Betsy and Amy
I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing one of my very favorite designers, Betsy Speert in my home. And do you know how we got together? She found my blog because I had written about her and how much I liked her as a designer and on google it came right up. She contacted me, and here we sit~so once again, blogging has been great! I had to get a pic, so I set up a goofy photo shoot for us (we shared a chuckle over this). What a fun afternoon I had with Betsy. She is very down to earth and a lot like me, telling it like it is and still excited about design. Meeting Betsy was something I had never imagined would happen. For years I have noticed her rooms in magazines, and since she was a hometown decorator it made me feel more connected to her as a fan. Pretty is how Betsy decorates~and I love pretty rooms.
A blue and white bedroom by Betsy Speert, Traditional Home
What a whirlwind of a time it was, me getting to ask her all kinds of things and
watching how she works, as she dissected my own home decor, at my request.
We went on the antique hunt too and I trailed along beside her finding out what stunk and what was ok....
but first lets get to the interview.
Betsy is also an author of design books.
I asked her why she picked this cover, since it doesn't look like the rooms she is known for. She said she wouldn't have picked that cover and the publisher picked it. Now you know. Interesting.
Whats your favorite color? I don't have one.
Favorite color group then? A cabbage rose. Red, pink and green.
How can you like both red and pink as favorites? Those colors are both in a cabbage rose....
What is your go to color for a neutral? I don't have a go to neutral. It all depends upon the space.
What about a favorite white? Benjamin Moore White. Not Decorator White. just White.
Do you rearrange your rooms after you finish decorating? No, I never touch them. There was one room I wish I had done differently, and that is my bedroom. I thought I would like a blue and white bedroom, but I wish now I had done it in a linen cabbage and rose print.
Betsy's Blue and White Bedroom
I just love this room! Betsy uses a lot of dressmaker details when doing her rooms. This is the prettiest blue color, and I love the bed drapes and crisp white monogrammed pillows. Look at that chair fabric~she picks great fabrics and her rooms are layered with details. Even with all this beauty, she decided she would have preferred a pink, red and green cabbage rose print. That makes total sense, sometimes you have a change of heart about a room you have decorated for yourself, I know most of you design bloggers can relate to that.
Betsy graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts from Hofstra University in New York. Then she went to Georgia State University and studied interior design, transferring to Chamberlain in Boston and got her design degree. She was one of those people who was always rearranging everyone's furniture, and even though design just came naturally to her she says there is a big advantage in going to school to get formal training. Learning how to draft, the use of positive and negative space...so many decorators do not know how to use scale correctly.
She interned at the Bloomingdale's Interior Design Department assisting the head of the design department and she made her self invaluable.. That internship lead to a job as the clerical in the design department. However Betsy got fed up for being taking for granted, (as she says the first jobs are sh*t and one is treated like an indentured servant) so she left and went to work as a design associate in Acton.
"The bozo I worked for here would make us come in early every Tuesday and make us take a class, like how to measure for wallpaper, how to measure draperies, and we weren't even being paid, and at this point I had 7 years of college and design school and then when this idiot gave us a pop quiz~I quit right then and there!" In the end, when Betsy finally opened up her own firm, the time spent there as an associate was invaluable because she ended up taking June, the bozo's secretary, and they ended up essentially becoming a design team. They were inseparable, and even though she is now retired, they remain great friends. After that job Betsy worked as a kitchen designer, which added to her interior architecture knowledge. "There is so much to learn to being a designer, you can't just to go to school". After being treated like crap by the kitchen firm, she finally gave up with working for other people and established her own design firm. Her big break was about to arrive. First, she got noticed after doing a bathroom in the Junior League Showhouse. It was done with a lot of tromp l'oeile, a garden inspired theme. Tromp l'oeile was so hot in the '80s~it grabbed a lot of attention, including Estelle Bond Guarlnick, the Traditional home mag regional editor. Next, Boston Magazine was hosting a design challenge for their magazine featuring three new young designers. Boston Magazine called the Boston Design Center to see who they recommended. Betsy got the nod, and the challenge, which was to turn a bare white box into a room under a tight budget and turn it into a great space. She did floor plan, elevations, and a perspective painting and picked out all of the furniture and fabrics. It was a lot of hardwork, but it got her name out there.
Her next break was when she did
Betsy Speert, Traditional Home