This week I welcome my great friend Tartanscot™ to the blog! With a moniker like that – you know this guy must be interesting. Scot Meacham Wood is the man behind The Adventures of Tartanscot™ and SMW Design in San Francisco. If you haven’t checked out his blog, it’s a must read. Just finish reading mine before you head over there!
TF: I thought we could start out with a few “camp” inspired questions. Did you go to summer camp as a kid?
SMW: We actually moved around quite often when I was a boy (a proper Air Force brat here), but I do remember going away to camp at Big Bear Lake – when we lived near Los Angeles – the summer between the 3rd and 4th grades. It was all the basics. Horseback riding. I’m sure we made lariats. Arts & crafts. Camping outdoors. And it was the early 70’s, so of course, it seems like we must have tried to tie-dye everything . . . lol.
A year or so later, we moved to the farm in Mississippi – so most of my days were spent out of doors. Feeding cows. Tending our gardens. Working in the barn. So for my summers, my folks would send me at stay with relatives in Dallas, TX – which was kinda like going away to summer camp, just in reverse.
TF: Is there anything you remember about summer camp that inspires you today?
SMW: I’ve always been kinda adventurous – so, even as a little kid, when asked if we wanted to sleep in the tent – or out under the stars – of course, I chose to sleep out in the open. And I have the clearest memory, of awaking before dawn – my face still chilled and wet with dew – and watching the sun rise over the southern California mountains. And those early morning colours – especially that clear, amazing pre-dawn blue – are often part of my design palette . . .
TF: What types of inspiration do you draw from the outdoors in the course of your interior design work?
SMW: Besides the obvious inspiration from outdoor colours, I find that there is something so visceral about an amazing piece of weathered, roughhewn, hand-made furniture. So much of today’s furnishings can feel so *manufactured,* that finding a piece that connects us back to the outdoors helps to ground a space and give it some emotional depth. I especially like when I can use them in sharp contrast to much more modern pieces. That contrast can give a room such great energy.
TF: Do you have a favorite iconic rustic interior?
SMW: I do still love seeing images of Ralph Lauren’s Colorado Home. I worked for Ralph for WAY too long for those images to not affect me. Just seeing the great details – the massive stone fireplaces – the collections of Indian blankets – as well as the great drama and mass of the space.
My other favourite interior, with a similar point of view, were the interiors from the film “Legends of the Fall.” Lilly Kilvert was the production designer – and created this wonderful hybrid of european style with the raw attitude of the wild west. It was clearly one of the inspirations for our project at Lake Tahoe.
TF: What’s a favorite paint color inspired by the natural world?
SMW: There’s a beautiful almost mushroomy grey from Benjamin Moore that I’m loving these days – “Waterbury Cream” (HC-31) – a perfectly wonderful neutral . . . especially when partnered with a crisp white trim . . .
TF: What’s your take on animal mounts? How do you feel about the current faux mounts in wood, gilding, etc.
SMW: I’ve always loved them. And have used them at my house for years. I’ve only installed them at a client project when we did the cabin near Lake Tahoe. I usually use either one *giant* pair as a focal point, or just mass together a huge collection of small ones. But, we’ve only used antlers – no complete heads . . . lol. I did love finding this beautiful lucite stag mount – but, haven’t had a chance to use it yet . . .
TF: What current designer who relates their design to nature inspires you?
SMW: I know you just interviewed him, but I love seeing what Brad Ford is doing. Fresh, masculine, modern – but, still with this very authentic rough hewn attitude.
TF: How do you like to rough it? Tent or cabin? Or can you not live without 5-star room service?
SMW: I like being kinda scrappy – so I’m in a tent or, even better, completely outdoors. I have a great group of friends who go camping/white-water rafting every summer. We’re still a kinda glamorous, because in the group we have an event planner – and a professional chef. And, clearly with me, there’s an interior designer as well .. . lol. So it tends to be a stylish dinner setting out under the stars. And one year – I actually colour-storied the tents . . . it just made our camp site look SO much better.
Thanks a million to Scot Wood for this fun interview and for being part of our Design Summer Camp. Please be sure to check out yesterday’s Design Camp post and vote for your favorite Design Camper Inspiration Board!