Maida Korte

“Men shut their doors against a setting sun.” William Shakespeare

        She came to the door with a large stemmed goblet in her hand filled with sparkling water.   In a deep gravelly voice she said, “Oh, it’s you….come in…..ANGELA….she turned her head and shouted in a direction behind her….I told you to get the door promptly!”

“Well….come in…follow me.”

        Entrances matter.  Just as the goblet embedded itself in my memory, so did the door that Trudy swung open so dramatically.  It was shiny black art deco, with framed panels that created symmetrical layers, three perfect squares, simple, elegant, timeless, and requiring absolute precision.  This door was not easy to make and required a craftsman artisan, a door-maker.  Someone who cared about making things well and took the time to line up each piece of hard wood, knowing a black lacquer would show every single reveal, so it must be perfect.  Each square was aligned with precision and I remember thinking that not only did each square line up perfectly within each frame, but the three squares stacked vertically on top of one another to form a series in unison.  It was comforting looking at this door.  Not a smidge out of line in any direction.  The casings were black lacquer with the same system of layered woods, and the walls were lined with a silk fabric of William Morris design.  Tiny and geometric, silver and white, undulating lines that grew from floor to ceiling.  I was staring at the floor of black and white checkerboard marble when Trudy swung open the door with one sweeping arc of confident purpose.  My arrival was being heralded and I was “on.”   I reminded myself that she had called me.

        After the goblet sighting, I followed my client down the hall that had framed portraits stacked horizontally and vertically on one side only.   A pink and white wide stripe on the other side of the long hall made me want to stop and look at each portrait.  The stripe, the color, the carved frames demanded that a person pay attention.  The wholeness of the collective was a forceful entrance and the hanging lanterns that guided the welcomed visitor into the inner parts of the home felt like guideposts down an intriguing road in the country.  Oh stop at that darling shop!   Trudy Kaplan turned around suddenly and smiled hugely, remembering who she was and that she must be splendid.

“I have an APPALLING project for you.”

        I was taken into an enormous room that had a view that looked out over Lake Michigan.  The room had a creamy oushak area rug that was most likely an antique.  Soft swirling colors of biscuit and sandstone set amidst muted acanthus leaves of faded sage.  The sophistication and simplicity of this rug that took one whole year for an entire family in Turkey to make grounded the room.  The furniture that sat at appropriate places, creating small seating vignettes of luxurious invitation crying out, “Sit on me!  Over here….on me!”   Everything was sumptuous and beckoning.  Gorgeous.

        Still brandishing the sparkling water (made mental note to self to always drink water from stemmed glass when clients come to office) Trudy made a huge sweep with her gobleted arm.  “Well, you must DO something with this room.  Isn’t it horrid?”

        And so it goes in my world.  Designer, detective….discovering what is truly the matter……making clients feel safe and understood.   Solving the problems of seating as much as discovering why clients are unhappy with their homes.  This is as important as the well positioned carved wooden finial placed on an Ebanista table in the foyer.

        What did Trudy want?  I couldn’t demand an answer to this question, but rather, had to discover what was at the heart of her discontent.  It was not my job to talk her into loving a beautiful room.  It was my job to help Trudy discover her dreams and crafting solutions that would bring her purpose and joy.   Just as the sweep of Trudy’s door revealed inner finishes and furnishings that I found gorgeous, the person on the other side had a much larger personality and was more compelling than any interior appointment could hope to fulfill.

2 Responses to “Trudy

  • Hi Maida, I like the term ‘doormaker’ and the line, ‘she must be splendid. I am reminded of Uncle Richard who was taken into a private library in a similar situation. He was stunned at how breathtaking it was, and then the owner said ‘”Just look at this ____, can you make it at least presentable?’ Richard says, ‘This is a lot better than I can do!’……… I never heard the rest of the story, but I think it is safe to say that he did not get the job!

  • Cynthia Romine Baran
    4 years ago

    The Designer/Detective is compelling as well!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: