T’was the Night(mare) Before Christmas

night before christmas

T’was the night before Christmas

And though we had prayed

Not a curtain was hanging

Not a swag or a shade.

The client was calling and saying, “Dear Trudy,

My windows are bare

And they’re making me moody!”

So away to the wall phone I flew like a flash,

Called Saul to the rescue

And begged him to dash!

The snow started falling, the wind it would blow,

But Christmas was coming and my client felt low.

“Dear Saul, you must hurry!

The weather is bad.

And those poor barren windows,

Well, they must be clad!”

“Oy, Trudy,” Saul told me.

“Don’t worry. It’s done!

I’m on my way. I don’t need the sun!

No weather will stop me

My sleigh it is packed

With fabric and grommets and braid

That’s a fact!”

He dashed through the night,

Not a sound did I hear

‘Til late in the evening

They called in good cheer.

My client said, “Trudy, your Saul is a blessing!

He’s been here for hours, my windows are dressing!”

So all’s well that ends well,

My friend saved the day.

He never would stop

Until things went my way.

He showed me the meaning

Of Christmas that night

That business with friendship

Makes everything right.

 

The Story Behind the Poem

saul 1

One of my first friends in the design business was a drapery maker named Saul. He was much older than I was, but he took me under his wing and taught me about design and draperies. I was blessed to count him as a friend.

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Saul hadn’t had an easy life. He was a Holocaust victim, but he’d made it through Auschwitz, and worked hard to make a good life for himself and his family in a new country. He had seen enough of the dark side of life. He kept his face turned toward the light.

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He had suffered; he had starved; he had survived. None of that made him bitter, he held onto nothing from his past. He was a good man with a big heart.  He treated me like his daughter, saying, “Trudy’s little, but she thinks she’s big!” He always said he would do anything to make me happy, and one Christmas, he showed me he meant it.

I’d been working hard to finish a client’s home for the holidays. Saul was slated to install window treatments for the first floor of her beautiful home in Connecticut. The client, normally calm and understanding, called me late in the day on Christmas Eve. Saul hadn’t arrived, and she was beside herself, distraught over the idea of Christmas without curtains.

Snow had started to fall, the precursor to a full-blown blizzard.  I didn’t know what to do. The roads were a mess, it was getting dark. Saul was driving from Co-op City,and I didn’t know if he had gotten stranded somewhere. These were the days before cellphones, when it was impossible to reach anyone. My heart sank. Was Saul all right?

saul 2

I worried  until 11:30 that night. At last, my phone rang again. It was my client. “Don’t worry, Trudy!” she told me. ” Saul just got here. He said he’s going to stay until he finishes. We’re drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire and singing Christmas carols. ”

The best part was that although Saul arrived in time for her to have curtains for Christmas, her husband had done his part to focus on the true meaning of Christmas as well. She told me that after her frantic call to me, her husband said to her, “Honey, we can have Christmas without curtains. Look around you.  We have Christmas already! We have a beautiful home, a tree, and our children. What more do we need?”

And then Saul arrived at the door, stamping snow from his boots and saying, “Oy vey, I’m here!”

hot chocolate

This dear Jewish man traveled hours through the snow, charmed my client, joined their family festivities, and didn’t leave for home until 2:30 a.m.

Saul taught me many things: about draperies and design, and about business, but mostly about life. He taught me what it was to stand by a friend, and that I could count on him when things fell apart. He was beside me when my mother was ill and in the hospital, and I was beside him when he needed me. He passed suddenly, after an unexpected fall, before I was ready to tell him goodbye. I wasn’t blessed with a large family, but I am grateful for my rich circle of friends. Saul will always be one who is closest to my heart.

christmas

There’s nothing more precious at the holidays than spending time with the people who love us. I wish each and every one of you a Christmas filled with joy. Curtains are a bonus.

Speaking of a Christmas filled with joy, I am so happy that my good friends Tracey and Bill have a new friend with a wagging tail to love this holiday season. Welcome, Dixie!

Dixie

faces-you-love

Courtesy of Cardthartic. For this and their 600 other great card designs, visit www.cardthartic.com. 

 

Trudy in the News!

