Rooms to Remember: Michael S. Smith
The best place to start is usually at the beginning. I could start all the way back in my childhood bedroom, with it’s delicate blue and pink striped rosebud wallpaper, pink table lamp with pleated pink gingham lampshade and built-in wicker nightlight, and white lacquer campaign chest, but that might be heading back a bit too far. The first interior I saw that made me want to pursue a professional career in interior design was a New York City apartment designed by Michael S. Smith for model Cindy Crawford. The way a musician might hear a tune once and recall every note, I visually retain every fabric, finish and form from that lovely apartment. I was moved at once by the home’s classical beauty while at the same time won over by its warmth and very personal charm. This apartment was not just another pretty face, although the homeowner is certainly a knockout. I find you can often learn more about yourself by gauging your own responses to a particular interior–what tickles your fancy or even what makes you cringe. What you value, what you hold dear, even what you may fear can take shape through a thoughtful study of interiors. I learned from that space (and many, many others) that I love traditional elements with a dash of the unexpected and liberal dollop of fun–in essence, bringing vitality to a classical foundation. That might even describe myself: I was in the Latin Honor Society in college, even though I was typically the class clown. Ars longa, vita brevis. Art is long, life is short. Or as Chaucer would later plagiarize it, “Life is so short, and the craft takes so long to learn.” I might have added “…especially if you have four children, and three of them play ice hockey.” Even though I have a Master’s degree in Interior Design, I am still learning more every day, about design and about myself. My design evolution is a lifelong adventure I absolutely relish. As fate would have it, I eventually met Michael S. Smith at the Corcoran in 2006 and was able to thank him for steering me to a life of design with that one Elle Decor feature so many years ago. I will always be grateful to him for this is a wonderful, adventurous life.