If you could have a second home anywhere, where would you live? I am lucky enough to get to spend time in the Pacific Northwest in a town called Port Townsend on Puget Sound, and it is the most relaxing place in the world for me.
Tell us about your childhood bedroom? I got to meet with my mother’s decorator when I was 10, and I chose a room with chocolate brown walls, ivory trim, a natural woven chevron carpet, and navy and beige fabrics. The furnishings were obviously more 70’s, but the scheme would make me happy even today.
What’s the first investment piece you ever bought for your house? I never think of things as investments – only if I like them. So a cheap little tin toy that I found in Chinatown can be as important to me as a much more costly painting, which I had to fight for at auction.
In the history of design, if you could hire any designer other than yourself, who would it be? I’d want to get Van Day Truex and Henri Samuel to help me. It would be interesting to learn from their differing points of view.
No room is complete without my eye and hand on it : )
Things you omit from:
A flower arrangement: the smell of tuberose makes my head hurt
An hors d’oeuvre platter: smoked salmon is not for me
A bar cabinet: anything that isn’t actually used
A song for:
Dinner at home : Aretha Franklin’s early Blues albums
Working at your desk: Wagner or Radiohead
Going for a run: anything from Switched on Bach to Led Zeppelin
Biggest Vice? - those little cans of Pringles in every hotel mini bar. I cannot hold myself back from “disposing of” the contents entirely.
If you were on an Ambien high and internet shopping, what would you buy?land, trees and plants
Do your clothes reflect your design sensibility, if so, how? I don’t like to spend much time on clothes and have a sort of perhaps boring, preppy daily uniform. But I do love beautifully made jackets and shoes, so I guess that reflects the tailored or custom aspects of my design work.
Who is your star crush? Dolly Parton
If there were a fire, and you could only keep one design book, what would it be? “Inspired Design, the 100 Most Important Designers of the Past 100 Years” would be a great compendium to hold onto until I could rebuild my library.
For posterity, what would you like your work to be known for? For being carefully thought out and adaptable to the different projects and clients.
A Few Favorites:
Movie: Visually – Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon
Book: “The Sound and the Fury”
The fabric you always come back to: cotton velvets
Dream project: to work on Ditchley Park for Dolly Parton
Meal: the sole at La Grenouille
Drink: a Manhattan in winter, a Negroni Sbagliato in summer
Hotel: the Villa San Michele outside Florence or Tortuga Bay in the Dominican Republic, which I got to work on.
Travel Destination: Need to go to India – need to make the time.
Artist: No one can paint like Sargent.
Thing to collect obsessively: shells and natural specimens, since I was little, and naturalistic drawings
Era in the history of design: all of them
Museum: The Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, which is one of the most interesting house museums I have ever seen – Saarinen’s only residential commission in America, with interiors by Alexander Girard and gardens by Dan Kiley.
Paint color that always look great: nothing like a fresh coat of white paint to clean things up!
Favorite person to follow on Instagram: I enjoy teasing and harassing Alexa on Instagram – reminds me of our university days, when I was just a young freshman, and she was completing the last of her many, lengthy graduate degrees.
Dogs, Cats, or No Pets? I like or at least respect all animals, but dogs are my favorite – maybe even preferable to people : )