This week, we are thrilled to welcome architect and interior designer David Easton to the Skirted Roundtable. Easton was a total surprise. I think all three of us thought we were in for a serious discussion on design, but Easton has an infectious sense of humor and likes to tease! A lot! He also likes to read and talk science fiction, which was rather surprising, to say the least. He is charming, sweet, nice and highly intelligent, yet always entertaining. We certainly were entertained.
The day we interviewed Easton, he had just come back from being on the Martha Stewart show - no pressure on us, no, not at all! He immediately put us at ease, and we totally forgot about riding on Martha's coattails. We spent some time talking about his new, beautifully photographed book "Timeless Elegance" which shows some of his more famous houses and some that have never been seen before. His two most famous houses, Albemarle House and Balderbrae are of course included.
The interview is highly enjoyable, easy to listen to, and thought-provoking all at once. Enjoy!
Congratulations in your second year.
A traditional nuclear family needs bedrooms, dining room, family rooms but traditional families are not the majority of households (well not in Australia anyway). There is a dogged determination to hold on to the "great Australian dream" of a house on a 1/4 acre block but rising house prices and the fact that people just don't live that way will eventually evolve new homes.
When David described how he wants to live in one big room - that was what I had imagined if I lived on my own (as opposed to husband and three kids).
It's marvelous when someone you admire turns out to be a real sweetheart. David has such a pleasing manner and a delightful wit. I could listen to him all day long.
Thank you...this interview truly made my day!
I am definitely not a science fiction fan but his thoughts and feelings on how we will live in the future are something to ponder and, his ideas for our future global world are certainly ideas that we will have to learn to embrace. I barely use my cell phone or check my email because I don't like either of them and I dream of living "back in the day" when life seemed simpler.But, through these new technologies, I have found Joni,Megan, Linda, David,etc. And, just as you all have never met in person but are now friends through technology, I feel as though I know you all from your wonderful blog posts and pod casts! A few months ago I didn't even know what a blog was and now I have been introduced to so many fantastic and talented people and ideas!! Thanks for expanding my horizons!
When Easton talks about how we'll live in a different kind of home in the future, one less based on historic precedent, I'm sure he's right. Cultural & demographic shifts and geo-political changes have their own impacts on design & designers, but, sadly, at a more personal level, one significant factor that Easton cites as a major influence on his own early aesthetic development--and one which influenced countless other designers & decorators in the same way--is already history.
Trend House, on the eighth floor of Marshall Fields flagship store on State Street since the 193Os, is, as of this fall, the latest casualty of Macy's inexorable cost-cutting since their takeover, its barrel-vaulted rooms now walled-off & downgraded to storage space. Field's once-famous Antique Galleries--where, I, as a callow eighth grader on a field trip to the big city, first learned what real antiques looked like--vanished a few years ago. Sure, a determined kid (or an interested adult not intimidated by a snooty proprietor) can still go to a high-end antique store if he wants to see the same sort of thing, but at Fields', such treasures were only one floor above the cafeteria, where they were plainly visible to us small-town rubes as we rode up & down the store's Art Deco escalators. What was even better was that you could not only see the Federal chairs & Empire center tables, you could touch them. You could actually sit on the Regency sofas. I know. I did.
Stifle a kid's creativity in one area, and it will just come out in another, but if you turn off his inspiration at the source, everybody loses. Without the miniature rooms at the Art Institute & Trend House at Marshall Field's to nudge David Easton toward his future career, who knows where he have ended up? Of course, the Thorne Rooms are still at the Art Institute, but it costs $20 or so to get into the museum, while Trend House was free.
If, as Easton predicts, traditional design dies out among the next generation of designers, it won't be because of some future replacement of its traditional adherents with newcomers of a different ethnic heritage--Rome subsumed Greek architecture, rather than replacing it, and Gothic cathedrals were the efflorescence, not the death, of the pointed arches the Crusaders saw in the Middle East--but because of current corprate decisions like Macy's, which, in refusing to even acknowledge the existence of traditional design, effectively ghettoizes it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Anyway, this was one of the most thought-provoking interviews yet.
[N.B. to David Easton: You like to drink, I like to drink. You travel to Chicago, I live here. Call me up next time you're in town.]
Mr. Easton, some of the best times of my life have been the family meals enjoyed on my parents big front porch, overlooking a lake in western NY. Heaven.
I agree with the above ....another hour would have been great....can we please, please have number 2 interview where we hear about the blood, sweat and tears part of design from David!
One great room living. Yes yes yes. One room for everything rather one room for each thing. I hope every house can have one great room. Keep the bedrooms and bathroom private.
Few can afford "the totality" almost no one. I hope everyone can manage a small chunk of totality in their one great room.
Human nature won't change. Certainly there are unexpected things in our future that we'll like Let's hope so. But we keep forgetting and rediscovering what is good. Mr Easton's Union Square office will always be good don't you think?
Thanks for given us the opportunity to listen to him!
That you three have never met fit in beautifully with the science fiction thread of the interview...
Should we all start a travel fund?
Was surprised to hear most of all his sense of humor - plus his love of science fiction ALMOST made me want to go to the library! Great episode, ladies; keep them coming!
And that book is on my list already! So please???
Love your interviews, they are getting better by the week!
thanks for a great skirted roundtable.
This was definitely one of my favorites...what a great conversation!