It was the summer after my junior year of college. As an interior design major, I had drooled for years over Charles Faudree‘s work. He is a cousin of an uncle, and uncle made the necessary call, and my internship was established. I made arrangements to stay with my cousins in a small town just outside Tulsa, but not far, so I could make the drive in each day. I felt like the luckiest interior design major in the entire country: I had an internship with Charles!
Years before, we had actually been to Tulsa to see his “Chateau Debt” (as he fondly called the money pit that was his dream house, now sold) when I was probably only 14. I remember walking through the front door, and feeling like little orphan Annie the first time she walked into the Daddy Warbucks mansion. On returning home to Oklahoma City, I insisted on painting my room a Pratt and Lambert butter color, and swooning over Ralph Lauren’s sage green Charlotte floral, the closest thing I could find to a Bennison fabric on a 14 year old’s budget. (I have a picture–I’ll try to find it to post.) So, yes, that was me. A fourteen year old in love with interior design and chateaus and toile.
I can’t even begin to describe the months of my internship. I don’t remember my first day, but I do remember walking into house, after house, after house, of perfection. Nothing out of place. Dreamy antiques all over the place. Sarah Brightman, Frank Sinatra and classical music in rotation on the shop’s stereo. Meandering over to T. A. Lorton to smell the candles when it got slow. Riding in the van to deliver furniture, to the lamp shade shop. Cleaning out the fabric room, ordering fringe for my first custom made silk pillows. Walking into the shop one day to see Charlotte Moss sitting in Charles’ office, collar popped in crisp perfection. Every time I turned around, there was more fabulous.
I know life is never perfect, but looking back, that summer FELT like it was. Everything was beautiful–all the way down to the milk in the glass jar in the refridgerator. If I learned anything from Charles (and I learned a ton!), it was to take the time to savor the small things, the details, the littles. Maybe the beauty of that summer lied within the details he surrounded us all with. Charles continues to remain an inspiration to me, not only for his design work, but for his heart for humanity, and his divine sense of humor.
So let me throw the question back to you: do you mind sharing a time when ‘life was perfect’? Maybe just a moment, or maybe a season, but a time when life seemed to have it’s own soundtrack of bliss? If you don’t want to comment, feel free to email me at whitneyenglish at yahoo dot com.