Richard L. Ridge
SHARON — Richard L. Ridge, one of the country’s leading interior decorators, who was known for his color and comfort, died on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. He was 93.
His sudden and unexpected death was confirmed by his husband and business partner of 40 years, Roderick Denault.
Richard was born in Kansas City, Mo., on June 22, 1928, to Francis L. and Guy R. Ridge. His father had a banking business in Kansas City and also worked for the government in Washington, D.C.
Richard graduated from Pembroke Country Day School and attended the University of Missouri. He was a member of the XiXi Chapter of Sigma Chi. He served in the Army in Germany for two years during the Korean War.
After getting out of the Army, his father gave Dick and his mother a six-month trip to Europe. This is how his collecting and knowledge of the arts began.
Dick worked for his father’s banking business but banking was not to be in his future. He got a job at Ray Bates Interior Design. Clients loved Dick and encouraged him to start his own business. He decided to move to Washington, D.C., where his business took off instantly.
He met his first love, Joe Barrett. They had a townhouse in Georgetown and a home in Middleburg, Va. Joe died at an early age from a brain aneurysm.
Dick decided to make the big leap and move to New York City. He became the darling of the press and had many celebrity clients such as Ruth Warrwick, Susan and David Brinkley, Rex Reed, Aldo Gucci and Nancy Ames. Nancy said, “Knowing and loving Dick Ridge for 63 years simply wasn’t long enough. Our initial appreciation of each other’s talent grew into a deep affection, keeping us in each other’s lives wherever we roosted.”
In 1982 Richard met Roderick and they lived and worked together for the next 40 years. They were co-chairmen of the prestigious Kips Bay Boys and Girls Showhouse for 10 years, They created nine rooms for the showhouse, more than any other designer has ever done.
In addition to their apartment in Manhattan, they also had a home in Sharon. They were members of the Sharon Country Club. For a few years they had an antique shop in Washington Depot. They have appeared on television, radio and gave numerous lectures around the country.
His great friend, and acclaimed architect, Preston Philips said, “Dick was a mentor of my fledgling architectural practice in the mid ’70s. He told me early on that no matter how successful I become to never believe my own press, an edict I continue to follow.”
Richard was a great horseman. Together they had 11 Hackney Ponies. They won the 2-year-old horse of the year award in London. They won horse championships in the United States and Canada. Richard received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the Devon Horse Show. When he was notified of the award, Rod said, “A Lifetime Achievement Award was like winning an Oscar!” Dick replied “No Rod, its like winning the Nobel Peace Prize.”
In addition to his beloved Roderick, he is survived by their kitty, Reggie Von Schnauzer.
Donations in Richard’s name would be most appreciated to the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair Foundation.