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Episode 180: Countdown Interview with Mary Douglas Drysdale

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Welcome to our Top Episode Countdown with Mary Douglas Drysdale

Think you can guess who our listener’s favorite guest has been?

When you listen to today’s Countdown Episode add a comment on our website’s episode page and share your guess. If you’re correct we’ll add your name to a drawing. On 01 September we’ll draw one name who will win a copy of our Top Podcast Guest’s Book.

It’s simple. Just leave a comment and share who you think is our listener’s favorite podcast guest.

One of your favorites was Mary Douglas Drysdale.   Enjoy our chat and this background helping you learn more about this special friend of Million Dollar Decorating.



Mary Douglas Drysdale is an American interior designer whose namesake company, Drysdale Design Associates, was founded in 1980. Her areas of expertise are in commercial and residential interior design. Her offices are located in Washington, D.C., USA. The projects undertaken by Drysdale extend throughout the United States and abroad.


In addition to the practice of interior design, Drysdale has created over 100 custom furniture pieces for her clients. She is the recipient of design and achievement awards, and is a speaker on interior design. Mary Douglas Drysdale’s work often features the work of contemporary artists.[1].


Mary Douglas Drysdale established Drysdale Design Associates, after having worked for several years with Creative Architecture and Design, a Washington, DC design firm. Drysdale’s drawings for the, “Fan of the Future” were selected as one of five finalists, in Emerson’s Fan Competition of 1989. The renovation of her own residence was selected in 1989, as the winner of Dossier Magazine’s [2] “Home and Garden Award.”


Among early commercial projects, the Morrison House Hotel [3], in Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded, by the National Travel Association [4], the “Best Inn of the Year” in 1991. Two of her restaurant projects included a renovation of La Fonda Restaurant [5], and the design of Café des Artistes’ Restaurant [6] in Washington’s fashionable Georgetown area.


Drysdale’s ability with classical detail and millwork were quickly established and in 1991, she won an American Woodworking Institute [7], “Award of Excellence.”


Drysdale has participated in designer show houses throughout her career, in both Washington and New York. Subsequent to the National Symphony Orchestra Show House in the fall of 1991, in McLean, Virginia, Drysdale was selected by House Beautiful Magazine [8], as “one of two young designers in the country to watch,” published in a story which featured her Show House room (April 1991). That same year, Southern Accents Magazine [9] the designer was named in their selection of “Leading Designers of the South” (June 1991).


By the mid 1990s Drysdale had developed a style of design expression which embraced both the classicism of traditional American architecture, and combined that with furnishings schemes reflecting the aesthetic of a more uncluttered Modernist aesthetic. In 1994, Drysdale was given an “Award of Excellence in Design and Innovation in the Traditional Style”, by Traditional Home Magazine (May 1994). For seven years running, during the time which House Beautiful Magazine selected their picks of the Top 100 designers in America, Drysdale was included on this list from 1996 to 2002.


In 2001, Drysdale was selected as one of the “Top 200 practicing Architects and Designers in America,” by Interiors and Architecture Magazines, and was invited to attend the “Applied Brilliance Conference” [10] in California in 2001. In 2005, Ms. Drysdale was selected by This Old House Magazine, in the, “Top 40 professionals in America, Working with Old Houses.” (October 2005). In 2006 the New York Observer featured her as one of “Five Hot Designers and Their Favorite Projects”. In 2007 Drysdale was selected as one of Washington ’s top Designers, by Washingtonian Magazine. In 2007, Spaces Magazine awarded Drysdale first place in the category of “Classical Kitchen Design” (October 2008)[11].


Her colorful, painted, kitchens have become recognizable in the world of kitchen design [12]. Some of these kitchens can be seen on the covers of shelter magazines, including: Kitchens & Bath (Vol.8 number 2), Traditional Home Magazine (January 2001) and Trends Magazine (Vol. 18 number 5)[13]. Drysdale was also selected by Kohler Company in 1999, to design a kitchen for their permanent design showroom in Kohler, Wisconsin: [14][15]. Maytag Industries also commissioned Drysdale to design a kitchen for the 2001 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Florida. The kitchen was featured in the Washington Post article,“The Three Divas of Design, Barbara Barry, Anne Saks and Mary Drysdale,” and appeared in two books.


Her work has been published in the United States in Architectural Digest, Veranda [16], Traditional Home, Southern Accents, Metropolitan Home, The Robb Report and others. Her projects have been featured in international magazines such as Casa et Jardim [17], Espacod’, Living Brigitte Von Boch [18] and Arte & Decoracao [19].


Drysdale has appeared on television segments featured on HGTV including five of Chris Madden’s shows [20], as well as with Lynette Jennings on her program.


She has written on the subject of design, often writing the stories for her own projects. During 2008 and 2009, Drysdale wrote a cultural column, featured in Capital File Magazine, a Niche Media Publication [21].


She has been a frequent public speaker on the subject of design throughout her career. She has spoken at various Museums, including the Smithsonian Museum and the Corcoran Gallery, as well as, in the venues of various design centers, including, The D + D Building in New York City[22], the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois, The Mart, in Atlanta, Georgia [23] and other design centers. She has also been the keynote speaker at various Antique Shows, including the Birmingham Antique Show.

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