So....... what inspired you to start blogging in the first place? I've been an interior designer for 20 years (I started when I was twelve- wink) and friends, acquaintances and clients have always told me they would love to "come with me" on my travels, jobs and weird adventures. Bravo hasn't called so I blog instead. (You know I'm kidding, right?) HGTV called (for real) but I couldn't get away.
How did you come up with your blog name? Well, it's my business name...Martineau Vermillion Interior Design, because I thought that would be pretty self explanatory. Don't think I didn't want something snappy like, "Design Meringue- a Little Extra on Top" because I did. (I was advised against it- dang!)
Do you have a favorite all time movie? I've been asked this a million and one times and I can never answer with authenticity. I have a favorite drama, a favorite comedy etc. I know...just give us an answer AMY! Anything directed by Frank Capra makes me smile...."You Can't Take It With You" is pretty great.
You get to spend a month in the European countryside.....is it Italy or France? I'm assuming I get to pick the part of the country too. So I pick the Amalfi Coast/countryside in Italy. The light there is transcendent, the piccoline olives are alone worth the flight and the water in the Blue Grotto (Capri) simply cannot be that color, really.
Favorite meal? If we are speaking to a specific meal....L'Antica Trattoria (Sorrento, Italy 2005) and Stella (New Orleans 2010). Both were 7 course tastings with my husband and the evenings were magical. Lots of laughter. We love to explore new foods together.
Tell us as little or as much as you want to about your family. I am married to a seriously great guy (Mr. V) and we have a funny, joyful three year old daughter who I refer to in my blog as Sweetbeans. I could NEVER run at the pace that I do (traveling with clients, late nights in the office etc) without Mr. V. We have a terrific partnership and he truly is my port in the storm. Without his sense of humor and my Sweetbeans' tight hugs I would lose it some days. I have a beautiful, old girl named Digby who has been faithfully sitting at my feet for over 14 years. She has kidney failure and cancer but still likes to chase squirrels and eats like a champ.
If you could have any career what would it be? I am blessed to say I have it. Interior Design has been my thing since I was a kid and I always knew I wanted to be a designer. I used to rearrange my doll house with odd items that weren't doll furniture...A souvenir globe filled with green water and floating seahorses from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was used for my dolls' cocktail table. So my parents knew I would either own a pawn shop or be an interior designer. I have a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and am a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, ASID.
Favorite design style? Umm, do I have a favorite? No. Terrible answer. I love a lot of things from different periods. If I say I like Art Deco then all of the sudden people get nervous thinking their whole house is going to be a Jean Michel Frank rip off with accents of Miami Vice. That being said, I like to mix a sleek lacquered table with an 18th Century commode. I like layered interiors that look good on the client. The biggest compliment I ever received as a designer (besides "thank you") was when a potential client told me she had been to dinner parties at two of my clients houses and they looked nothing alike. She couldn't believe I had worked on both projects. Yes, she hired me. She said, "I can't wait to see what mine will look like!"
If you could only live in one color what would it be? At the moment---a warm greige. Light stone is infinitely appealing to me...it's calm and seems to work with everything. Sometimes I need a color break after being surrounded by it all day.
Spring in the South- It's not stifling and the breeze is almost always scented with something blooming...confederate jasmine, cherry blossoms...It's enchanting..
Design icon? William Haines, Celerie Kemble, Suzanne Rheinstein, Jan Showers, Alexa Hampton
One place you haven't been that you want to visit- Thinking about India...My twin brother lives there and the Taj Mahal is on my bucket list. We are going to try to do some hiking in Nepal in the Himalayas. Anyone who knows me is laughing right now.
What's your number one pet peeve? Lying and mean people. I guess that's two. They seem to go together.
Do you have a favorite saying or quote? To thine own self be true
What are the two best things about blogging? I research things that interest me and I blog about them. Whether it's a book, a time in history, a specific architectural style, cultural phenomenon etc, I like to find "stuff" out. Also, I get to post some behind the scenes aspects of my projects. Some projects and clients require discretion…the photographs are never shown or blogged about unfortunately. I have also "met" some lovely people and have made some connections with new clients and vendors.
You get to have a private dinner with any two people in the world, they can be from the fashion, design world, literary world, Hollywood, politics,etc....your choice. Who are the lucky two? My great grandfather who was the window dresser and interior designer for Marshall Fields on State Street in Chicago. Anyone familiar with old Chicago remembers the tradition of going downtown just to see the amazing window displays at Fields and Carson Pirie Scott. The design gene must run in my blood! And my grandfather who was the libel lawyer/lead counsel for Time/Life magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Standard Oil among other companies…he was a genius litigator and a brilliant guy. Both of their insights about their professions and their lives in incredibly interesting times in Chicago would captivate me. It makes me realize how truly important it is to pass down our family legacies and stories!
Most overrated trend right now? Well, I hate the contrived, merchandised, plastic look that seems to be creeping up everywhere- Hollywood Regency gone bad. It looks like the bad design genie blinked it into existence from one store. Ick.
Reading anything interesting that you want to share? This will be a total nerd alert for you: I'm reading a book out of the Everyday Life In America Series, "Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life 1876-1915" by Thomas Schlereth. It is pretty fascinating. I think to be an effective interior designer, one must really understand how people live... historically as well as today. This book is a snapshot of one of the most compelling times in American history...The Civil War was over, time zones were established, the industrial revolution "revolutionized" the way we do almost everything today and yet it was the beginning of people feeling overwhelmed and stressed over the pace of their lives.
You are 18 again. What do you do? It would be so much easier to tell you what I wouldn't do! I was a bit of a wild child artist type for a bit. Hey it was 1985! All kidding aside, I'd like to go back in time and tell me to be a little kinder to myself.
What are your plans for the summer? I just returned from a beach trip with my twin brother, my sister and our families. I needed a week to stick my toes in the South Carolina sand and be silly. Also, I will be traveling to Florida to install a client's vacation home and of course working on projects here in Charlotte. I have several photo shoots coming up.
In ten years I will be....................old...sort of. Hopefully still designing and living this pretty cool life with the people I love.
If you could live anywhere on earth and money was no object where would you go? I'd have a house on a coast...probably South Carolina, I'd have a brownstone in Old Town, Chicago (my hometown) and I'd still live here in Charlotte.
Best tip or two for any new bloggers reading this.......Be yourself. What is your unique perspective? Doing posts strictly on what you think people want to read isn't necessarily going to make blogging enjoyable or successful.
Blogging to me is......._challenging and a surprising way to "meet" some really neat people!
Give me four words that describe your personality. Creative, fun, loyal and thoughtful.
And now a little recap on all about Amy.......