Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Interview- Ruthie Sommers

The super talented Ruthie Sommers was interviewed for Get It Girl Style, and can I say that I am over the moon happy. I have respected her talent since I first laid eyes on Drew Barrymore's office in Domino Magazine. After that, images of Ruthie’s designs seemed to surface everywhere as I remained in a design trance. I was able to catch a glimpse of Ruthie the person in this interview. It’s clear that she is passionate about life outside of just design.
With that, I can only pile on the respect even more. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. Open and Honest she was.
For that, I thank you Ruthie!


Why interiors? I have always loved seeing the way people live. I loved social history in college, architecture, colors, comfort, home, security,  and diversity. The list goes on.

What have you been up to lately in the world of design? All of the same. Working on floor plans, designing foyer floors, emailing photos from blogs for inspiration to clients at 11at night over a glass of wine. Heading to the upholsterers, the wood carvers, and the lampshade store. Finding emails that I missed with important information every now and then! Worrying about contracts, flying on planes to clients homes, agonizing over wallpaper, and also reveling in wallpaper. Eating too much chocolate at the memo desk at Cowtan and Tout.

One word to describe your style? Too hard of a question. My personal style changes daily because I am inspired often, and want to live in a glass house and a 16th Century Chateau. Attention Design Disorder? Three words

In your opinion, is there a difference between a decorator, and designer? Not for me. Many people care about that. A doctor is a doctor whether they are transplanting hearts or healing hearts.

What makes a Ruthie Sommers space different from the rest? Nothing really.  Everyone has their own original fingerprint. Everyone is different to some degree. I wish I had come up with a way to redesign the wheel.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now? More philanthropy, playing the guitar really well, and tending a bigger garden. Not much different than I am now. Every day is so precious that it is hard to wish for more or think about ten years from now. I just hope everyone that I know has great health.

What advice would you offer women with the same hopes and dreams? I would offer to men and women to do what they love and remember that designing is only 10 percent of the business. Taking care of your clients, watching their wallets, and cradling them is most important. People talk about you more than your design. Photograph everything you do with a professional and get going! Think about what you can do if you knew you could not fail..

Was there ever a plan B? Never. There is now. Foster parent to a tons of kids, Veterinarian, Public Policy maker, Mentor for At Risk Teens,.. I saved the oceans single handedly ( kind of dreams...) You may catch the drift.

What are some of the mistakes that home owners make when decorating themselves? Not testing paint colors all over the room is one. Rushing, matching, buying for the name and not because it "speaks to you". Sometimes I adore the imperfectness of a self designed home. It is chic! When people do not care, but design for themselves is when the room sings..

Least favorite d├ęcor style? (examples: country, Hollywood regency) I like all when done properly. Santa Fe, Matching High Point showroom, Pretentious ... etc...

Have you changed your daughters room since it was featured in domino? If so, what changes have you made? I added another baby!

One wish for your brand? No brand.  Being happy doing my little thang....Having the cool girls that happen to be in my office learn something. Having fun.. laughing, learning and getting to piggy back with me . Hopefully they can go out and make some great memories while designing for wonderful people. The dessert is the house but the main course is the journey.. 

What do you see lacking in the world of interior design today? Humility

Everyone wants to know, what’s going on with your book? I am following the Bunny Williams route. I keep getting better, and ( I hope) I feel I am just starting to be able to experience those moments when It all makes sense. Every clients home is different. From French Salon Chicago to Old Country English in Hollywood. I am working hard at designing now, not promoting myself. I have to work a little harder with watercolors, floor plans and research before I come out with an amazing book that I am proud of. Everyone starting putting them out. And lordy, I am happy. I have bought every one. Excellent ideas, photography etc.. However, at 35 I was feeling that I was pushing a brand and not a body of work. I am too old fashioned I guess. I will publish a book with Harper Collins, but not the book I thought I wanted to with a bigger ego five years ago. I have humbled some, and feel that there are so many hours in the day to work. I have so many other interests from the environment to factory farming to unhooking from the media world to be a bit more present. Living simply again with less. It breaks my heart to see animals go extinct because of man, not nature and I am mesmerized by technology and the entire sci-fi-ness of it, when thinking about 2045 when the computer will surpass certain brain power. SO many interests! The middle East! What a world to be living in! I have to be diverse to feel complete and I need these other things in my life aside from being satiated in the design world...  I feel that the entire world of design had become fantastic in an amazing way and detrimental way. We aren't the celebrities, we are the designers and better to have the home, the vibe, the artistic collaboration promoted than us.

Fun questions

First major splurge purchase? A pair of yellow columns with green tole palm frons coming out in Sun Valley Idaho...
(see columns below at window)

What would those close to you say is your favorite personal item to wear? (something they see you in often) Stains...

What's one thing you put in every handbag? Nothing.. because I have lost it before it makes it in there.

