Saturday, July 2, 2011

Amazing Women No. 5: Dana Skotdal

Dana looking lovely at her Mad Men-themed birthday party.
Dana Skotdal
Interior designer, artist, style maven, community volunteer, mother
Seattle, WA

Dana is another one of my über creative friends. When I shared my personal mission statement* with her over lunch recently, she exclaimed “That’s my mission too!”  I was delighted and happy to share it with her. We both have a passion for color, beautiful things, details, design, putting on fundraising events, throwing parties, glassybaby, our families, Hermès and Tory Burch, to name a few! We often show up for lunch or other occasions donning our Hermès scarves for each other! It’s almost like a sisterhood thing.

Dana is celebrating a milestone birthday today so I asked her to share some of her thoughts about our favorite topics with you. (I love that she sent me her responses in bright pink. She often changes up the color of the text of her emails, which is always a fun surprise!)

Q. Now that summer is finally here, what is your favorite color combination and why? Does it change with the seasons or do you have a go-to favorite(s)?
A.  It is so hard to choose just one, however my favorite pairing of all time must be pale blue and apple green, with silver. Other colors make strong impressions and appearances, but I always go back to my old standby.  It is so soothing and light and surreal.  My bedroom has a gorgeous pale blue and green silk brocade pillow fabric that cost a small fortune, but when I splurged I knew I would love it forever and 10 years later I still do.  During a red phase I bought red Chinese tables and chests and antique pottery for other parts of the house, even painted a red powder room.  I loved it all, still do, but have had to cycle a few pieces into storage for a rest.

For clothing and accessories, lately though I have been all about orange for summer.  (Perhaps inspired by my friend Amy?)  I have recently acquired some poppy orange capris, and an orange cardigan with gold buttons!
Q. Your personal style is classic yet always current and a bit artsy. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. My mother is and always has been an amazing creative force.  I know so much of my style and creative ideas originate with her – whether intentionally or subliminally!  Every time I go to her house and see her gorgeous tableaus of flower arrangements from her own garden and beautiful pieces assembled together on her tables, I come away inspired.  My three aunts and grandmother are all exceptionally talented artists, designers, and general taste makers, so even just getting a small dose of the family genes has been helpful!

I have so many creative and talented friends as well, so it is easy to draw inspiration from the people I am around.  Too, I have always loved the glamorous but timeless elegance of movie stars and iconic women in the 50’s and early 60’s.  The clothing styles were stunning and truly made everyone look so good.

"Just pears" by Dana's aunt Jane McFeely.

Q. Who are your favorite designers of all time and why?
A.  There is such an amazing sea of talent to choose from.  Which of your children do you love best?!  I love so much in the world of design, and a lot of it is seeing the different take that designers have.  It is inspiring to observe how many ways there are to do the same thing.

While not technically an interior designer, I love anything and everything that Carolyn Roehm does…flowers, books, her own homes, parties, invitations.  (In fact, she has the same gorgeous blue fabric in her bedroom I came to discover.  We should be friends.)   She has such a wonderful, gorgeous, welcoming style that encompasses every part of her life.  I think design should do that.  It is not just the sofa in the right fabric with the matching chair; it is the life you lead with the things you love that create a beautiful home.  

I also love the clean, precise, timeless style of Victoria Hagan.  She creates serenely beautiful homes with the right balance of modern and classic, luxury and simplicity.  It is a hard thing to do well, and her take is always lovely. 

And finally, I love Rose Tarlow.  Her own furniture and textiles lines are the secret weapon for creating a home that doesn’t scream ‘new’.  Her style is so elegant, and she has such an amazing knowledge of antiques which she brings to her own furniture line.  The textiles are among my favorites to use, they have a gorgeous feel, and a soft, lived-in look that gives them such a beautiful casual elegance.  If you haven’t seen her fabrics, imagine if you were to find a scrap of a beautiful fabric in your grandmother’s attic, with years of fading and time to soften it - this would be the perfect Rose Tarlow fabric.  Nothing too crisp or bright, but completely always right. 

Beautiful books by Carolyne Roehm.

Q. What trends are you seeing in home décor right now?
A. It may be that because many of my clients are families with children, or people who want an easy and low maintenance lifestyle, but the biggest request I get over and over is to create something that is elegant and beautiful but at the same time durable and low maintenance.  By nature, I’m pretty practical (unless there is a sale on designer handbags), so in any situation I hate to use fabrics that don’t wear well.  There are so many options these days for beautiful furnishings without having to compromise on durability or quality!  My own living room is surprisingly durable, but with a bit of formality to it as well.  My kids play there every day and it all wears really well.  I think people are surprised by how much we use our living room, given the look of the space! (photo below)


Dana's lovely family-friendly, durable living room.

Q. And, finally, I had to ask… what are you most looking forward to about turning 40?
A. Cocktails every afternoon maybe?  Less concern with what others think?  Maybe it’s like an aging wine….more fruity, spicy, fuller bodied, and better with age. I think 40 is a nice place to be.  I am really happy with my life and my family and my work, and hope to spend more time devoted to painting in this new decade.  My aunts have been creative their entire lives, and once their children got a little older they were able to devote more time to their art, and they have grown these amazing careers as sought after artists!  Aunt Jane has a website, (photo above) Hopefully Aunt Chris will have one soon. 

"Spring Reflection" painting by Dana.

Happy Birthday my talented friend! The best is yet to come!

*My mission is to live a beautiful and balanced life – inside and out – inspired by color and creativity.

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  1. Such a lovely post about such an inspiring friend. Well done! XO

  2. Happy Birthday, Dana!!! I popped over from Jeanne's blog - we're coast to coast blog friends and your party sounded amazing!

    40 is great - I'm a tad beyond that now.

    And glassybaby...I think I can say I'm their biggest East Coast fan!
    xoxo Elizabeth