Tell us about your journey into content creation and design! How did you begin your career as designers?
Mary Catherine: I grew up enamored with the art of blending different design styles, inspired by my grandparents’ collection of pieces from global travels- though like them, I’ve always been grounded by the traditions of home. I actually met my partner Amanda in our first career, traveling on a diplomatic tour of China, and we bonded over almost everything but that work! Our current partnership began over a long lunch soon after where we realized the depth of our shared love for the process of bringing others’ home dreams to life.
Amanda: I don’t think I actually recognized it in myself until I really dove head first into design, but I think I’ve always been affected and moved (for better or worse) by the physical environments I’ve found myself in. I feel strongly that a well designed hotel, restaurant, school, and of course, home, can change the way a person feels as they move through their lives. I think the realization that I felt that perhaps more deeply than the average person is what made me want to live and breathe design. As Mary Catherine mentioned, this is a second career for both of us, and it was definitely a big leap to move from the lobbying world in DC into interior design, but it feels so right. At four years in, we’re still newcomers to the design world and I love the amount that I’m learning all the time, both from a decorative perspective and a skills perspective. I’m actually taking an AutoCAD class right now to try and fill that skill gap. I don’t think the learning will ever stop and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Your style in a few words:
Mary Catherine: A classic foundation layered with an eclectic collection of sentimental elements.
Amanda: Rooted in classicism with a worldly bent. Warm, collected, not too fussy.
Your forever inspo:
Mary Catherine: I’m deeply inspired by all things English, from the troves of historic textiles in London museums to the surrounding country retreats and their embrace of lovingly assembled clutter. I’m a huge admirer of English decorators like Robert Kime and Penny Morrison, and I frequently reference their work. Their exuberance with color and respect for history, coupled with their tolerance for a lack of perfection, have helped me form the framework of my design philosophy.
Amanda: Nothing fills my inspiration cup like traveling and hunting for antiques – ideally at the same time. There are just an infinite number of interesting and completely unique silhouettes, objects, pieces of art, textiles etc. in the world – being among one of a kind pieces and places really gets my creativity flowing.
Can you give us a glimpse into the process of bringing this beautiful bathroom together?
The main point to make is that we had clients who were happy to go for it and make it a fun and energizing space. I love that even in a bathroom that’s not overly large, the tub area feels like its own separate cozy area. The stone in the shower is another favorite moment in this bathroom – it brings movement to the room without being over the top.
Why did you choose Gracie panels to be the main focal point of the space?
The ceilings in the house are fairly high, and once the tub location was decided, we felt that the wall above was begging for a big scenic panel. We have always been admirers of Gracie wallpaper – the hardest part was having to decide on just one!
How did you discover Gracie?
I know we’ve both been familiar with Gracie since what feels like the beginning of time, but I actually remember being in the DC Design Center on one of our first trips there after we started our business and experiencing all of the different Gracie panels up close. There is truly nothing like seeing it in person. I think we stood in front of the display for an hour, just drooling over every single thing!
The design brief:
- Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
- Gracie Panel Pattern: Hampton Garden
- Tub: Signature Hardware
- Sconces: Urban Electric with custom shades by Pilchard Designs
- Accessories: Nashville Rug Gallery
Before you go…
What are you reading?
Mary Catherine: I’m reading Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land- his words paint stunningly beautiful pictures, and he does an incredible job of taking disparate story threads and slowly weaving them together into a rich, coherent tapestry.
Amanda: Honest answer? Lots of parenting books at the moment! I am expecting my first baby (a little boy!) in May, and am making a futile effort to prepare for an experience I’m told is not actually possible to prepare for. Learning a lot though!
Who are you following?
Mary Catherine: Remy Renzullo, Carolina Irving, Noel Pittman
Amanda: Weezie, of course! Also, Matthew Carter, Virginia Tupker, Gil Schafer, lots of dog accounts
Mary Catherine: We really enjoy sourcing unique pieces for clients from vendors all over the world but somewhere down the road we’d like to bring that process a little closer to home.
Amanda: More and more, I think it’s good to put the things you want out into the world, so I’ll just say it – I’d love to have a really special, well curated antiques-and-other-things shop at some point in the not terribly distant future.
Recent interiors splurge:
Mary Catherine: I can go big for well made upholstery and special antiques, as these stand the test of time! My most recent splurge was the latter, a 19th century French commode from Loft Antiques with gorgeous warm bleached wood, gold detailing, and a crisp marble top.
Amanda: The nursery I’m working on for my little guy (and let's be very clear, it is just as much for me) is feeling splurge-ier by the day…
Recent interiors steal:
Mary Catherine: The best steals are often accidental- recently I stumbled across a set of four antique hot air balloon prints in the back of a Charleston store, beautifully patinaed and ready to hang, all for around what I’d normally pay to frame just one! They’re now up in my son’s nursery and I can’t wait to tell him just how early we started treasure hunting.
Amanda: A beautiful, large tole mirror for a fraction of what it should have cost! Isn’t that the best feeling?