We as a nation are a classless society. We follow the British royal tabloids for vicarious pleasure, but embrace the ideal that all men are created equal. The Windsor chair as we know it was developed somewhere in England, possibly Windsor, around 1725. America embraced this form, as we are less about formality and more about comfort.
You can almost imagine George and Martha Washington sitting in these chairs in the afternoon with the family watching the Potomac flow by. They were our first royal family, receiving dignitaries and guests on their 8000 acre estate.
I have been to Mount Vernon twice and continue to be amazed at the colors used in the interiors. The moneyed public at the time was traveling to Herculaneum and Pompeii and reviving the colors found in the renovated ruins. They were influenced by the latest fashion, just as we pickup fashions from our travels. When I teach my continuing education course for Interior Designers on American Antiques, one of my true/false test questions states that “George Washington furnished his home with priceless antiques.” About 50% of the students find the statement true. The home was actually furnished with the latest in fashion at the time – cutting edge materials and styles. And they ordered most of it from catalogs, such as Thomas Chippendale’s “Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director”. Local cabinetmakers clustered on the coast where mahogany came in as ballast on the ships. They used Chippendale’s catalogs to inspire their clients to commission the latest “contemporary furnishings”.
Our delivery of style has changed over time, but this classic chair has retained its original form. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
I just returned from several days in Tempe, Arizona observing the grading session of the NCIDQ exam. I am always amazed at what makes people leave their jobs and their weekends at home to volunteer their time to a cause.
Not-for-profit organizations operate off of their volunteers. I am approaching a year of serving as President of the Council of Interior Design Qualification. When my husband, who knows how busy my design practice is, asked me why I would want to do that, my answer was that I didn’t know how not to. A friend told me that my clients would not care what was on my resume. That caused me to do some soul searching for the answer of why I would give that amount of time. I know that it will give back to my profession that I still love as much as my first day in it. I will get to travel over the US and Canada, meeting with others leaders and volunteers, eating great food and seeing things I would never see on my own. But I think that mostly I am doing it for myself, for the personal growth. Volunteerism is a low hanging fruit that anyone can pick and profit from. And it looks great in your obit.
When I look out of my window at any point during a given day, there is a path that led me to this window. My circa 1915 office window is overlooking a turn of the 20th century neighborhood in Georgia, which is my comfort zone. I am drawn to historic houses and friendly gentrified neighborhoods. My window at home overlooks a pond and woods full of wild things, a place I willingly followed my husband of 37 years. When I travel around the US and Canada in my role as president-elect for NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) the view from my window is overlooking various great cities beckoning me to come out and play before and after meetings dealing with Interior Design qualification and certification issues. Come with me as I travel around the US and Canada while I learn about Interior Design issues, leadership and myself….