Sunday, February 18, 2007

Betty Sherrill

Ann Pyne, Betty Sherrill, and Elizabeth Pyne
Betty Sherrill. One of the most influential interior decorators of the past half century, Mrs. Sherrill started out working for Mrs. Brown at McMillen and eventually ended up (after Mrs. Brown’s retirement) owning the majority stock in the firm that has decorated the houses, apartments, yachts, offices and private airplanes of some of the most famous names and fortunes in America and the world. A girl from Louisiana who came to New York when she married investment banker Virgil Sherrill, she reflects on her career with a modesty that is believable even if not true. Her signature is classic and lastingness. Her own very stylish duplex apartment has not been re-done in more than forty years. As head of the board of her building (One Sutton Place South), one of the most prestigious residential apartment buildings in New York, Mrs. Sherrill is regarded as a very important political power. Despite her fulltime career, she has always managed a fulltime social life which greatly included volunteer and philanthropic activity both in New York and in Southampton where the Sherrills have lived in a Stanford White-designed weathered shingled cottage for more than forty years. Mother and grandmother, she oversees her business interests with what appears to be an iron hand (in a velvet glove) but at the end of the day, it’s her garden in Southampton where she finds the pleasure and the outlet for her passion for living and for her family.