I am often asked, “What is your style?” but I prefer the question, “What inspires you?” My first source of inspiration are my clients. It’s true! Interior design is a service industry. Our job is to give the client the home or business of their dreams. While our service is specialized and highly developed, it is still a service. Often asked, “What is your dream client?” I playfully respond – ME! Designers are artists and artists prefers having free reign to be creative. My creativity is influenced by my experience as a professional dancer and singer.
Enthralled by the theatre as a 12-year-old, I often sat on the living room floor of my parents split level in Milford, Massachusetts, listening and singling along to show tunes on the stereo. Inspired by the songs and plot-lines, my imagination ran wild. Easily, I created theatrical daydreams from my favorite melodies and lyrics of Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, The King and I and Carousel. Although I did not know the plots as created by the great composers and lyricists, in some ways, my imagination was more vivid-more exotic. My mind’s eye conceived far off lands, full of color, shapes and patterns – dramatic jewel tones, earthy natural textures and bold compositions.
Performing in amateur and high school shows, my adolescent-self became immersed in theatre. Set designs awakened my youthful mind to the untamed and limitless possibilities of creating beauty and environments evoking various emotions. Cast for Annie Get your Gun, Grease, Pippin and West Side Story, I was awed by the manner in which color and light control mood, elicited emotions and create an environment.
Studying at the Boston Conservatory or Music, Scenic design was a fundamental course requirement. As an undergrad, I was tasked with designing main stage shows. After intense research of the era being portrayed, I measured the space, created floor plans and determined the best scale for the greatest impact. Long before realizing interior design could provide a career, I was creating interiors.
Professionally performing on stages in the United States and Europe, I was regularly exposed to extraordinary stage environments. As my career progressed, the richness and variety of set design crossed the boundaries of culture, themes, color and textures, becoming the backdrop for future designs for my clients’ homes. Nuances of possibilities from the sets of shows like Cabaret and Chicago influenced my Art Deco passion. Into The Woods inspired my love of fantasy, the whimsical and magical. A Little Night Music awed me with its elegance, sophistication and glamour.
At 23 years old, I earned the opportunity of a lifetime as soloist at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Nestled within the famed Montmartre neighborhood, the most bohemian and artistic district of Paris holds the renowned Sacre Coeur Basilica and legendary Moulin Rouge. The glamour, elegance and magnitude of Paris was my playground, looming over me like enormous stage sets.
Dating back to 1889, the Moulin Rouge has an astounding history of famous thespians, such as Mistinguette and Josephine Baker, sketched by the likes of Toulouse-Lautrec and other notable painters of the time. However, the shining star was the incredible sets and magnificent costumes transforming the historic stage for countless visitors. Night after night, hundreds of tourists from all corners of the world were awed by the extravagance of the Moulin Rouge. Each scene meticulously created a different environment, from a Vienna Opera House to a Moroccan Palace, or a French Chateau. It was not the literal expression or exactitude of the environments casting by imagination to run wild, but the nuances of color, refined details and ability of lighting to manipulate the senses. Impacting my future designing self, I cultivated the ability to transform space, using techniques from the stage: forced perspective, economy of scale and surprising composition. I discovered how to use shade and hue to excite , mesmerize and calm the mind, spirit and soul. Lighting transformed a space in an instant and a different sense could focus or flood an area depending on the intention and purpose.
Leaving the stage and pursuing a career of an interior designer was a profound transition in my life and onto another act of the same play. My life on stage influences every decision as an interior designer enabling me to transcend time and space to create original designs. So what inspires me? Theatre – and stories, cultures and emotions portrayed in and through the stage-life I once lived, pursued and now carry in my heart. Hopefully, when the curtain comes down at the completion of each project, my clients give me a standing ovation and shout “encore!”