In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked some of our favorite Southern design dynasties to recount what makes interior design not only a shared passion and profession but also a family affair.
produced by Margaret Zainey Roux
Q: How long have you been in the design field?
A: 42 years
Q: Tell us about your daughter’s nursery and how it was
A: Jane’s nursery was very avant garde and was swathed entirely in orange Brunschwig & Fils monkey-print wallpaper and fabric. I had a Mies van der Rohe rocking chair with a needlepoint seat cushion handmade by my mother and a daybed made from toilet paper rolls that I assembled from a kit.
Q: When did you realize that your daughter was destined for a career in interior design?
A: I could tell Jane had a flair for the artistic starting when she was 3 or 4. She would come home from preschool with the most creative and imaginative pieces made from Play-Doh and Popsicle sticks. When she was old enough to pick out her own clothes, she would put together the most expressive outfits. And when she was away at boarding school, she would take herself on “field trips” to art museums and galleries.
Q: How would you define your daughter’s design aesthetic?
A: Curated. Colorful. Anything but cookie-cutter.
Q: How does your daughter’s style influence your work?
A: Jane’s Bohemian sensibility and adventurous spirit encourage me to think outside of the box.
Q: What have you learned from your daughter about design?
A: Jane’s approach to design is thoughtful and tactful. As a result, I have learned to be more patient—particularly in the editing process.
Q: How long have you been in the interior design business?
A: On and off for 20 years—as a decorator and also as a contributor for two shelter magazines.
Q: What was your favorite room in your house growing up, and what made it so special and memorable?
A: The playroom. It wasn’t actually a “proper” room but rather a space Mom carved out of a stair landing. It was a tight space, but
that didn’t stop her from going big. There were ridiculously large
yet super-stylish stuffed animals in every corner, as well as built-in storage benches for the little trinkets and toys.
Q: What is the best design advice your mother gave you?
A: Never compromise on your ideas. Clients can often be swayed by outside influences and might ask to switch out certain elements of your design for any number of reasons. When that happens, stand strong or it could lead to a watered-down version of your original concept.
Q: If you could teach your mom one thing, it would be …
A: To be more patient. Then again, she probably thinks I’m too patient.
Q: How would you describe your mother’s design aesthetic?
A: Warm modern.
Q: How does your mother’s style influence your work?
A: My mother’s style has rubbed off on me in many ways, but I believe that I am more influenced by her skill than her style. Perhaps her greatest skill as a designer is her ability to create interiors that reflect her clients’ unique personalities and interests rather than her own. This has influenced the way I work with my clients as it helps me assist them in finding their own style.