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Talking Design with Award Winning Interior Designer Mary Douglas Drysdale

J Brooks Designer Floors works with some incredibly talented interior designers. We recently had the opportunity to interview Mary Douglas Drysdale, one of our long time partners. Mary is well known across the industry, often referred to as an "American Design Icon". She is known for her signature style, recognized as both original and timeless, seamlessly bridging tradition with modern.

Premier designer in the Washington, D.C. area, Mary Drysdale has been on the cutting edge of interior Design garnishing over 60 career covers both in the US and abroad. Mary has earned standing as one of House Beautiful's Top 100, 5 years running, and named as one of America's top 200 practicing architects and designers in Architecture and Interiors magazines.

Mary, tell us what made you get into interior design?

For me building was something I always wanted to do. When I was a girl in Charlottesville, Virginia our family home backed up to a heavily forested area, owned by the University of Virginia. I loved to play there and my time was often spent building tree houses and bamboo cabins; I enjoyed making things.

Living in Charlottesville, I was surrounded by great design. I played on the lawn of the University of Virginia and made frequent trips to Monticello with my family. The beauty and classical balance of the architectural influences I had, left a permanent impression on my own sensibilities.

A custom shaped carpet from J Brooks defines this soft colored space by Mary Drysdale
Mary's signature look incorporates modern touches softened by classic design

But it was at 19 when I left the US to live in Paris that my commitment to interior architecture and interior design really blossomed.

The French have long preserved their architectural history and with great style and expression have impressed the world with their ability to mix classical and modern and boldly mix and match. It was my years living in Paris that made me want to do, what has made my career.

Do you find that your approach has changed over the years?

Actually my interests or directions in design have remained closely aligned, as my career has advanced and styles change.

My greatest interest is in interior architecture and completing the plan through well scaled furniture that suits the needs and presents good proportion when viewed against the spacial plan and elevations.

I have always believed that great design is a combination of art, architecture and decoration.

We can relate to that sentiment! Looks change, but the fundamental processes and methods we use to deliver a quality product to our customers is timeless. That being said, do you see any changes coming from your industry that excites you?

Yes, I see many changes. On the one hand, Covid 19 has brought us all home and perhaps made us reflect on how we really want to live and what is really important in terms of comfort and use.

Custom hallway runner by J Brooks for Mary Drysdale
Style should account for comfort and practicality

I think that houses will be more comfortable; there will be a lot of mixed use spaces and finishes will be more comfortable and less fragile.

​People will be dining in and social distancing will be reflected in new furniture arrangements and hand sanitizer will greet all friends on the entry foyer table!

That's a great point! Taking a pause and staying home really makes you focus on how you live and how to balance your life, particularly as the workplace changes and people find themselves working and living in the same space day-in, day-out.

So, last question and a bit of a shameless ask, but for our prospective clients, what would you say is the reason you continue to work with J Brooks after so many years when there are plenty of flooring contractors out there?

I have rarely observed in any flooring or carpet vendor the care and quality that is the standard at J Brooks Designer Floors. The workmanship is always top of the line, the choices broad and the pricing fair.

I recommend J Brooks to all designers and customers, the service I have gotten over the years is excellent.

Custom patterned carpet with custom border grounds Mary Drysdale's design
Mary's blend of soft staple pieces accented by bold details draws the eye throughout the room

Thank you Mary! We appreciate your kind words! You never disappoint your clients and we enjoy being showcased in your work.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions.

We love having the opportunity to showcase our partners. Mary is a wonderful designer we have worked with for years and anticipate working with for years to come. Take a look at some of her work J Brooks had the opportunity to collaborate on.

You can find more on Mary Douglas Drysdale and Drysdale Design Associates, Inc. at​


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