Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Bit More About Me

I have been interested in architecture for as long as I can remember, so it was no surprise that I wanted to be an architect.  I am a gradate of the University of Tennessee School of Architecture with a Bachelor of Architecture (BARCH) degree.  Participating in a summer foreign studies program administered in cooperation with L'Ecole des Beaux Arts and based at the palace in Fontainebleau, France, really cinched my love of history and preservation after my second year at the university.  The UT program allowed a special concentration of study and mine in Architectural History and Historic Preservation won a special commendation in the form of an award from the faculty.  Roz Li, a noted architect from New York City was brought in to head the preservation program and she provided an invaluable foundation for my education.  (Now in private practice, she has been responsible for numerous projects of renown, such as the Rhinelander Mansion restoration for the Ralph Lauren flagship store).

The award of a summer internship administered by Dee Ann Walker with the National Trust for Historic Preservation satisfied the required service practicum;  I was a team member of the Historic American Building Survey and documented the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, DC.  I also participated in a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission, administered by Glorial Neal Testerman, to survey pre-1930 building in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

Ignoring chronological order, I later had the great honor to be chosen to attend the Attingham Summer School in England, a prestigious program usually reserved for museum curators.  Focusing on the Country House, its architecture, contents, and landscape setting, my study of decorative arts began in earnest.  It was a life-changing opportunity for a truly hands-on examination of a wide range of disciplines and styles.  The program was headed by renown educator and author Geoffrey Beard and a team of tutors and lecturers, each a noted specialist, including Gervace Jackson-Stops, Roger White, and Annabel Westmann.  Also in education, were two semesters of teaching in the Interior Design department chaired by Ann Borsch and directed by Tim Gunn at Parsons School of Design, The New School in New York City;  I also taught a class in the summer program in Paris.

My first job out of university was with BuildingConservationTechnology/TheEhrenkrantzGroup, a nationally recognized architectural firm specializing in historic preservation.  Leadership of the offices in Nashville and the historic community of Rugby, Tennessee, was provided by Joseph Herndon.  When James Marston Fitch, known as the Father of Amercian Preservation, retired from Columbia University to enter private practice, I was tapped to be his assistant at BeyerBlinderBelle Architects and Planners in New York City.  But Reaganomics brought government participation in preservation to a halt, bringing about a change in my profession.

Knowledge of traditional architecture and interest in decorative arts landed me a position at the legendary interior design firm Parish-Hadley.  Under the guidance of Sister Parish and Albert Hadley, and the tutlege of Bunny Williams and Harold Simmons, my design education reached a new height of connoisseurship.  It was a truly invaluable experience, and prepared me to open my own mult-faceted studio in 1987.

Drawing on my education and experience in history and preservation, I am often called on for sensitive improvements to existing houses and apartments, designing additions and renovations.  But I also design new houses.  I often collaborate with interior designers on major projects as well as only particular elements such as individual pieces of furniture or custom light fixtures.  Contemporary design is taken on in special circumstances, but I remain a devoted classicist.

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