Design experience: Started at 16. I went to work for Sloan [in Connecticut], then Lord and Taylor, then I went out on my own. On building a room: I'm probably a frustrated architect. Even before we put fabrics and furniture in, I see if I need space above the windows to do window treatments, or how you put the outlets so they're not interfering in the middle of a wall. Die-hard fan of: Colefax and Fowler [English antiques]. It's tried-and-true stuff we've used for 20 years, and it still looks good-old pieces of furniture that are frumpy and comfortable. Don't be afraid of: Bright colors-the Florida sun tones them down. When people come to Florida they tend to make the place too sterile. Spend money on: The rug. If you get a magnificent Oberon or a Cirque, then you can get a less expensive fabric to upholster the chairs. Make it personal: People let their rooms look too much like a furniture store. Don't try to match everything. Even a hideous thing is something to laugh about. Favorite places: The White House. The valances in my living room are Scalamandre fabric, like the trim of the Green Room in the White House. If I weren't a designer, I'd be: A history teacher.