Wednesday, September 26

Interview - Part One: Mary McDonald

Elegance and sophistication are the two words that come to mind when I think of Los Angeles interior designer Mary McDonald. Not only do her interiors exude beauty and glamour, but also Mary herself personifies these traits.

Consistently named one of House Beautiful’s top 100 designers, Mary’s interiors are always classic, timeless and easily recognizable.

How would you describe your own personal style
Probably classic meets eccentric. I find myself in sweater sets some days and ostrich feathers others—Audrey Hepburn meets Auntie Mame. My interiors have that same range.

Who are your style icons
Basically people who really go for it whatever their "thing" may be.

Like clockwork you can count on me to always love Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Elsie de Wolfe, Paulene de Rothschild, CZ Guest, Carolyne Roehm, Caroline Herrera and Coco Chanel.

On the other end of the spectrum I adore the theatrical eccentrics. Tony Duquette, Barbara Hutton, Diana Vreeland (part eccentric), Rosalind Russell's Auntie Mame, Morticia Adams (the original Morticia) and Edward Scissorhands.

What inspires your designs?
I am always inspired by the glamour of the past. I will never tire of the 18th century or all things French. Having said that I am also inspired by the multitude of small objects, textures and patterns I come across daily. I have drawers in my office dedicated to small finds in my everyday life.

I love the layers, tone, color and patterns found in driftwood, the color and curl of an ostrich plume, the endless complicated beauty in flowers, shiny packaging, beautiful ball gowns...they all inspire me.

All of these things might be the seed of a great color scheme in decorating, perhaps the detail of a bed treatment or the birth of pattern for a custom rug.

What is the one thing in life you can’t live without
Lipstick and freedom. The freedom to say no, say what you think, leave when you want...I love freedom.

Interview by Ronda Carman


Anonymous said...

I know I often lead a very sheltered life, but I pride myself on being up on all the new, the latest and the best and I know that I spotted "MM" in Domino - but feel as if I have been living under some rock. She is amazing! So real, so glamourous and polished.
Leave it to you, what a fabulous interview!

ALL THE BEST said...

Thanks Patricia, I'd loved finding out more about Mary! She's just great!

The Peak of Chic said...

Mary is one of my all-time favorites! She has such style (and she's quite eloquent). Her interiors are refined, feminine, and chic. And I agree with what Style Court said a while back about how she needs to write a book! Mary, you've got a lot of fans who are anxious for a book from you! :)

ALL THE BEST said...

Jennifer I agree! A book would be fantastic!!

Brilliant Asylum said...

Freedom is a great answer. (Ronda, I think that is one of my favorite question you ask). Nice interview!

ALL THE BEST said...

I agree BA! I love know what it is people can't live without. All the answers are sooo different!

Jordan Cappella said...

Hi all the best,

Great interview Mary is one amazing person and Designer, can't wait for part 2. And thanks to Patricia Gray for introducing me to your blog.

katiedid said...

Wooohooo Ronda! I love these interviews, and you are my place to go to be sure and get a good read. I love Mary McDonald's style and flair. Can't wait for that book idea to come to fruition. Do you have any pull in that area? :)

ALL THE BEST said...

Katie you are so sweet!! I love Mary's style too! No, unfortunately I have no pull in the book arena. For now I am just working to build my blog readership and write my book proposal!

Style Court said...

Ronda, kudos. This came together so well. Jennifer is spot-on -- Mary is as eloquent as she is chic.

nicole hill gerulat said...

what a great site you have! thank you!

ALL THE BEST said...

Thanks Jordan! I love your furniture!!

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Nicole!

Suzy said...

Great interview, she looks stunning, and I agree with POC she's very eloquent. Can't wait for the 2nd installment...and possibly a book!

Anonymous said...

Mary is amazing.
Would you consider asking her what she collects for her own home.

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Suzy!!

Hi Heddy, I'll try to find out and then post it.

Anna Spiro said...

Ronda - I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and it's my favourite one so far!! Keep up the great work! Thank you so much Mary for being such a huge inspiration. I LOVE your work!