It's been a while since we made a formal introduction of one of our own, yes? The COLLECTIVE Clergy is the series in which we show you the parts of our sum--an intro to each goodly member of this city-loving gang. They make up the cast that sells your homes, makes them pretty, and brings you the website magic every damn day. And we're long overdue for another. This week: Andrea Beecher.
Andrea is so good for so many reasons. Mad early to this business' show, she was the first to be invited to our COLLECTIVE poker game specifically as a designer. She's a sparkling personality with the outfit to match. Andrea is enthusiasm and positivity personified: if you've got good news to share, she's willing to shout, clap, and hug about it, even in the quietest of rooms [it feels pretty good]. Having dug through her closet for costumes, I know that her wardrobe is a dazzling, schizophrenic mix of color and texture--Mrs. Roper meets Zsa Zsa Gabor meets Helmut Lang. Her hubby [Dan] is co-host to a fascinating podcast about atheism, which happens to be fantastic, and their condo in Rose Park is a well-designed blend of warmth, quirk, and mid-century affection. I know that whip on her head is very real…it went fabulously grey in her 20s, and it's one of this editor's favorite shocks of unruly curl ever. Her nickname is Lady Bird, quite simply because I find her to be a lovable, muppet-like brew of both species. And if you're looking for someone to help you design a space that perfectly matches who you are, this gal's your gal. Read on and get to love 'er like I do...
Why design? Tell me 'bout it: I don't know if everybody has something that they were "born to do," but design is in my bones. I've been designing since I was just little. My bedroom as a child was in a constant state of curation. There's a famous home video in my family of me at age seven...squealing with delight about the curtains and bedspread I received from Santa. When I got to high school, I was lucky enough to attend one that offered an interior design program with a wonderful mentor and teacher. I had college credits before I even graduated, so it was a no-brainer for me to move on to college and get my degree. I've never regretted it. I also loved art and fashion from a very young age. I never understood the embarrassment other kids seemed to feel about homemade clothes. When my mom took me to the fabric store to pick out the patterns and the fabrics that were to be that year's school outfits, I felt like a fashion designer.
And your middle name? Does it please you? My parents didn't give me a formal middle name. They wanted me to use my maiden name as my middle name once I got married, so my middle name is now Morrison. I actually do love it. I'm proud of my family name and Scottish heritage, and I'll throw a haggis at anyone who disparages it.
What do you think's going on with Bruce Jenner? I mean… I assume you're referring the 1977 debacle, where he had to defend General Mills against allegations of false advertising by declaring that he did, in fact, love Wheaties. Yeah. That was a mess.
Name someone who inspires your design style. Or a place. Or a thing. I love Kelly Wearstler. She's an interior designer that has her own product and fashion line. Her designs are amazing and I love her personal style. I love fashion, too, so I totally identify with her on that front. That is definitely a huge source of inspiration for me in my personal expression as an artist and as a designer, as well as for my interiors.
Katie has a fear of being eaten by a shark in a pool. Do you like sports? A) That's ridiculous, as everyone knows that sharks are allergic to chlorine. But, she should probably avoid the ocean, 'cause that girl looks delicious. B) Yes!
Favorite city/spot in the world: This is the toughest question. I love to travel. It's cathartic for me and I enjoy it so much that it's hard to pin point a single place. There is this hotel in Paris called La Maison Champs Elysees that sent my design senses reeling. The lobby and bar were done in a modern, stylized Trompe L'oeil in black and white. It was insane. Sitting on the beach in Barcelona was an unexpected joy; Dan and I are not beach people, but after being jet lagged, we decided that doing a few hours on the beach would be recuperative. The people watching was amazing--everything from pasty German tourists to obnoxious American families and topless Spanish goddesses. The Mediterranean Sea was incredible, and anything you could ever want would just walk right up and offer itself to you ("Mojito, mojito, mojito! Cerveza beer, cerveza beer!"). Other places stand out for wildly different reasons. Tokyo's Harajuku district, New York at night, Iceland's basalt rock formations (complete with puffins flying in and out), the French alps as the Tour de France rides by…it's impossible to choose a single favorite!
Why do you think SLC is such a force right now? What are we doing right? The dominant culture here (or anywhere, for that matter) can feel oppressive and stifling. I think that, as a reaction to it, there has been a beautiful surge in counter-culture that's lead us to interesting art, theater, music, and a ton of great food. It's all exponential. The coolness feeds more coolness to the point where it's no longer a reaction to anyone else...it's just it's own brilliant thing that now exists on a deeper level. That brilliant thing gave enough of us a reason to stay here to continue the cycle of contribution, and to help build from the ground up.
Give me your take on our little COLLECTIVE. It's a beautiful thing! We are a very diverse group of like-minded people who are excited about what each of us is trying to accomplish for ourselves and the community. We each have amazing talents, that when brought into this creative environment, help the others fulfill their dreams. We each care a lot and I love that. Sound cheesy? Well, it's absolutely true so deal with it.
Describe your perfect space…what does that look like? I would describe my design style as Brutalist and mid-century modern inspired, but I'm pretty eclectic in my approach. Any and all things are a go, if used in the right combination or context. I love color, but more specifically, I love creating contrast with color. Even neutrals can take on new life with the right mix of texture and contrast.
Favorite Kenny Loggins song? For reference, mine is "I'm Free." Because it is awesome. The "I'm Free" video is epic. I think you understand how hard this is for me. Can I say the entire Top Gun soundtrack? I'm such a sucker for 80's pop tunes, and Kenny is right up there for me. If I have to choose one, I'm going with "Danger Zone". I actually really regret not buying those "Danger Zone" panties (yeah...panties) that they were selling at the Kenny Loggins concert we went to together.
Tell me how you like to work with your clients. How does a good client-designer relationship work? It's a very personal thing to be asked to design someone's home or business, and I take it very seriously. Establishing a level of trust and trying to get to know them as well as I can in just a wee period of time is critical for me. Often, my clients will become my friends after, but getting to know them personally helps me be more intuitive as to what they like and need. I love the collaboration with my clients. The greatest joy for me is taking a client who struggles to articulate what they like, guiding them through a process of discovery, and hearing them say, "I don't know how you did it, but this is exactly what I wanted" at the end of the project. One way I can share my talent is by giving others their own design voice while pushing them to an unexpected place that inspires and elevates. I often say that my job is part designer, part therapist, part mentor, part mediator. I love helping people in partnerships--whether they be husband and wife or business partners--learn that they have much more crossover than they think. It's satisfying to have two people with very disparate styles feel that they both got what they wanted and needed out of a space.