Like Mother, Like Daughter: Design Inspiration

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13th Mar 2018

My design inspiration, my mother, by Arlene McIntrye

My design inspiration, my mother, by Arlene McIntrye

Behind every woman, there is an army of other women. Women who have led by example, pushed the boundaries of possibility and supported every endeavour. They are friends, aunties, neighbours, cousins, sisters, grannies and, of course, mothers. They provide much inspiration, including design inspiration.

The mother-daughter relationship is such a significant one. From an early age, a girl sees the world through her mother’s eyes. Her opinion of herself and perception of the world both hinge on the strength of that mother-daughter bond.

For entrepreneurs, their first female role-model and ideas sounding-board is, quite often, their mother. Both muse and artist to the child’s grand plan.

In the wake of Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, we decided to sit down with our founder and head designer Arlene McIntyre, to discuss her relationship with her own Mom, Marcella, and how it shaped her to be the go-getting, boss-lady she is today.

  1. Describe your Mom:
    Supportive. Funny. Spiritual. Walks to the beat of her own drum.
  2. What is your earliest memory of you and your Mom?
    Playing in the park with her when I was very small.  I also loved when she would read out books to me before bed time. I’m told I recited all the words of a story before she spoke them, long before I had learned how to read.
  3. What elements of your home do you remember loving as a child? What inspired you?
    I took all the open-plan living spaces for granted when living in California as it was just the norm over there.  But since moving to Ireland I appreciate those big living spaces so much more. I loved our big luxurious bathrooms and all the wardrobe storage! And of course, all that Cali sunshine. Having a seemingly endless supply of golden warm light pouring through each window of the house was such a treat.
  4. Do you see any of the design from your childhood reflected in your work today?
    Open-plan living is definitely in my DNA.  I could never relate to houses with loads of small bedrooms and cramped bathrooms. I’m just so used to the complete opposite. I also find myself automatically drawn to neutrals and all tones of blue. Big open-plan living spaces, beautiful wall panelling, big kitchens with proper islands and excellent utility rooms always remind me of my childhood.
  5. What’s the best bit of advice your Mom ever gave you?
    Not to compare myself to anyone else. Not to take myself too seriously. And to always be open to learning – to always speak up and ask questions.  She also taught me that life is not a race, that we’re all here to learn and grow from our own unique lessons.
  6. Was your Mom happy with the design career you chose or did she have other aspirations for you? Did she need convincing that this was your calling?
    My Mom would have supported me in any career I chose. My Mom’s side of the family is very creative and musical. While my Dad was a bit of an inventor and more business headed.  I like to think I fall somewhere between the two!
  7. Do you get your creativity from your Mom?
    Yes, she is quite artistic and has an excellent eye for colour and art. She has a good imagination too and is very inventive.  She’s definitely a creative soul.
  8. If you could choose something from your range to give to your Mom as a gift, what would it be?
    Well, I have named a sofa after her, called the Marcella!  She also loves our silk flower range and of course our beautiful home fragrances.  Anything that sparkles works for her too.

    Our Marcella Sofa from my design inspiration

    Our Marcella Sofa from my design inspiration



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