Creativity is an Early Riser

The Creative Process with Interior Designer Cindy McCord

Cindy McCord has been decorating houses all her life. As a child, she constantly rearranged the furniture in her bedroom and the family room of her East Memphis home. Cindy loved continually changing things while simultaneously keeping them simple, well edited and organized. Her mother was a busy teacher and loved coming home to see Cindy’s newest look.

Cindy’s mom gave her the go-ahead to develop her design skills and contributed to her work ethic. Cindy rises early in the morning, like her mother did, to prepare for her day. She doesn’t set the alarm but often is awake at 2:00 in the morning. She heads up to her office and begins checking emails, preparing the work baskets for her employees and checking-in design items that have shipped overnight.

As a busy mother herself to three grown children all living in Memphis, Cindy attributes her efficiency to having her office in her home. “I want to take it all on and make it happen. Working out of my home has been the key to getting everything done. I can stay up late or wake up early, and I don’t waste time in a car.”

Cindy began her career in hospitality design in 1981. “It was honestly the best experience and training from a technical standpoint, not to mention the relationships developed and the exposure to 100 other designers and architects. It was not my passion to stay in hospitality design, but those 12 years paved the path to where I am today.”

Many years later, Cindy is one busy designer! She works on new construction projects that often last 2-3 years, in addition to renovation projects. She has two booths at La Maison, stocked with items for use in her own projects and for local Memphians to purchase. “I’ve done this a long time, and I love, love, love what I do. I do it all day long and half the evening!” And Cindy’s clients reciprocate that love.

A recent renovation in Germantown started as a small project and turned into a 4-year overhaul. “The clients originally asked me to come in and make some changes. These changes turned into my suggestion to bring in an architect. The next thing we knew, we changed a few walls and added square footage. We ended up with a complete transformation.” The project grew because of the client’s needs and wants, but it also evolved because Cindy was astute enough to realize that structural changes were needed to achieve the client’s overall design objectives. Their trust in Cindy grew during the process and they realized they wanted her involvement in every room in the house.

This house is large, and one of Cindy’s greatest challenges was finding ways to make it feel cozy. Cindy upholstered the chairs in the dining room and added a modern, oversized chandelier and Madeaux wallpaper to warm up the space. Cindy used many of the clients’ own items in styling the family room bookshelves while adding a wood-grained Thibaut wallpaper and colorful pillows. She also designed storage cabinets in the breakfast room with custom mirrors created by local framer Chris Garner.

Along with builder Thomas Wirth and architect Jeff Bramlett, Cindy created a home that flows seamlessly from one room to the next with functionality that meets all the client’s needs. In any project, the key to success is communication. According to Cindy, “I listen first to the client, and then it’s my job to lead them in the direction I think they should go.” 

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