On The Record
Judith Davidsen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
"Elsie de Wolfe, the first American woman to make a career of interior decoration starting in 1904 or 1905 (accounts vary), frequently is credited with giving the business its name. . . . Anecdotal recollections deal with her standing on her head in the interest of fitness, tinting her hair a shade of never-before-seen violet, preaching the dogma of 'suitability,' and forever achieving firsts whether by demonstrating a new dance step or flying with Wilbur Wright."
Monica Geran, "Women in Design," February 1980
"A professional is generally recognized to be one who receives remuneration only for his services. A doctor, for example, does not receive his compensation by selling drugs."
Brock Arms, "Now What About Licensing of Designers?" January 1966
"September Good Housekeeping ran an advertisement by a national manufacturer of flooring which announced boldly: 'Now America's leading decorators will style a room to fit your individual needs. . .for only $1.' How about that? The same issue also had an editorial called 'Can Everyone Afford a Decorator?'"
"Notables & Quotables," November 1968
"Many people feel that if you have the advice of an interior designer, you end up expressing his taste and not yours. But a good interior designer helps you to learn to express your own taste. Certainly with [J. Frederic "Fritz" Lohman]'s help, I saved time, which I seem to have so little of, and by avoiding costly mistakes, I'm sure I saved money as well."
Barbara Walters in "At Home on Today," January 1966
"To think that we instinctively recognize the best is fatuous arrogance. When we say, 'We know what we like,' we really mean, 'We like what we know.' And if what you know isn't good taste, what you like won't be good taste. Joad, the British philosopher, made this point clear. He wrote: 'Good taste is not instinctive, but acquired.'"
Bernice Fitzgibbon, "A Dissertation on Taste," February 1955
"I'm not interested in the past, I care only about the present and future. Even though I've retired as a decorator, I'm very aware of what's going on. . . . Even after 40 years I still say each time: what I do next will be the best yet."
Monica Geran, "An Interview with Billy Baldwin," April 1975
"Good design is a way of life in Scandinavia. . . . Take the coat hangers in the Swedish hotels, for example (we were so impressed, we literally did take one back with us)."
Sherman R. Emery, "Good Design: A Way of Life," November 1967
". . .to suddenly decide that 6 feet of manhood shall sit on and try to get up from chairs 5 to 10 inches from the floor is certainly overstepping the mark of practicability."
Roy Belmont, "Another Concept of Modern Decoration," May 1935
"Dorothy Draper. . .signed herself in [to the Delnor Hospital] for four days prior to starting work in order to absorb the bedridden patients' viewpoint."
"Women in Design," February 1980
"The Dorothy Draper that I remember was, too, a great lady who anonymously contributed generously to many worthy causes, and whose integrity once impelled her to pull up 1,000 yards of carpeting at her own expense because it was slightly off-color. . . . [I]n Chicago, during a January market, Mrs. Draper ordered her car to stop at street corners in a blizzard in order to give a lift to people who were waiting for buses."
Ted Materna, "Trade Notes: in Memoriam," April 1969
"The people I work with, most of whom are on welfare, only care if the furniture is durable. They've all had the experience of buying furniture that looks permanent but falls apart—usually before they've finished paying for it."
Tito Flores in "HUD's Design Competition for Low-Income Furnishings," January 1972
"Interior Design was founded in 1932 under the title of the Decorator's Digest. Fourteen years ago its title was changed to Interior Design and Decoration because it was felt that 'interior designer' was the nomenclature that more truly represented the profession than any such designation as 'decorator' or 'interior decorator.' Why? Because to have one's house or apartment decorated means, to a large segment of the American public, the application of paint and wallpaper. . . .
Let's face the facts and take appropriate action. Let every interior designer, whether a member of the American Institute of Decorators or not, who believes that 'interior designer,' and not 'decorator,' is the proper appellation that accurately represents the profession, send a telegram to the A.I.D. headquarters urging it to change the name of the American Institute of Decorators (A.I.D.) to the American Institute of Interior Designers.
Harry Anderson, "Editorial," August 1951
"There is no other profession so intimately concerned with the quality of human living conditions as is the interior design profession. And there is no issue that threatens to radically change those conditions as does the issue of nuclear war. . . . The American Institute of Architects, in 1982, adopted a resolution urging the United States government to take a leadership role in achieving total nuclear disarmament. This is not a partisan issue. . . . A letter to your state's delegates to both conventions could make a difference. You're busy, of course, but it could be the most important letter of your life."
Stanley Abercrombie, "Designing the Future," June 1984
"Gone are the days when furniture meant wood, when carpeting was wool, and walls were always covered with paint or paper."
"Target: Tomorrow," January 1969
"We light all areas of the school with miles of fluorescent tubes—the same for all areas regardless of the task being performed—and we line those tiled hospital-like corridors with metal lockers and floor the area with hard-surface materials that add to the noise and confusion. Then we wonder why the teacher has difficulty calming the students when they enter the classroom."
Ben E. Graves, "Rx for the Three Rs," April 1966