With stints at some of the most sophisticated design firms and showrooms in the Twin Cities, Maureen Haggerty has been influenced by the best design minds in town. She was director of interior design at David Heide Studio, senior designer at PAPPAS and project manager at Gunkelman's Interior Design. She was with Billy Beson in the mid-'90s, managed showrooms for Baker, Knapp & Tubbs and F. Schumacher and was a rep for the Gene Smiley textile showroom. Now the exuberant Haggerty is running her own firm -- mint inc. -- and loving every minute of being the boss. We threw a few questions her way to get inside her experience and adoration of textiles.
Q Which color is underrated?
A I love brown. When used alone, it's a bit blah. But when married to another color -- such as soft yellow, pink or coral, apple green or robin's egg blue -- it shines and makes the other color shine, as well.
Q What's your signature look?
A I hope that I don't have a signature look. I strive to create my clients' look in their homes. A client's home shouldn't be a reflection of me; it should mirror their tastes, lifestyles, priorities. I try to work by the motto 'Design is in the details.' I love the finishing touches that make a room rich with personality: accessories, pillows, interesting lamps. To me, that's the icing on the cake.
Q Which designer, living or dead, would you like to have worked with and why?
A I would have treasured the opportunity to learn from the greatest, Sister Parish and Albert Hadley. Parish was one of the premier female interior design pioneers. Her interiors were romantic, sophisticated and elegant. Hadley's design genius was tailored, modern and sleek. The blend of their modern and romantic design preferences was so intelligent and timeless.
Q If you had a do-over, what other profession would you like to try?
A I am very interested in helping people with a slant towards ethics, so I'd be an attorney. It would need to be supplemented with a creative outlet, though. Perhaps floral design or landscape design.
Q Where do get your inspiration?
A I love shelter magazines and read them all -- Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, Mpls/St. Paul Home, Midwest Home, Spaces, etcetera. I primarily shop at International Market Square. There are several fabulous showrooms to visit for inspiration and motivation: Zachary; Duxbury; Scherping Westphal; Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, and Holly Hunt. When I have the chance, I also enjoy visiting the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Q When it comes to a design, where do you start?
A I always begin my design palettes with fabric selections. They inspire the entire decor of a room or a project. I have to say that my first love is textiles. I could look at fabrics all day long and never tire of the patterns, textures and colors.
Q Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?
A I would invite four people to my dinner party: Bill Beson, Tom Gunkelman, Mary Jane Pappas and David Heide, all former employers of mine and all highly talented and intriguing people. What a wonderful mixture of personalities and design/business philosophies. I learned immensely from them all.
Q How would you set the table?
A It would be a very simple yet elegant table -- crisp white linens, simple white china crowned with a mass of brightly hued seasonal flowers (all the same flower and color) in a large, simple clear glass vase. I would order in the food. I don't cook!
Q What is the most beautiful room you've ever seen?
A I admire and appreciate the work of both Barry Dixon and Vicente Wolf. Their rooms are very different in flavor but are so well done that one doesn't get the feeling that an interior designer had been present. There is a sense of ease and flow with every project. They both have a talent with peppering unexpected elements into their interiors.
Firm: mint inc., 651-332-9609, www.mint-design.biz.
Years in design: 24 and counting.
Schooling: College of St. Benedict. Bachelor of arts degree, housing/textiles/clothing with a concentration in interior design.
Family: Single. I'm married to my career, but family is very important to me. My mom is my role model and I have four terrific nephews and five beautiful nieces.
Home base: North Oaks.
What are you reading? "Beauty: The Invisible Embrace'' by John O'Donohue.
Favorite TV show: "House."
Favorite vacation spot: The North Shore, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing.
Color of your bedroom: Benjamin Moore's Limesickle. I know the name sounds a bit scary, but it is a pretty, soft, spring green color.
Favorite flower: I love all flowers, but if I had to choose one, it would be French tulips.