A Turn About the Room

As children, interest in various objects can spark our imaginations to take us to far off places or to make us into things that we think we can only be in our dreams.

Whether we have ever imagined taking a plane across the oceans to explore exotic lands or actually piloting the plane, at one time or another we have all simply dreamed.

A Dance Around The Moon by Charles Altamont Doyle | The World of Interiors, December 1996When I design a home, I often imagine a storyline of how the rooms in the home would have evolved.  Whether the structure is steeped in History or new construction, I always ponder what elements would have contributed to the room’s evolution.  I then choose a few directions and start the creative process.  I’m very intrigued by how rooms evolve.  Often new generations or new owners will re-decorate and go with the current fashion.  My favorite spaces are those that are tweaked as time goes on and that introduce new elements, the fashions of the day, in subtle ways.

In my new series of ads, I decided to take my imagination one step further by creating fictitious stories through a series of photographs with the aid of photographer T. J. Getz. The stories demonstrate some of the creative moments that occur at home when we are children.  These photographs represent how the “backdrops” that we call home can influence who we are and what we become.

I really want the objects that surround us to have depth. If an object is decorative I want that object to relate in some way to its environment. The lamps flanking the passage in this room simulate the lines of the entry gate.

 The armillary also repeats the shapes that occur in the gate.  The early nineteenth century chandelier, that once held whale oil, repeats the curves of the fanlight above the front door.


The maps and the art remind us of the history and the location of the home; Charleston, South Carolina.

Mickey WIlliams | Island in the Fog Wando River

I particularly admire how artist Mickey Williams captures the light and mystery of the low country landscape.  I recently commissioned Mickey to create a mate to a very large painting that he had hanging in his home in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  This painting, that inspired the commission, reminded me of some very beautiful paintings by Savannah born artist, William Posey Silva.

William Posey Silva | From 'The Charleston Renaissance' by Martha R. Severens

Both of the Mickey Williams paintings now hang over a beautiful pair of Verellen sofas that are covered in a velvet linen. The paintings were purchased through Hampton III Gallery.

The sofas flank a lovely arched passage in a federal style drawing room of this home that I decorated in Charleston, South Carolina.  I was told the woodwork was created by an African American Charlestonian Charles Pinckney, who was active in Charleston, South Carolina during the first quarter of the 20th century.

In the distance there is a leopard velvet chaise. The mood is rich and scholarly. The room is as much about composition as it is content.  If one chooses, there is much to think about in these rooms I have chosen the armillary to be the object of interest.

An Armillary is a model of objects in the sky (in the celestial sphere) consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centered on the earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude. The Greek astronomer Hipparchus credited Eratosthenes (276-194 B.C.) as the inventor of the armillary sphere.

When I was a child I was always intrigued with objects in rooms. Discovering the history of the objects was fascinating.  Collections I encountered prompted endless questions. I grew up to be an interior designer.

The first photographic story that I created represents imagination, discovery, and journey.  It’s also a subtle allusion to past scholars and scientists who would often include armillary, celestial and global spheres in their portraits. Doing so symbolized the height of wisdom and knowledge.

George Jean Louis Leclerc | The World Of Interiors, Oct. 2005


A great source for antique maps and rare books is Grey Parrot Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Grey Parrot is named after owner Alex Branch’s pet African Grey named Tiki.  The African Grey is known for its intelligence and chatty demeanor.  Tiki didn’t spark up any conversation when I was there last, but he certainly inspires a sense of adventure. 

Grey Parrot Gallery

It’s really quite wonderful that many shops and showrooms that I frequent have the owners or co-workers pets present.  A great many of these pets have been rescued…I love that.