Coastal Living Magazine interviewed me for their December 2013/January 2013 issue:

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DQA Dujardin

 I was also featured in Mahon About Town’s November 8, 2013 Nantucket Newsletter:

Umani* of Nantucket/Trudy Dujardin

by Sara Boyce

I have known Trudy Dujardin through the years, as she has a passion for fine arts and visited me regularly at The Brigham Galleries. We overlap at many of Nantucket’s social events and both attended the Food and Wine trip in Burgundy for the 5th anniversary of Nantucket Jumelage in Beaune, but we never had an in depth conversation about Trudy’s career until this summer at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Antiques & Design Show,  August 1 – 5, 2013.

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Trudy Dujardin is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and splits her time between Westport, CT and Nantucket. Trudy was one of the three designers to create a showcase booth at the Antiques & Design Show to detail how to incorporate antiques into a home.

A LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction, Trudy is licensed for Sustainable | Green Design. “LEED” stands for “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” and the third-party designation created by the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

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A “Green” sustainable home, designed by Trudy Dujardin

What is your design style?

“Classic, clean, timeless, eclectic, personal, sustainable, and non-toxic. I love to do interiors that support the health of the homeowners or end users.”

What was your first big break into the business and do you have any advice for younger designers?

“I was a Fine Arts major first and then went back to school for Interior Design because I found that doing commissioned paintings in my studio was too solitary and isolating for me. I thrive on interacting with people! I began by doing store window displays and that caught the eye of a local business person who wanted to open an interior design studio. I helped launch the business and became Director of Design there.

“Young designers: select a well-known design firm that you admire and apply to be an apprentice! You will be learning from the best and learning things that are not taught in design school.”

What advice would you give a client who has a limited budget but wants your input?

“Select just one space or room to begin. We usually suggest the foyer since first impressions are lasting.”

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Foyer designed by Trudy Dujardin

What is the most interesting or challenging home you’ve designed?

“The gatehouse to the ancient castle in St. Andrews, Scotland on the North Sea. We transformed the gatehouse, which was being utilized as a dorm, into a four-story private residence. Andrew Black was the architect.”

Where (or from whom) do you get your creative inspiration?

“I find inspiration from Billy Baldwin, my travels, and all museums and galleries. I also teach sustainable interior design at Fairfield University. I’m always inspired by my students and their creative solutions to the projects we’re working on.”

Born in 1903, William “Billy” Baldwin, Jr. was a designer whose name became synonymous with exceptional American design. Always placing comfort at the forefront, he was one of the designers credited with developing a recognizable “American” aesthetic.” While he described himself as a colorist, Baldwin was known for his instinctual gift for proportion, scale and contrast. At 70, Baldwin retired professionally, and soon after retired from his constantly social life to Nantucket, where he passed the remaining years of his life. According to his New York Times obituary, a partial list of his clients included
Cole Porter, Billy Rose, Mary Wells Lawrence, the Paul Mellons, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mollie Parnis, Mike Nichols and Diana Vreeland. One of the first men in the business of Interior Design, Baldwin became one of the leading designers during his lifetime.

What are your “go to” sources, lines, or manufacturers for quality furnishings and fabrics?

For furnishings: John Boone, Holly Hunt, Rose Tarlow. For fabrics: Holland & Sherry.

What makes the difference between a good designer and a great designer?

“Talent! Of course, the ability to listen and “hear” the client’s vision and then bring that “wish” for how they want to feel in their room into reality.”

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Is there anything significant in how you would approach a Nantucket project v. projects off island?

“A sense of place – always and everywhere. You should “feel” as though you are on this very special island 30 miles out at sea. If it’s an historical house, we are diligent about not demolishing history or architectural details, often researching and studying the history of the property and giving that research to the client in a binder for background and appreciation of their home.”
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How do you work with a client who has different tastes than yours?

“Our work is always client driven: it is their home, their sanctuary, and must be a place that feels like home to them. So after many conversations and written programs, I can truly understand what they love. Even if they love a color I don’t favor, that’s not important.

We do not do thumbprint design so each home looks just like the last. Each is truly a custom creation for that particular client. I tell them at the first interview, ‘you might not see exactly what you want in my portfolio or on my website. Those designs were custom tailored to that particular client’s taste and lifestyle and I will create a unique one for you, too!'”

