A warm welcome to Timothy Macdonald Incorporated, a New York based design firm

by leslierankowfinearts

Tim Macdonald
Founder & President
Timothy Macdonald Incorporated

TIMOTHY MACDONALD INCORPORATED IN A LONG-ESTABLISHED INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM BASED IN NEW YORK WITH PROJECTS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, LATIN AMERICA, AND EUROPE. THE STYLE IS ECLECTIC, RESPONDING TO EACH INDIVIDUAL CLIENTS’ AESTHETIC AND LIFESTYLE. HIS DIALOGUE WITH THE ARCHITECT AND THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS COLLABORATIVE AND ONE OF HIS PRIORITIES IS TO HONOR THE CLIENTS’ TIME FRAME AND BUDGET.

TIM MACDONALD HAS BEEN A COLLEAGUE AND A FRIEND FOR MANY YEARS AS HE HAS GENEROUSLY REFERRED CLIENTS TO ME WHO ARE INTERESTED IN ACQUIRING ART OR ALREADY HAVE ESTABLISHED COLLECTIONS THAT NEED FINE TUNING. HE STUDIED FINE ARTS IN COLLEGE EXTENSIVELY AND HAS A GENUINE RESPECT FOR ART AND ITS VALUED PLACE IN THE CONTEXT OF A RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL DESIGN.

IT IS A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE TIM CONTRIBUTE TO THE LRFA BLOG.

Taliesin
(Spring Green, Wisconsin)

Leslie, thank you so much for inviting me.

THANK YOU, TIM. I KNOW YOU GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST.

WHAT ELEMENTS OF YOUR CHILDHOOD AND EARLY ADULTHOOD LED YOU INTO ESTABLISHING A DESIGN FIRM IN NY?

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and my early interest in architecture was encouraged by my mother. Frank Lloyd Wright had a strong presence in the area and his buildings certainly affected the way I experienced design and space. In fact, I nearly went to his school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, interviewing with his widow, Olgivanna.

Frank Lloyd Wright
Fallingwater

I attended high school in Winnetka, Illinois where I was able to study art under Jon Almquist, who had studied with Joseph Albers at Yale. I flourished. Visits to the Art Institute were frequent and my interest in art was encouraged both at home and in school.

Ultimately, I attended the University of Pennsylvania, with the intention of studying architecture. But, greatly missing the art studio and drawing, painting, sculpture and photography; I transferred to The Boston Museum School to study art.

AND AFTER SCHOOL, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE DESIGN WORLD?

After college, I moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1972. I realized with my education in art, I could either be a fine artist, or teach art. Neither appealed to me, so I considered how I might apply my knowledge to a practical career. A friend worked for a large space planning firm in San Francisco and encouraged me to explore the field of interior design. It seemed a good way to marry my love of architecture with my education in art.

I got my hair cut and put on a sport coat (I was a hippie at the time) and started the job interview process. I visited decorating showrooms and got an offer the first day. But what I really wanted to do was work for a designer and learn the business from the bottom up. I was lucky to land an interview with one of the top interior designers in San Francisco, Val Arnold.

Val Arnold
Architectural Digest, 2007

TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE AT VAL ARNOLD. YOU MUST HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH!

Val had a small office; two designers, one assistant designer and an office manager/bookkeeper. I was hired to be Val’s assistant and my job consisted of doing anything to help around the office. This might be organizing the sample room, shopping for materials, or getting the car washed before a client site meeting. The office manager left for a trip to China shortly after my arrival and after she was gone two weeks, she wired Val she would not be returning. So I became office manager. That was the beginning of my education in the business side of design. In short order I was also helping to create furniture plans and elevations, pull together schemes and even present to clients. I helped out on special photo shoots for Architectural Digest. It was total immersion. I loved it and I was good at it. Our clients were movie stars and the crème de la crème of San Francisco society.

Val was very good to me and begged me to stay with him, but in 1975 he decided to relocate to Los Angeles and I decided to move to New York.

Angelo Donghia
Architectural Digest, 2007

AND SO TIM’S PRESENCE IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN WORLD IN THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF NEW YORK WAS LAUNCHED WITH THE LEGENDARY FIRM OF ANGELO DONGHIA.  STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR THE DETAILS!

THANKS SO MUCH FOR FOLLOWING THE LRFA BLOG, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH, CONTRIBUTORS, FOR YOUR LABOR-INTENSIVE SUPPORT.