William Adair founded Gold Leaf Studios in 1982. Based in Washington, D.C., he is an internationally recognized authority on frame fabrication, conservation, gilding, and large-scale architectural gilding. In addition to custom framing, Gold Leaf Studios has a collection of over 3,000 antique frames that are available to clients. He works with private collectors, museums, galleries, historic homes, universities, government agencies, and architectural and interior design firms. William shared his favorite things about France and the United States for this installment of Vingt Questions.
Favorite place to visit in France, and why?
St. Omer. It is the highest point on its latitude in Europe until the Urals, and Marylanders John and Charles Carroll studied there in the 18th century.
Favorite place to visit in America, and why?
Annapolis, Maryland, the state capital but also a small port town. My mother came from Annapolis and my father, originally from California, graduated from the United States Naval Academy.
What do you think the French can learn from Americans?
What do you think Americans can learn from the French?
Favorite French film?
Favorite American film?
Irma La Douce (1963)
Favorite French actor or actress?
Favorite American actor or actress?
Most important French figure in history and why?
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. He was key to the establishment of our relationship. My grandfather, Charles Lafayette Adair, was named after him.
Most influential American figure and why?
George Washington. He was a catalyst for change.
What is your favorite American luxury?
Tiffany & Company
What is your favorite French extravagance?
Favorite American food?
Favorite French food?
Chicken Cordon Bleu
The quality you most admire about the French and Americans?
I admire their openness.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My daughter and grandchildren and achieving the Rome Prize in Design.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Name three people, dead or alive, who you would most like to have dinner with?
Leonardo da Vinci, Catherine de Medici, and Charles I of England.
Relative to your field of study, what is the most important tradition to keep alive?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A glass of wine, a good conversation, a mellow dog (springer spaniel), and a fire when it’s snowing outside.