Silver or Gold? Both

Flats or Heels? My husband says no woman looks good in a flat.. SO heels. I am shrinking ..

Gloss or Lipstick? More lips would be desirable.. but gloss.

Coffee or Tea? coffee

Cake or Pie? both

PC or MAC? mac

Books or Magazines?both, and blogs and advertisements and sunsets and the green of an avocado.. and anything that give me inspiration

Colored Nails or Naturally Beautiful? I have the ugliest hands on this planet, so nothing that draws attention.  But for a party dark nails on whatever they can find to paint some polish on..

Early Riser, or Late Riser? Early bird singing the Smurf song

Apartment or House? Any shelter!

SUV/Truck or Cute Car? Drive whatever you have as long as you can. Better for the environment.

Favorite TV shows? American Idol, Friday night lights, Real sports, 60 minutes
Favorite Blogs? Too many to list. I am impressed with the blogs that still give tons of yummy info!

Favorite Real Housewives series?  None, and they should be taken off air. Do something in your life people in that hour.

Favorite City to visit? Paris, bien sur

Images Courtesy of Ruthie Sommers
Thanks Ruthie!
High Fives & Hugs,
Tamara Styles


Raina Cox said...

Is there anyone more fab than Miss Ruthie? Nope.

Absolutely fantastic interview!


If the Lamp Shade Fits

Niki McNeill said...

I love how she's so not afraid of COLOR!! So fab. Great interview too Tam!!

kay*(from india.with love) said...

omg so fantastic! ruthie sommers is one of my favourite designers and her answers just made me like her even more - particularly her answer to the question re her book. talented and humble. the best combination.

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

go 'head, tam! i love ruthie sommers and her humility in this interview is definitely evident. great to hear her speak of ego and humility with designers... when did we start getting less of the latter and more of the former???

Fash Boulevard said...

OMG. I love your blog. My name's Anna, I'm a stylist and visual merchandiser in LA. I'm 23 years old and moved to California after graduating back in south with a degree in visual merchandiser. I've worked with such designers as Max Azria, Nicole Richie, and my idol Rachel Zoe. I'd love if you visited my new blog for multiple posts a day on all things fashion. I'd love the support. I'm following you, I hope you'll do the same. Thanks so much.


Laura Burciaga said...

First of all- amazing interview!! How cool that you got to interview Ruthie!! She is one of my fave!

Second- why on earth am I only the sixth commenter on this fab post?! Dare I say that possibly other bloggers might be jealous that you got to interview a design legend? Well I am celebrating the fact that you got to interview her!

Marie said...

Beautiful designs! I love how she puts something unexpected but it works and looks great. Thanks for dropping by my blog, Tam! :-D

Anonymous said...

I am a HUGE fan of Ruthie Sommers and this interview is fantastic! Her answers have made me an even bigger fan :)

Meera xx

The Zhush said...

Really enjoyed this interview..Really enjoy Ruthie's interiors and can never tire of seeing them...love the images chosen here. Good to know that others have design A.D.D too:)

bink and boo said...

What a great interview! I love that she introduced me to a new phrase "Attention Design Disorder", I totally have the same disorder, but in regards to designing accessories.

Drew {Coral Cafe} said...

Love it!! She is a humbled designer, if you ask me!

And thanks for your sweet words and becoming a follower!! Following you back!! Your blog has depth and meaning. Gets the wheels in the brain a turnin! Great way to start each day! ;) Thank you!

Meghan said...

Thanks for posting this! Who can't love design coupled with a down to earth style.

Five after 5:00 said...

Thanks for posting! Who can't love amazing design coupled with a down to earth personality.

Bri@Meyouandawiener said...

I love this lady. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sana said...

Ruthie- I loved coming in to Chapman Radcliffe and am delighted to see your interview here with Tamara. Music and philanthropy- love it! Great job, Tamara!

Anonymous said...

What a fun interview! Totally have Design ADD too!

Joi said...

This was a great interview! She seems so down to earth and unassuming. It was refreshing!

Nicole said...

Love Ruthie! What a great interview!!

So Haute said...

Love Ruthie! What a great interview!!

Erika at BluLabel Bungalow said...

I can't think of a more humble designer. What I wouldn't give to work in her office. I loved every single answer she provided in your interview.

Didn't think I could love her any more until now.

SAJ said...

Such a great interview. I loved her candor. And her organic responses (not the normal canned I read her say this 100x before type of responses). Three answers stood out for me:
1. . . . The main course is the journey.
2. Happy doing my little thang.
3. Everyone has their own original fingerprint
4. Think about what you can do if you knew you could not fail..

I so needed to read this article this week. Love your blog and thanks for sharing.

TiVa said...

such great pictures!!
lg http://thetivafever.blogspot.com/


She is sick wit it! Seriously, the woman has serious skills. The color and texture combos. The furniture lines and fabrics WOW! BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing her!