been decorating residential interiors professionally for ten years, but I
came to it by a most circuitous route. I started my career as a
television news reporter. As soon as I started to make money though, I
found myself spending it at rural estate sales. And, I found myself
spending lunch hours slipping into antique shops in whatever town I happened
to be in that day. Later, I married a history and travel buff, so while
I've never been to a professional basketball game, I have toured museums and
historic homes in ten countries. When my daughter was born, I switched
careers and opened an antiques shop in Farmington, Connecticut called "PastTimes".
Believe it or not, reporting and antiquing have a lot in common. You have to
"beat the bushes" to find the stuff and you have to do a lot of
fact-checking to know what you've got. Little by little, I started finding
things for individual people...an English sideboard that worked perfectly
in a friend's dining room, the ideal center table for my neighbor's foyer.
That's how I started doing interiors.
When I look
back on my circuitous route it really
leads home. My Dad was a textile manufacturer so I learned about fabric early
on. My mother led the design team with a strong emphasis on color and
pattern. They traveled to Europe every year and came home with suitcases
full of samples from Paris and Milan. The most interesting conversations in
our house were about the work. One of my brothers also went into textile
manufacturing, one of my sisters teaches Fashion Merchandising at a
University. I was always adamant I would never go into the family
business but, in a broader sense, I guess I have after all.
decorated homes throughout the country, working for the same clients two and
three times when they move, move up or purchase vacation homes. The key is a
good working relationship. When there is clear, open communication and trust,
the process is a pleasure for both parties.
Lee Ann Soowal
Antiques and Interiors
Weddington, North Carolina