• Interview – Part two: Mary McDonald

    by  • 27 Sep ’07 • interview, Mary McDonald • 6 Comments

    House Beautiful October 2002

    What are the greatest joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur?
    I am not sure as that word connotes business and I am not sure I have ever been great at the bottom line. BUT creating my vision while being my own boss I do understand, and yes I do get paid for what I do each day. In that respect, the greatest joys are the moments your vision is coming together. You stand there and realize it is actually coming into focus. The colors are working, the patterns are dancing, the furniture seems to be flirting and the room has the FEELING for which you were hoping. You feel like you are in the right place and time in those moments.

    It’s then you are reminded that someone (other than your mother) has actually requested and paid for this vision inside your head. You have been given the opportunity to create and it is totally yours and it is working. I do have to say it’s not always the case. There are often times before it is all coming together when you wonder what is wrong, why isn’t this working, why is this so flat or boring or corny? So the day of vision realization is pretty great.

    It is also nice when someone you don’t know writes a fan letter or stops you on the street to say how much they loved some house they saw in a magazine. Without these moments it would not be worth it to me because of all of the design hell challenges (in one form or another this certainly must be the case in every entrepreneurs life).

    House & Garden November 2001

    Of course there are challenges of running your own show and the learning curve never ends if you want to grow. In addition there are the clients that question every decision (after they begged you to do their house), do not spend the money they say they will, employee goof ups, bad hair days, working for attorneys (a lot of overanalyzing), wondering how come people think you should be cleaning out their closet because you are designing the closet, wondering when are they going to pay their $100,000.00 fabric bill. (Why am I a bank? Are other designers a bank?) Bla Bla Bla Bla it’s endless. In the end you have to laugh and just pick the next color.

    What is your idea of the perfect party
    Probably a 15-person dinner party of new and old friends with a couple surprise guests. Definitely a cocktail hour in a candlelit living room with four to five small conversation groups mixing and interchanging. Casual but festive dress. Definitely hors d’oeuvres and drinks served as people get to know each other.

    We are then led to a fabulously chic dining room decorated Indian style with a long low table on the floor surrounded by carpets and pillows to sit on. The table centrepiece has beautiful tureens and pedestals of fruits and flowers spilling onto the table. The atmosphere is sensual and moody with only candles. Everyone kicks their shoes off, finds a spot on the floor and gets planted with their pillow. The dinner is a multi course ethnic style meal (such as Moroccan) served throughout the night. It all ends in dessert and drinks by an outside fire.

    House Beautiful October 2002

    What are your favorite design books
    The Country Houses of David Adler; Vogue’s’ Book of Houses, Gardens, People; Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design; Albert Hadley’s Drawing and the Design Process; and Interior Inspirations by Roger Banks Pye. Oh, also Great Houses of England and Wales

    Who you would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day
    Hmmm big question…Ghandi is up there. I would love to ask all the big existential questions and corner him on some life advice.

    Interview by Ronda Carman

    6 Responses to Interview – Part two: Mary McDonald

    1. Brilliant Asylum
      27 Sep ’07 at 1:59 pm

      That was a very inspiring answer she gives about the joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes I forget the toil that goes into these beautiful rooms. It all seems so effortless. I guess that is the mark of a great designer.

    2. Habitually Chic
      27 Sep ’07 at 2:08 pm

      Ronda, I think this is your best profile yet! I how Mary took the time to answer your questions in depth. Great job!

    3. Style Court
      27 Sep ’07 at 7:23 pm

      Yes, a book from Mary is a definite must!! Thanks to Ronda and Mary for sharing such detail.

      At the risk of sounding like a crazed groupee, I’ll share that all the beautiful images you’ve shown here, except yesterdays’s, are in my Mary M notebook along with all other published pics I can get my hands on, and the DVD :) So inspirational!

    4. Jordan Cappella
      28 Sep ’07 at 4:37 am

      Wow Ronda,

      Part 2 is fantastic, thanks so much!

    5. Suzy
      28 Sep ’07 at 4:40 am

      That was fantastic, especially her in-depth answer about the trials (and tribulations) of being a designer…It’s great to hear such honesty. It’s not always a fun job, but she is definitely very good at it, regardless of how silly some clients can be!

    6. patricia gray
      28 Sep ’07 at 2:44 pm

      Great Interview Ronda. I can relate to everything Mary says about the design process. It is much like birthing a baby. Well said Mary. I would love to be at your Moroccan dinner party.

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