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Anouska Hempel

April 6th, 2010

Daniel Pontius

Anouska Hempel, Lady Weinberg by Bryan Wharton, Novmber 1971. 

A reader in Rodondo Beach emailed for some advice. “Dear Pontius, I used to be in marketing & advertising and since the recent economic downfall, it’s been rough… I decided to use this as an opportunity to do something that I’m more passionate about … I’ve always wanted to go into interior design…any recommendations for me as to how to get in?” Sincerly, Roughing it out in R.B.
 
Dear Roughing It,

Lady Weinberg or Lady Mendl may be of inspiration to you. Check out the the article on Anouska Hempel’s house, which was on the cover of the Feb. 2010 edition of World of Interiors. Read between the lines and connect the dots. It takes a certain kind of person to be a designer. Min Hogg tells us that the lighter veins in the dark green marble had to be chiseled out with a dental tool as consistent color is important. Anouska Hemple reminds me of Edwina Monsoon when she was redoing her kitchen (Absolutely Fabulous Season 3,  Doornob). “… I’ve had it up to here with black taffeta…do you have any idea of the choice!”  It’s funny because it’s true.

The first time I saw that AbFab episode I hadn’t any thoughts of being an interior designer. I had always just wanted to make things and put things in order. I did as a kid stay home from school with feigned sicknesses to look through catalogs and pick out new furniture: choosing bed spreads and curtains and pillows that I thought would be better than what we had.

One starts where ever one is. If you want to get into design, do all the research and interview interior designers and decorators and architects. It is important to realize interior design in Cleveland is different than London, or New York.  It depends on what kind of life you want to have. The downside to design is that it can be incongruent to pick out objects for people that you will may not ever be able to afford yourself. It’s the decorator’s ailment. One begins to think that you are like your client:

“I want that sofa. I want that house! You want me to do what?”

I recently heard a story about the decorator of a celebrity couple becoming offended because he was instructed to do something that he felt beneath him. The client suggested that the decorator manage the repair of an exterior light fixture. He overheard one half of the couple saying, “Have him do it…isn’t that what we pay him for?”

So, Roughing, I hope that helps. With regards to your phrase “economic downfall” The heady and dense author, Caroline Myss, says that society (read: the world) is in the flow of a predicament of evolution.

We can not go backwards.

There will always be society decorators. As Dorthy Draper said, she was lucky enough to have been born into that society.  Therefore, I might recommend that if one is smart, it helps to have an even personality and maintain austere but stylish surroundings.

Doornob, Ab Fab 8’10”

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