Known for her bold style (and her strong-willed opinions -- it's rumored that she was the inspiration for Karen's character on Will and Grace), Mary McDonald combines old-fashioned elegance with a modern sensibility in her work. Her signature look is eclectic, classic and clean while maintaining a strong sense of glamour and sophistication.
Mary McDonald: Absolutely everything -- fashion, art, history, nature, food. Once you start looking at the integral beauty, colors and patterns in everyday life, it is easy to be inspired. The inner shades of a pinky coral conch shell can be the birth of an entire beach house or a simple lacquered side table.
SheKnows: How would you describe your personal design style?
Mary McDonald: Hmmm. I actually love everything from haute Bohemia to high-polished drama, but I would have to say there is always a bit of theatrical drama to my style, even if it is a linen-laden beach house.
SheKnows: Which of your celebrity clients' design styles matches your own personal style the most?
Mary McDonald: Well, my own style is a little more East Coast. So, to be honest, I have a few from the Forbes list that match me the most.
SheKnows: Is there a certain celebrity you would love to work with, and why?
Mary McDonald: Not sure they are "celebrities" per se, but I would love to work with Prince William and Kate. I am really a big fan of the English country house and would love to incorporate some of the beautiful family heirlooms they have at their disposal in a younger, hipper way. They both seem so happy -- and truly nice, as well.
SheKnows: For those of us working with more modest budgets, what design elements are worth splurging on?
Mary McDonald: Vintage pieces and antiques you can have a lifetime. Let's say an antique chest or buffet that can stay with you through the trends of changing upholstery, which must be redone every so often.
SheKnows: What elements do you think we can save on?
Mary McDonald: There are quite a few great companies out there doing affordable reproductions of more expensive prototypes. There are some great simple jute rugs online and simple modern lighting, all at affordable prices.
SheKnows: What design trends do you wish would go away?
Mary McDonald: Kind of sick of bright lacquered everything. It can die now.
SheKnows: What new design trends can we expect to see come out on Million Dollar Decorators?
Mary McDonald: Over-scaled painted floors for sure -- other than that, I haven't seen all the episodes actually, so I'm not sure myself!
SheKnows: Which castmate's portfolio do you admire the most?
Mary McDonald: We are all so different -- I like them all. I can relate to the Bill Blass-type classicism of Jeffrey Alan Marks, but also love the various takes of Bohemian English from Martyn [Lawrence-Bullard], Kathryn [Ireland] and Nathan [Turner]. Don't think I can choose.
SheKnows: Can we expect to see some competition among the designers?
Mary McDonald: Not from me, so I will have to stay tuned to see!
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