Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Not only a divine designer but a delightful person, Mary Drysdale is a wise woman with incredible design knowledge to share. Right here in Part 2 of my interview with her you will find priceless insight on architecture, wall coverings, and a pro's answer to the consideration of the importance of listening to your heart and using your head to accomplish a well-rounded design. Happy reading!...

M+P: Your designs are always rich in architecture. Do you have a favorite type of architecture?
Mary Drysdale: I do not have a favorite period style. Anything well done is interesting to me. Having said that, I do like of course, American Georgian, Federal and Modern. French 18 &19 neoclassical and of course Swedish of the same period. I’ve started to learn about Mexican and Spanish period styles as well - there are so many beautiful graceful insightful types, it is hard to limit. The projects always teach me something. Horrid out of scale reproductions in wrenched timber and bad joinery, make me dizzy.

When it comes to plan development, I am a pure classicist. I love the drama of a strong axis and the harmony of symmetry. Balance keeps me grounded, I guess. But, as to the details and materials which would make it either Federal, or Gustavian….that I care less about. I can clearly tell you what makes me cringe. A McMansion. A house of any sort that was designed and built, from a drop down computer menu and where there is no understanding of what the design intent and precedents leave me cold.

But, anything which Thomas Jefferson designed and built, I would probably be very comfortable with. The man was a genius.
M+P: Paint or wallpaper on walls and why?
MD: What a timely question! For most of my career I have used decorative painting techniques on the walls of my projects, or stencils and patterns which I layout on the wall to fit perfectly, and prefab things perhaps aren’t easily available in the colors I like and the patterns have the wrong spacing. I have to smile, as I write this…..the corners of my projects always align!

I have just launched with Casart Coverings www.casartcoverings.com a new line of colors labeled as “Mary Douglas Drysdale Signature Color s”. I am very excited about working with Casart and about the colors I have developed for a broader use.
M+P: What would you say is the ultimate goal of your projects?
MD: My short answer is excellence in design, appropriateness to building type and exceeding my clients’ goals. One of the jobs of a designer is to help the client find his voice. I feel that for the work I want to do that there must be a balance of art, architecture and design. I believe that “plan is generator” and then once the plan is developed the elevations and the details MUST be planned concurrent with the selection and design of furnishings. It would be dreadful to work with a box and told that no modifications or embellishments could be added. Well, come to think of it, I wouldn’t take the job.
M+P: Would you say designing well is attributed to knowledge or heartfelt direction, both?
MD: This is a wonderful question. I often make the analogy between design and gymnastics. In gymnastics competition, there is an aesthetic score and a technical score, as well. Projects usually fail either because the authors don’t know their architectural history or because a project is just the expected and standard solution.

Architectural interior design and its partner, decoration, require both great technical skill and heart. My goal is to bring both skills to my project work.

I strive for clear conscious thought, connected to my activities, at all times. I believe that clarity of mind is enhanced by organized space and well proportioned volumes. Clarity of mind brings peace and inner well being. This grounded base provides enormous energy to accomplish and live. Architecture and thoughtful design will effect in many ways the quality of life and ability to live comfortably for the end user. I see design as important work; I would not want to dishonor design process with anything less than my complete attention.
[All Images Via Mary Douglas Drysdale]

To experience the full extent of Mary Douglas Drysdale Interior Design, visit MaryDrysdale.com

It has certainly been lovely to showcase such a wonderful designer and inspirational woman to start off this week. I not only appreciate Mary and the time she spent answering these questions but admire her for exposing so thoroughly her design perspective. Thank you so much, Mary, for gracing MALLIE+POSH with your presence and for an intriguing and unique interview. It has been an honor. Here's to a great start of another inspirational week - Happy Tuesday loves!


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