William C. Pahlmann, credited with being the first interior decorator to provide model rooms of furniture for department stores, with introducing Hollywood beds and double dressers and for featuring the blond Scandinavian furniture that proved popular in the 1940s, has died at his retirement home in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Pahlmann, whose design credits include the plush modern interiors of the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, said to be the world's most expensive when it opened in 1959, was 86 when he died last Friday.
A native of Illinois who was raised in San Antonio, Pahlmann was a salesman for a plumbing company who had shown an early interest in drawing. To occupy himself while he was traveling, he enrolled in an art correspondence course. In 1927, he moved to New York where he studied at the Parsons School of Design. He later studied at the Parsons school in Paris.
An Early Customer
He opened his first shop in New York in 1931, and one of his early customers was Dorothy Paley, first wife of William S. Paley of CBS. Pahlmann's designs--one of which featured the yokes of oxen as headboards for beds--so intrigued her that she sent her friends in and he became successful.