Total Inspiration

I've written many a post about my "designer idols", namely Celerie Kemble, Elizabeth Dinkle, Suzanne Kasler. I admire them for their impeccable taste, glamorous portfolios and design philosophies. I love hearing their stories about how they got there, especially funny memories and bumps along the way.

After coming across these incredible images of Ruthie Sommers' 1920s-style birthday bash, she surely sits with my growing list of Design Gods. She's a cultured and classy woman who works with L.A.'s wealthy clientele, but also volunteers so much of her talent to charitable causes. As a wife and mother of two, Ruthie has eclectic taste that has developed after years of working in New York, L.A. and (drum roll) France. This calls for a whole new category: design and life idol.

Enjoy the segments below of Ruthie's honest and humorous words, and of course, her beautiful spaces.

Ruthie Sommers' first person biography:
"Decorating really is my first love. I ‘ve been pushing furniture since Curious George. When I was reworking my website I laughed out loud reading how wonderfully chic my biography sounds. Studying art and antiques in Paris is true. But what is not mentioned is that I was there searching for a Jean Pierre and dreamt of painting everyday on the Seine. Instead the only thing I came home with was a few extra pounds and canvases of fire hydrants and hairy women.

So you may understand my need to clarify.

I have been decorating for almost eighteen years. So it is very easy to write a bio on me or any decorator for that matter. But what does “mixing eras boldly really mean”? Listing all my press, advertising how magazines I have been in makes look and sound impossibly important. I guess that is the goal in any profession. Recognition is what we all crave. I do on a daily basis.

But what makes designers different? Every bio sounds the same to me. Including mine.

So here is my deal.
My car is filled with fabric samples, old coffee cups and crumbled up paint chips. My office is not the beautiful neat organized office you may see on the pages of a magazine. The glossy white walls and perfectly p-touched folders are an illusion. I am proud of the homes I have decorated. I think they look wonderful on my website. But people live in them and there are stains on the ottoman and the peonies only make it to the mantel for the photo shoots and parties. I feel my success comes from something one can not photograph. The most fun I have aside designing sassy bars and cute powder rooms, is creating livable rooms and becoming part of someone’s family. I watch their purse carefully and in return I gain trust. And a great house is the outcome.

So . . . I am just a decorator. Big staff, great store or small garage office.. I have not changed. I have realized that my goal is not do so many things in this industry that I forget to decorate. I still schlep lampshades in my car and the highlight of my day is going downtown to check on carpentry in a old warehouse. Glamorous this job is not. However, I live and breathe to have a relationship with a home and the people that live in it. My goal is not have people remark at parties that Ruthie designed the most amazing aubergine lacquered room. But it is to hear that they were treated carefully, honestly and creatively. And that . . . is all I need."

Excerpt from 1stdibs Introspective by Susanna Salk: Sommers gradutated from the University of Virginia and moved to New York to start an apprenticeship with the renowned designer Juan Pablo Molyneaux. She then worked at Ralph Lauren Creative Services until her boss caught her and best friend Mary Mallard at a diner near the Lauren offices, laying out a design plan for their first personal client. 'Of course I was let go and cried all the way down Madison Avenue but Mary just laughed and told me this was a sign telling us to get our business license!'"

Ruthie's 40th Birthday slideshow (must see for any event planner out there!), click here.

All photo sources attached to link.

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