More than a year ago, a close friend traveled to Panama and Trinidad to visit family members she said made a footprint in her life. I will never forget the conversations we had about her travels and the pictures she shared through text messages.
Reflecting on my career and the people that have influenced me the most are female matriarchs. My godmother, Maggie, was the warmest person I had ever met in my life and as a little girl, her affection was paramount. Her home was magazine-ready but lived in, she owned a chinoiserie china cabinet and had wing chairs in her living room, along with beautiful antiques. The four-story brick home was very elegant and I remember a feeling of euphoria when I visited her.
It was she that influenced my design style and the appreciation for antiques. The first time I discovered custom workmanship was during a shopping day with her in Manhattan. We went to what’s called a workroom, and a man with a pencil behind his ear showed us beautiful fabrics and began talking about measurements for custom window treatments and bedding in crewel fabric. I was in awe, wonder and relishing to play in fabric all day.
When the furniture sale circular arrived in the mail I’d pick the collection I liked the most and began drawing out floor plans. One day one of my sisters said to me in passing, “You should become an architect." I couldn’t walk down the main shopping thoroughfare in Queens with my mom without stopping to gaze through the furniture store windows dreaming of doing something with furniture. I was a furniture connoisseur in the making.
At home, a Magnolia Stellata tree bloomed against our grey brick pre-war home. The palette foreshadows today's trend of gray neutrals. Toile wallpaper meets you in the front vestibule and it is still a love of mine today.
Someone once said to me of my mom, “Women from Virginia have to have everything just so,” and they weren’t far from wrong. My mother made every Christmas special, she liked unique things including furniture and fashion. Every year during the Christmas holidays, white brocade draperies hung as a backdrop behind the aluminum Christmas tree and polished parquet floors were fun to her and we enjoyed helping her. I experience the same exhilaration when I’m working on a client's home decor.
Mom often teases me about how I often begged to help her paint our house and now I love to paint and dabble in art. Florals were another source of a natural element; our living room always had something cascading on the ledge of the stained glass windows that were dressed with a begonia or fern. Now, I too am a flower girl. I love florals and incorporate them in design, it creates harmony and visual balance. Interior design is honest and authentic today, and in my youth when the art of presentation and creativity was awakened in me. The innate talent of selling well-curated design and decor is a transformative experience for my clients. The indelible footprints of tenacious women and the life I’ve lived with design have been a journey of love.
Interior Design Consultant