Trudy’s work has been featured in the following magazines:

Architectural Digest
At home in Fairfield County (Trudy sits on their Green Advisory Board.)
Avenue Magazine
Cape Cod And Islands Home
Coastal Living
Colonial Homes
Connecticut Cottages And Gardens
Country Living
Decorating/Remodeling
Good Housekeeping
Greenwich Magazine
Home & Garden Nantucket
Homestyle
Icon
Interiors And Sources
N Magazine
Nantucket Magazine
Nantucket Today
Only Nantucket
Progressive Architecture
Traditional Home (Trudy sits on their Green Advisory Board.)
Westport Magazine
Dujardin publications include a book titled “The Holistic House” and a DVD titled “Seaside Home”.

Awards:
Best Historic Preservation, American Society Of Interior Design
Best Interior Design Detail, American Society Of Interior Design
Asid Shooting Star Award For Excellence In Interior Design And Best Example Of Creativity, Two Years Running
Greenway Communications – Award Of Excellence For Communication In Sustainable Design.

Awards & Accolades
House Of The Year: Cape Cod & Islands Home Annual Guide
Best Historic Preservation Design: ASID Connecticut Chapter
1st Place For Excellence in Interior Design Detail: ASID Connecticut Chapter
Outstanding Alumna Award: Southern Connecticut University
Award of Merit: Santa Fe Conference & Leadership Summit On Sustainable Design
Shooting Star Award for Best Example Of Creativity, Ingenuity And Design Excellence In Green Design: ASID Connecticut Chapter
Finalist, A-List Awards: Moffly Media, Dining Room Entry

View more of Trudy’s work at the Dujardin Design website, or read her blog.
*”Umami” is something the Japanese recognize as the 5th flavor, in addition to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. A nuanced word, one could define it as the “je ne sais quoi” that deepens flavor, the experience, and imparts satisfaction and sensory delight. To me, it’s “that which makes Nantucket special”.

Food, Wine, and Drink Editor, Sara Boyce has been working in the luxury market since she visited Nantucket for a “three-week” visit after 9/11.

As an Art Dealer turned “Lady in Chief” at Grey Lady Wines, Sara indulges her passions of bringing people together over food, wine, beauty, and travel. Grey Lady Wines specializes in boutique wine recommendations and Private Collections, but Sara feels the best glass of wine is always that shared with friends, ideally before dancing.

To share photographs or comments on Nantucket’s Food, Wine, and Social scene, email her at FoodWine@GreyLadyWines.com.

A Tree for Autism Speaks

 

Festival 2013

If you’ve read what I’ve written before about the wonderful work done by Autism Speaks, you know it’s an organization that’s close to my heart. Autism is a general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development.  One in 88 children per year are diagnosed with disorders on the Autism spectrum today, a forty fold increase in the last ten years. I’ve supported this organization through Light It Up Blue, have walked on Nantucket to raise money and awareness, and this year, have created a holiday tree to honor the families who struggle with this disorder, and to help bring attention to their search for a cure.

The tree is my contribution this year at The Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum Festival of Trees; I’ve participated in this event for years, and each holiday look forward to creating a new and original testament to the holiday.

The Autism Speaks tree is made from two interlocking puzzle pieces, the highly recognizable Autism Speaks logo, painted their signature blue. The tree inside the puzzle boasts 500 silver balls, a sparkling reminder of the children and families who deserve our support.

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autism speaks elvesMy “elves” this year were my husband, Frank Fasanella, my dad, Bob, and my good friend Russ Valentine, visiting from Florence, Italy. We spent hours putting the tree together and getting every detail just right. I am so grateful for their help!

I hope if you’re on the island you stop by the museum and see all the beautiful trees. It’s such a special time of year on Nantucket!

 

A Special Thought for Christmas

Taking care of others at the holidays is something we all try to do. I’ve recently been inspired by a person I admire greatly. He and his wife recently re-evaluated their donations to charitable organizations, and decided to add to those contributions something more direct and personal. I was able to witness their new plan in action when we went out to dinner in Atlanta this fall. After leaving a generous tip on the bill, he called over the waitress, a single mom of two children, and gave her another twenty, just for her.

Their new way of giving includes overtipping cab drivers, porters, the room service people, on TOP of the service charge on the tab. Everyone who performs a personal service for them, everyone who crosses their path in a day.

I followed in this dear man’s footsteps this year, and have continued throughout the holiday season. If you have the means, and sometimes even when it’s a challenge, bumping up the amount you tip can make someone’s day. The smiles and appreciation are truly contagious.

Try it! The ten or twenty dollars doesn’t seem like much. But it makes a difference.