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2010 AD100: Diane Burn

When Diane Burn talks about her interiors, she uses the language of enchantment—“ illusion,” “charm,” “fantasy.” “Imagination is huge for me,” explains the designer. “All of my interiors make you feel transported to another era.” Heavily influenced by European design (“Even as a child I had a passion for Versailles”), her tranquil, romantic rooms evoke those of 18th-century châteaus. Louis XVI pieces and whimsical print and check fabrics, not to mention her signature wall treatments, all figure prominently. “I really don’t do modern,” says Burn, who counts among her inspirations designers Renzo Mongiardino and Madeleine Castaing and collector Lillian Williams. “I long for the return of classicism or traditional design.”

While all of Burn’s rooms have a feminine sensibility, she doesn’t balk at heavy lifting. “I once purchased an 18th-century ruin atop a Tuscan hill above Porto Ercole, a little sea resort. I had to completely renovate it, starting with only three walls. I adhered to the original architecture, brought all of the utilities up two miles and flew in an artist to create frescoes and murals.” On top of all that, says Burn, “I didn’t know the language or the governmental requirements.” The results? “Magical.” Having recently bought a house in West Palm Beach, Burn now divides her time between Florida and New York. “My next fairy tale,” she confides, “would be to decorate a Mizner.”

Diane Burn

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