paley, the first wife of William S. Paley, the founder of CBS. Although the ox-yoke headboard he designed for her bed attracted some criticism, the project helped to launch Pahlmann’s career.
In 1936, Pahlmann was hired as the head of the interior decorating and home furnishings department at the Lord & Taylor department store in New York City by Walter Hoving. While in this position, Pahlmann helped to establish the model room as the premier method of advertising store merchandise. Although world’s fairs and museums already employed model rooms, stores had previously presented only vignettes of rooms to their customers. Pahlmann recognized that good interior decorating was also a form of good merchandising.
One of Pahlmann’s most outstanding model rooms was the highly publicized “Pahlmann Peruvian” in November 1941. Following Pahlmann’s five-week tour of South America, Lord & Taylor premiered six model rooms featuring modern and antique Peruvian-style furnishings. The most popular presentation of model rooms, Pahlmann Peruvian attracted 20,000 to 30,000 visitors per month. In addition, Pahlmann’s designs were translated into a line of fabric and rugs for F. Schumacher & Co.
Pahlmann maintained a close relationship with Hoving even after the latter’s departure from Lord & Taylor. He designed several Bonwit Teller department stores while the company was under Hoving’s leadership.
In 1942, Pahlmann left his position at Lord & Taylor and volunteered for the United States Army Air Corps. During the war he directed the Jefferson Barracks Camouflage School in St. Louis, Missouri. In a 1984 interview, he described one of his demonstrations of camouflage:
"We staged mock assaults on barracks and towns. I built a town in the south of France. We had great big two-story houses, all beautiful French architecture. Then we attacked the village, with recordings of bombs going off. And this is where the camouflage came in--with the pull of a string the whole house would collapse and reveal an anti-aircraft gun emplacement. It was all to deceive the eye, and quite a show."
Pahlmann resigned from the armed forces at the end of the war, having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Upon his return to civilian life, Pahlmann founded the design firm William Pahlmann Associates in New York City in 1946. In addition to residential designs, William Pahlmann Associates were involved in a variety of commercial projects, including department stores, restaurants, offices, hotels, showrooms, and university buildings. Most of William Pahlmann Associates’ clients came from the New York metropolitan area, but the firm also completed projects internationally in the Bahamas, Cuba, Venezuela, and Hong Kong. Among the firm’s more renowned projects were The Forum of the Twelve Caesars restaurant in Manhattan, the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, and the Margaret Cousins residence in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Pahlmann also collaborated on the Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan with architect Philip Johnson and was the innovator behind the idea of changing the décor according to the seasons. At the time of its completion in 1959, the Four Seasons Restaurant was said to be the costliest restaurant ever constructed.
In addition to their work in interior decoration, William Pahlmann Associates were also involved in industrial design. The firm designed furniture, upholstery fabric, wall coverings, tile, and other decorative accessories for use in the home. In 1949, Pahlmann designed the Momentum line of furniture, which featured large, semi-pneumatic wheels that allowed even the heaviest pieces to be easily moved and rearranged. The 1952 Hastings Square line of furniture utilized small rubber casters to achieve mobility, but also provided sleek forms, clean lines, and warm tones to an increasingly discerning audience.
From 1971 to 1976, William Pahlmann Associates worked on designing interiors for three new buildings at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas: a Theater Arts Center, a 12-story Conference tower, and the Memorial Student Center. After renovations to the Memorial Student Center were complete, many students objected to the new decorating scheme, finding the furnishings “too extravagant and inappropriate for the purpose of a student center.” A 1975 questionnaire issued by the campus newspaper found that ninety-two percent of respondents disliked the new furnishings, finding the space “stiff, formal, and unfriendly.” It was to be the firm’s final project. Following its completion, William Pahlmann retired.
Pahlmann lectured extensively throughout his career and sought to share his design ideas with a wide audience. From 1962 to 1973, he wrote a syndicated, thrice-weekly column entitled “A Matter of Taste” that ran in newspapers across the country and in several Latin American countries. In his column, Pahlmann provided his audience with general information on taste and style and introduced them to the basic principles of good design. He often wrote about the importance of color, balance, and the incorporation of modern and traditional design elements. Despite the democratic nature of his lectures and columns, Pahlmann insisted the average person did not have the necessary skills to design a successful interior and should consult a professional if at all possible.
Following his retirement, William Pahlmann spent most of his time at his homes in San Antonio, Texas and Guadalajara, Mexico. He gave up his last New York City apartment in 1985. Suffering from arteriosclerosis for many years, Pahlmann died on November 6, 1987 in Guadalajara. He was survived by his partner of 35 years, Jack Conner.
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