Years before I became a part of Decorating Den I read a couple of articles in the Designer magazine that caught my attention, “The Designer as Merchandiser” and “Not Every Client Is A Millionaire.” In a letter to the editor I wrote, “So many of my colleagues assume the attitude that a professional designer works only with the affluent client. These designers’ budgets for doing a job overwhelm the vast market of middle income people. You are right when you say that interior design is a service. A person should be able to hire a decorator who, for a realistic budget, is able to provide the client with beauty, comfort, and good design. The best definition of a designer that I have heard is, “One who creates beauty.” No more should working with a designer to “create beauty” be the domain of the rich alone.”
The primary thing that attracted me to Decorating Den after my husband Jim became enamored with the concept back in 1984 was the affordable and approachable service their decorators were providing clients. I had learned early on from my mother that a desire and appreciation for good design was not predicated on money. Mother was a keen observer and used her wits and ingenuity to get the look she wanted without, as she liked to say, “Costing an arm and a leg.” The people I look up to in the world of design and architecture all have similar viewpoints.
Mother always found inspiration in the model rooms at Lord & Taylor. Later I learned that the decorator, William Pahlman, believed “Good decoration is design for the living not for looking. It is the service of human needs.”
When I studied Frank Lloyd Wright I was pleased to find out I had more in common with him than our birthday. Like FLW, I agreed that “individuals other than the rich are entitled to a work of art.” In checking out mid-century icons, Charles and Ray Eames, designers of the famed molded plywood leather lounge chair, I read their proclamation, “modern industry has a responsibility to get the best to the greatest number of people for the least.”
And, I am particularly fond of an astute comment from David Hicks whose stylish geometric designs are enjoying a well-deserved revival. In 1979 he observed, “Today there are far too many good fabrics, carpets and wallpapers available to the few and not enough good ones available to everyone. Good design is no way dependent on money. I like to spend the minimum of money and yet gain maximum effect.”
Those words are reminiscent of what my mother taught me and what I have learned and professed over the years.