Monday, April 29, 2013

Wise words from interior designer Mary McDonald

When I was walking up to the Mint Museum Uptown last week to interview L.A. based interior designer Mary McDonald, star of Bravo TV's "Million Dollar Decorators," I couldn't help but be a little nervous. I'm a fan of hers, but after watching her intensity at times on the show, I didn't really know what to expect when I met her in person. But I have really good instincts and as soon as I spotted her from a distance, I could tell she was going to be great.

Mary looks even more beautiful in person than she does on TV. She's petite and toned with her gorgeous long, dark hair was flowing. She was wearing a sleeveless black sheath dress with leopard print pumps,  a leopard print YSL bag, and a black and gold statement necklace.

We headed off to one of the museum's meeting rooms with some of the hardworking members of the Mint Museum Auxiliary, including president Cathy Austin. The auxiliary brought McDonald to town to speak at its annual Room to Bloom Symposium the previous day at Charlotte Country Club. McDonald's talk was one of the most successful in the 25 years of the symposium's history. The event sold-out and was attended by 500. Mary was thrilled that she sold 500 of her stylish coffee table books "Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style."

The Mint Museum Auxiliary is celebrating its 60th anniversary and I'm in the process of reporting a story about that exciting milestone. It was so wonderful to see a top talent such as Mary absolutely gush about the beauty of our city, what she deemed our "world-class" Mint Museum, and the hospitality she had been shown by the auxiliary during her visit.

For the complete article, go to

The auxiliary's leadership really knows how to do things right. No wonder Mary was charmed. She was feted at two gorgeous private homes, including artist Windy O'Connor's house that was a fundraiser for the auxiliary. Mary thought Windy's house was so stylish and she really loved Windy's artwork. The photo at the top of this blog taken by Daniel Coston is one of my favorite's from that evening. It really shows off Mary's vibrant personality. And I love that Mary went monochromatic in her green dress and stunning jewelry.

For a slideshow of photos from the fundraiser at Windy's house, go to

What I loved about Mary is that she's an interior design genius. She is so talented, smart and stylish. And she has a great personality. Plus, she's so much fun to be around. We all laughed at some of her hilarious observations and stories. She admitted that she comes across as intimidating on the show, but I can say that in person she's an absolute delight. She's the woman you would hope to be seated next to at any dinner party because not only would you learn a lot, but you would have a blast.

She commented on my Thompson necklace that I had just bought as a 25th wedding anniversary gift to myself. It's by one of my new obsessions, Addison Weeks jewelry, which is designed and made in Charlotte by Katherine Weeks Mulford and Lee Addison Lesley. I bought it at the new boutique Splurge, which is currently the only store in Charlotte selling the jewelry line. I'm in love with all the Addison Weeks jewelry, belts, clutches and bags. Go to and you'll see why I'm enchanted.

It turns out Mary is a fan too. The auxiliary gave her an Addison Weeks cuff bracelet as a thank you for coming to speak. I heard later that Mary also bought one of their clutches while she was here.

I told Mary that I wanted one of the pendant necklaces that Addison Weeks shows with the Thompson necklace - they look so cool together.

As I was standing at the meeting room door saying my goodbyes, Mary's last words to me were "Buy the pendant!"

Now those are words to live by. In life, if we want the pendant, and we can afford the pendant, we should always buy the pendant. Those wise words filled with fun are another reason to love Mary McDonald.


Smith Diano said...
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Katherine Weeks Mulford said...

I love this post! Thank you Olivia! You definitely deserve the pendant :)