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About Leta Austin Foster & Associates

Palm Beach, FL

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Designs should be timeless.

Leta Austin Foster founded her interior design firm in 1975. Guided by years of experience and an exceptional range of styles, she has always followed her mantra to “never do the same job twice.” Working with her daughters, her firm has become one of the top design firms of the East coast, with a range of clients and project locations. She has worked on jobs from contemporary to traditional, from a sleek Manhattan townhouse to a 19th century mansion in Northern California to a colonial, Bahamian island house on the beach in Florida, working always to keep design schemes grounded within their environments and in tune with the client’s vision.

Leta has established herself as a leading talent in the interior design world and has been lauded by House and Garden as one of America’s Greatest Interior Decorators and by House Beautiful as one of America’s most trailblazing designers. She has contributed design advice to Elle Décor, Traditional Home, Veranda and House Beautiful. Her work has been published in several books and all major design magazines and was commemorated in the book, “Traditional Interiors: Leta Austin Foster, India Foster and Sallie Giordano,” by Brian Coleman (Gibbs-Smith, 2015).

Leta has participated in the Kips Bay, the Rogers Memorial in Southampton and the Red Cross in Palm Beach show houses. Leta was asked to be the inaugural speaker of the Polly Jessup Design Series, an annual design lecture series at the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. Leta received an honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design in 2017. Leta was awarded the Addison Mizner Award for Interior Design from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art in 2018.

Ten Questions

What’s your go-to classic color choice?
Blue and white - there are so many iterations of this combination - I use it time and time again.
Is there a hotel that’s most inspired your work while traveling?
La Mirande in Avignon. Every room is a revelation. It was a private home that was carefully restored and remodeled as a hotel. The attention to detail, the historical sensitivity, the respect for the spirit of the place are all so evident. It really is a masterpiece. The design definitely combines comfort and old world elegance in a way that inspires me.
Which pieces of technology do you use to document design inspiration?
My iPhone is amazing. It's so easy for me to use and boy do I use it! I take pictures of antiques, buildings, gardens, paintings, client's furniture - I even take pictures of pictures! It a priceless tool for any designer.
Where do you go to spot new style?
Well I love to go do things - see a new art gallery, go to fun party, take a trip some place wonderful - so I see new style in all sorts of places. And usually when I am at home, I am reading - books, magazines, newspapers - so I see a lot of design and fashion ideas there. Basically, I'm always training my eye. It's what keeps me sharp!
Do you have a favorite restaurant (for the design and the food, of course)?
I think sitting outside at L'Oustau de Baumanière is one of life's great pleasures. The food is so exquisite, the grounds are spectacular and the sweeping views of the green forests against the white Alpilles mountains are just breathtaking.
What’s your favorite small museum in the world?
I've always loved the Guggenheim in Venice. The building has such a special feeling.
How do you usually start your weekend?
Coffee and the Saturday crossword.
Who or what is your biggest design influence?
Oh there are so many - Henri Samuel, Cofefax & Fowler, Maison Jansen, Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, Nancy Lancaster, Billy Baldwin, Elsie de Wolfe - it's so hard to narrow down.
How do you keep it all together?
I am so lucky to work with my talented daughters, the wonderful girls who help me in my store and my office, my great clients, and all the accomplished professionals I've teamed up with. It's really not that hard to keep it all together when you have a great team.
Design a garden: groomed or freestyle?
Either, I just love gardens. They are one of my great passions.

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