I attended the IDEC (Interior Designers Education Council) in New Orleans in March. We landed on Fat Wednesday and we’re amazed at the beads still hanging in the trees and wrought iron balconies. We did all the tourist things and spent a long afternoon at the MOMA New Orleans. What an amazing museum! The outdoor sculpture garden was enchanting. After the museum visit and a glass of wine, a past president of NCIDQ and resident of New Orleans picked us up and took us on a driving tour of the town. We spent a lot of time discussing the tragedy and recovery from Katrina. When driving through the garden district, we asked our guide if the waters rose into these magnificent homes. Our tour guide (who will remain nameless), replied that this area was spared from the flooding, but lost electricity. All the five star restaurants here lost refrigeration and consequently all their fine wines. Only a local would see it on this level. Katrina spared no one!
I never knew I wanted to go to Chicago. It is a city that will steal your heart without you ever seeing it coming. I went to NEOCON this past June for my first time and experienced the latest in commercial furniture design. All the showrooms were dressed to the nines trying to grab your attention and draw you into their space. We designers spent so many years moving everyone out of their individual offices into “systems” furniture and flex space. The pendulum is swinging (as it always does in design) to put us back into multi use, semi-private spaces that convert from workstations to spontaneous meeting rooms. Heights change from seating to standing with the flip of a switch. Lines are clean and sleek. If you look backwards down the tunnel of the past, the design pendulum goes from overdone to minimalist, vertical lines to horizontal lines, pattern to solid; can you see the trend? I believe this is not a conspiracy of the manufacturers to force us to reinvest in our surroundings, as much as our need to change and explore. It is the same desire that has dispersed humans over time and led them over the mountains to “see what they can see”.
I was born a city girl raised by city parents. My mother did not want to live with old furniture or carry a stick of firewood, because she grew up in the depression. My father considered “roughing it” carrying his own golf bag. But we must be born with certain affinities, because I am happiest in the wide open with my critters. When I established my interior design firm, Laurie McRae Interiors, I wanted a timeless brand. I chose a rising whippoorwill as my logo, a symbol of the hope of spring. When I developed a line of clothing embellished with antique and vintage linens, I wanted to continue the brand but with a twist. So I named the venture “Chuck Wills Widow”. The name started as many conversations as the clothing ever did. A chuck will’s widow is a closely related bird to the whippoorwill, both in the family of night hawks. There is a week or two of time in the south when you can hear both birds call their own name. The whippoorwill call is fast and constant, while the chuck is slower and lilting. So listen late next May for the hope of spring and the promise of summer during that short time when their migrations overlap. I think I will name my next company “Goatsucker”.
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….