Jun 17, 2011

~ mary douglas drysdale

One of my first favorite designers was Mary Douglas Drysdale. It's easy to see why... her use of color is genius! I'm entranced with her color choices, her use of architectural elements, and the way she mixes antique pieces with new for a crisp, elegant end result. She uses neutrals with style and grace, yet she is not afraid of color and uses it with such confidence... color combinations I wouldn't/couldn't come up with, and yet I think they are stunning. Her attention to detail is exquisite and she produces design work that is timeless and simply striking. She has been a constant inspiration to me through the years.

Let's take a little tour and see what Mary Douglas Drysdale is all about... probably just a reminder to most.
(As a side note, for anyone not familiar with MDD, this is but a mere sampling of her work, but all I could find online.) 

Here is a lovely Maine vacation home on the water where you can see Mary's use of neutrals and soft colors. This home was featured in a story on DC Design blog HERE. I totally remember getting this magazine and loving the pink checked napkins with the sunflowers... and look at that view!

I also remember freaking over this kitchen... and was inspired to use these knobs when building our home... Love them and the open cabinet storage below the island.

Still neutral and soft, but a pink couch? With that unusual yellowish table? Hell to the yes! My guess is that she designed that table. You see, Mary is an amazing artist... and I am a huge fan! I wonder if she made the pair of tiered objects on the coffee table also? More on her artwork including finials and bowling pins later...

Oh do I love the mustard yellow on these pillows! With those interesting objects in red and blue behind the couch... and the bowl of starfish. You can also see in the image below how meticulous MMD is... Look at the starfish on the mantle perfectly placed, and the prints over the mantle perfectly placed. She is a spacial mastermind... everything is balanced. Balance. A good word to use when describing Mary Douglas Drysdale.

 Love the bed, love the bedding, love the color, love the walls.

Would you look at the Marvic fabric she used for this bedding? An outstanding fabric choice. I just found it for my sister-in-law who is re-doing her family room... she had a photo of a Dan Carithers room with this fabric in browns and couldn't find it anywhere... very handsome. I had a sample all along! And here it is on the bed with lime green and yellow... timeless. Again, love the walls.

 More lime green... and look at that urn... I'm sure she painted it! Stunning!

Would like to have that stone table on my patio!

Gorgeous green bedroom
(3 green photos above via)

 Enter yellow. Let's just say Mary Douglas Drysdale has been known to use bright beautiful yellow... dazzling.

Oh, here are the bowling pins that she paints... aren't they wonderful and interesting? I wish she would sell them in a shop!

More bowling pins... (or maybe the same ones relocated for the photo shoot?)

 Enter orange... See the chair arms? That tangerine color?

More lime green... I just love these citrus colors! Lemon yellow walls, lime green chairs and a tangerine pillow! Here are the finials she paints... I would so buy a pair if I could!

(5 yellow photos above via)

MDD designed this secretary with the stenciled doors... that tangerine color again... sigh...

The moulding over the doors is amazing... her use of architectural elements illustrated nicely... and I love the cow and the plates.

Below is Bette Midler's kitchen... I've searched high and low for my Traditional Home magazine with more images of that home... Such major inspiration when I was building my home. I copied a couple Niermann Weeks light fixtures, and completely modeled my basement kitchen after this one... (you can't see the cabinets to the left behind the island... They're amazing!)

Enter pink. I mean, are you dying? I love orange and pink together! And there's the secretary again.

(3 photos above via)

I remember a magazine (I think Southern Accents) featuring Mary Douglas Drysdale and a lovely home she designed for the holidays... She hand-painted these fantastic ornaments... I was so in love with them! Think Matisse... the colors were outstanding. Well, you can imagine... they weren't red and green! Oh, I wish I could find that magazine. This is the only image I can find online... and you can't see how wonderful the ornaments are... there were close-ups in the magazine. I believe she did all the ornaments on the tree. Charming gift packages under the tree... and if I remember correctly, this home had a wonderful blue kitchen.

Totally wish I could buy those hand-painted ornaments. I'm not a DIY kind of gal... although if a class existed on how to make these ornaments, I'd take it! 
Seriously, I've got big ideas for Mary Douglas Drysdale. She could totally do the whole Mackenzie-Childs thing... I can envision perfectly the Mary Douglas Drysdale catalog offering painted bowling pins, finials, ornaments, bowls and platters, and other assorted objects... so fabulous! Plus her furniture designs including that amazing secretary! This could be the cover...

An exquisite fabric... and MMD was using sunburst mirrors long before they became so trendy... Such style!

 Take a look at this kitchen... and the stools... and the floors...
(2 above via)

This kitchen reminds me of the one I copied from Bette Midler... with the double cabinets to the ceiling.. the tall ceiling! 
More finials! And aren't those blue stools charming? I mean, the woman doesn't miss a beat. From the floor to the ceiling, the colors, the design, and each carefully chosen piece perfectly placed, Mary Douglas Drysdale is unmatched... a designer extraordinaire!

Take a look at the current May-June Veranda issue featuring a stunning renovation, Mary Douglas Drysdale style. The legendary Marwood Estate on the outskirts of Washington D.C. displays beautifully her classic, elegant, and balanced look, starring neutral with flashes of color.


Also included in the issue are the designer's favorite elements for creating sophisticated and comfortable interiors... a real treat.


One fabulously talented artist... strong and balanced, classic and elegant, interesting and smart. Beautiful. Mary Douglas Drysdale.

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A Flair for Vintage Decor said...

What a wonderful post on MDD! My favorites are the designs with pops of yellow...and then the pink/orange mix...that was so perfectly balanced!! Take care, Caroline


Wonderful tribute to one of my top designers as well. Love MDD!!! I had not seen the photo of the pink sofa with that amazingly funky scalloped coffee table...so beautiful.

Acquired Objects said...

The last spread is what I love the most it's simply beautiful. I'm with you love those bowling pins, what an unusual thing to use for an ornament.

deborah said...

simply beautiful! thanks for sharing with us!

Christel @ Captivated by image said...

Love her choices for yellow design, they looks so warm and beautiful. Also I'm crazy about the elegant chairs in these images. Great inspiration!