Patricia Gray is very easy to talk to. She listens intently, she’s incredibly humble and there’s a beautiful paradoxical energy about her in that she’s sweet and soft yet sharply assertive in her demeanor. I relate to that paradox in that the business of interior design forces you to develop a certain type of shell. Perhaps that’s a side effect of business in general, but that’s another discussion for another time.
My excitement for interviewing Patricia Gray for my Cocktail Conversations series comes from the fact that she’s such an experienced, renowned and well-respected west-coast designer. While I’ve been designing for over 10 years, Patricia has been designing for much longer than that. In fact, it was actually Patricia who pioneered display suite interior design in Vancouver for multi-family real estate developers!
Patricia Gray is the first interior designer to make it on my show and I couldn’t wait to speak with a fellow designer, soak up some of her experience, and share her advice with my audience!
What struck me the most about our conversation is how Patricia speaks about interior design. As a profession, I would argue that it’s easy to get caught up in interior design because it’s such a passion career (as I like to say). I have yet to come across a designer who wasn’t passionate about their work, but being passionate about your work can also cause you to be very emotionally tied to it, for better or for worse.
Patricia, on the other hand, speaks very calmly and subjectively about interior design. As I spoke with her I could really feel the healthy respect that shes has for her work. While she loves interior design, it certainly doesn’t consume her like it does for so many designers, at least not any more. Instead, Patricia seems like she’s the one who’s mastered it, and not the other way around.
Patricia’s mastery over interior design comes from both her experience in the field, as well as igniting her passion for art and painting. During the course of her career she decided at a pivotal point to scale her company back from 12 people, and later during an economic downturn, pursued art as a means of staying creative. Now, Patricia only works with a few select clients and simultaneously (with the help of her incredible assistant) spends her time painting.
It’s a pretty great gig, if you ask me!
Patricia’s big advice to designers is to get out and about. Get away from your desk. Get some fresh air. Travel. Creative inspiration doesn’t often strike when you’re sitting at a desk, so get out and experience the world as that’s what will ultimately inspire interesting design.
There’s so much more great advice from this west-coast designer so make sure you watch the full episode to learn more about Patricia’s start in the business, her successes and failures, and where she’s headed in the future!
Make sure to leave me your thoughts and comments, as we’d both love to hear what you loved about this episode!
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Location: Chambar Restaurant
Skirt: Club Monaco
Shoes: Nine West