Factoring in Gender to Interior Design

A Modernism Week panel highlights women's history in the industry, noting the many success stories as challenges

Carolyn Moloscho Home & Design 0 Comments


Christina Aguilera, John Travolta, Courtney Love and Tom Cruise are just a few of the celebrity clients who have hired interior designer Jaime Rummerfield for her creative brilliance.

When it comes to high profile celebs, Rummerfield says, “There are Hollywood clients, and then there’s the rest of the world.”

Pamela Fiori (left), author and former editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine, with Steven Stolman, author and designer, co-moderated The Female Factor: Women in Design during Modernism Week.

Rummerfield, of Woodson and Rummerfield’s House of Design, was one of four panelists at The Female Factor: Women in Design presentation, held on the final weekend of Modernism Week. Joining Rummerfield on the panel were Laura Kirar of Laura Kirar Design, and Jackie Thomas and DeeAnnMcCoy of Thomboy Properties.

The presentation was co-moderated by designer and author Steven Stolman and renowned author and former editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine, Pamela Fiori.

Elsie de Wolfe, “America’s first decorator,” who also threw fabulous parties, said author Pamela Fiori.

Stolman and Fiori began with a tribute to the first female interior decorators who paved the way for today’s superstar designers. They highlighted Elsie de Wolfe, who introduced de-cluttering, comfort, and product endorsement in the 1920s; Dorothy Draper, an inspired decorator and great businesswoman; Frances Elkins, an underappreciated yet exquisite decorator; and, Sister Parish, a White House decorator during the John F. Kennedy era, who had a firm called, “Budget Decorating.”  

The panelists agreed women have excelled in the design industry ever since, but still deal with gender-related issues similar to other industries. “In our work, women have to be stronger, more is expected, lots to juggle, and you have to look good. You’re really expected to do it all, and why?” Kirar paused. “Because we can.”


A midcentury modern renovation on Sierra Way by Thomboy Properties in Palm Springs. The home was on the Modernism Week Signature Home Tour.

Thomas and McCoy have boatloads of the can-do spirit. They said the very first midcentury modern home they bought, then renovated, sold in three days, and they haven’t run out of luck since. Their most recent restoration is a home on Sierra Way now on sale for $1.65 million.  

When it comes to renovating, Rummerfield met the architect of her midcentury modern Palm Springs residence, who just happened to be Donald Wexler. One day shortly after she purchased the home, he knocked on her door, and the two were soon working together on properly restoring the home.

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Guests are welcomed to a Kohler-sponsored cocktail reception at a residence on Sierra Way after the Women in Design presentation.

Guests enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at an exclusive party with the Women in Design participants following their presentation.

More Modernism Week Reads:

• Hollywood Glitz Opens Modernism Week

• More Expansion Ahead for Modernism Show & Sale

• Modernism with a Twist

• Ol' Blue Eyes Still Packs Them in


• CAMP Modernism


• Making Chairs for Angelina Jolie


• Daughters of Design: Find Your Yummy Quotient


Christopher Kennedy is in the House

Leave a Reply