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Interior visions CTMOMENT


I grew up in a very artistic home. My father, David Margolis ’78, maintained a photography studio in our basement, and while I took piano and dance les- sons like many of my friends, my par- ents also had art instructors come to our home to teach me how to draw. Most weekends, I wasn’t playing outside but instead creating elaborate murals on the basement chalkboard with my father’s ancient overhead projector.


In high school I developed an inde- pendent study for myself—sculpting a totem pole out of clay and donating it to the school library. During the summers I taught arts and crafts at an overnight camp and took photography courses. In college I drew, mostly with charcoal, until I went abroad to Florence, where I discovered watercolors. After gradua- tion I moved to Manhattan and took odd jobs. I was what I like to consider a “faux” photographer and freelance painter, all while trying to figure out what to do with my life. Then I discov- ered interiors. Today, while I may not be painting or drawing or even sculpting, I am abso - lutely creating. Like every artist, I have a vision. I walk into a house (whether it be fully furnished, in complete ruins, or somewhere in be- tween) and my head starts spinning. Within seconds I am no longer distracted by the reality of what is laid out be- fore me, but instead I see an ideal version of what it could be.


At times I have specific layouts in mind, and at other times I imagine placing color on the walls, but either way, it’s al- ways just the beginning of what can be a very long process. I find myself experi- menting with different textures and col- ors, a variety of fabrics and fur niture design. Some work, some don’t. Much of the time I become engrossed in the de


BY LEAH MARGOLIS ’04


DESIGNER LEAH MARGOLIS ’04 IN HER NEWLY REHABBED KITCHEN


sign, not able to turn off my brain until I come up with what I consider the exact best solution.


EVERY SO OFTEN A SCHEME IS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, BUT USUALLY IT’S WORKED AND REWORKED A THOUSAND DIFFERENT TIMES UNTIL THE VISION SATISFIES THE PURPOSE, THE STRUCTURE, THE CLIENT, AND ME.


Some days I become frustrated be- cause the design I’m fixated on doesn’t exist or simply can’t be done for structural reasons—an engineer I am not. That forces me to head back to the drawing board. Every so often a scheme is conceived once and it’s right the first time, but


usually it’s worked and reworked a thou- sand different times until the vision sat- isfies the purpose, the structure, the client, and me. When I finally get it— the project is taken to the point of my “perfection”—I feel a combination of great excitement, utter relief, and sheer delight for what I have done. I remember first feeling those same


emotions during a sophomore- year drawing class at Skid - more. I walked into the room and encountered the most diffi- cult-looking still life—a mattress, folded, with what appeared to be garbage hanging all over it—a vision I will never forget. I took one look at it and thought it would be a chal- lenge, but as with most chal- lenges, I knew I wouldn’t have too much trou- ble completing the task. Just as


I was pulling out my paper and prepar- ing to begin, the professor casually men- tioned that we had to draw the entire piece upside down. It took me two classes, serious self-doubt, and a bout with tears to get it just right. But when I finished, I felt the most incredible pride for myself and for my accomplish- ment, and then also for my work. These days I find myself confronted with different kinds of challenges— structural layouts and flow, furniture de- sign, budget limitations, and sometimes a difficult client. But while I’m more likely to be working with a scale ruler and a pencil than a piece of charcoal, when a job is complete and turns out just as I had envisioned it, the same feel- ing of pride and accomplishment comes over me. In recent years I may have left behind my art supplies, but at the end of the day, if you ask me what I do for a liv- ing, I’d say: I create.


2 SCOPE FALL 2010


CHARLIE SAMUELS


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