Sister Parish Design finds inspiration in the past to design for
today. With a sensibility rooted in traditional, American
decorative arts history, we celebrate the beloved designs from
the prolific Parish Hadley archive.
Decorating is to dream, and Sister Parish Design is a family of
Sister Parish was born Dorothy May Kinnicutt on July 15,
1910. The only sister in a family of three brothers, she
is given the nickname Sister by her three-year-old
brother Frankie. She married Henry Parish II in 1930 and
they had three children- Harry, Apple and DB.
At only 23 years old, and during the height of the Great
Depression, Sister Parish opened her first
decorating business in Far Hills, New Jersey.
After WWII, Sister moved her design studio to 22 East
69th Street in New York City and renamed her firm “Mrs.
Henry Parish II, Interiors”. Sister would be
headquartered there for the next 30 years.
Sister was asked by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to
decorate the Kennedy White House. Working hand in hand
with Jackie, Sister designed the Kennedys private
After decorating The White House, work at Mrs. Parish II
Interiors became increasingly substantial and busy,
Sister needed help. One night while at a dinner party,
her friend Van Day Truex introduced her to a design
prodigy named Albert Hadley.
Hadley joined the firm.
In 1964, Albert Hadley became Sister’s business partner
and the company was renamed. The Parish Hadley design
firm was born.
During the golden age of Parish Hadley, Sister and
Albert’s clients included doyens of society, captains of
industry, and dignitaries including President and Mrs.
John F. Kennedy, philanthropists Brooke Astor and Enid
Annenberg Haupt, William Paley, chairman of CBS, and
members of the Bronfman, Getty, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt
and Whitney families.
Sister stayed on as a partner in the firm into her 80s.
She passed away September 8, 1994 in Maine, leaving a
lasting mark on American decorating. The New York Times
declared: "Mrs. Parish's six decades of decorating
epitomized the rise of women in her own and other
professions in 20th century America. Mrs. Parish is
widely considered to have originated the decorating
idiom known as the American Country style. No one else
in America does a room with such patrician aplomb, such
life-enhancing charm, such a lack of gimmickry or
Albert Hadley manages the Parish Hadley firm until it
closes in 1999.
Resurrecting her grandmother’s design archives, Sister
Parish Design is founded by Susan Crater.
Crater devotes herself to her family's design legacy,
and co-authors Sister's biography with her mother,
Sister's daughter Apple Parish Bartlett.
Susan's daughter, Eliza Crater Harris joins the family
company as Sister Parish Design’s Chief Creative
Director, continuing the female-led legacy of the Sister