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  • Writer's pictureNatalia Allende

This week on The Woof! A Love Affair Born at Age 12

This week I’m going a little personal. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Natalia and I’m from Santiago, Chile. Born in the midst of political and social turmoil, at my mere age of two, my father, a pediatrician, was awarded a scholarship in a university hospital in the USA, so my family pulled up our roots and established in Jacksonville, Florida for what turned into 11 years. I had a happy and quiet childhood there, and I remember how my stomach sunk when my parents announced that within just months we’d be on our way “back home”. I’d leave my entire life behind and go into the unknown. We had only visited family in Chile once briefly when I was six. And I remember fearing that I’d never again hear one of my favorite songs “Africa” by Toto in this third world country we were headed to. (Side note: I didn’t hear that song on the radio for a few years, but it eventually made its way on, and I still remember when I heard it again for the first time.)

Natalia Allende
This is me!

Among the many life-changing things that struck me and changed my worldview during that initial period back in Chile, one that hit me deepest was getting to know my grandparents, and in particular my mother’s mother—Maggie Edwards, or Mimí as we all called her—a woman with exquisite taste and an ingenious approach to creating Home. Her home blew me away like few places I’ve ever been in before or after. The pieces she used, the textures, colors and, quite frankly, her overall style were those of a true taste-maker. And thus my love affair with interior design was born, at my young age of 12!

Mimí and Tata
Mimí and Tata: my grandparents who influenced my style strongly

Her eye for refinement and the most interesting mixes, evidence of their world travels and cultured mind, have influenced my own aesthetic ever since. A well-balanced mix of new and old, and high and a some low are what drive my design. There is absolutely nothing like a home built over the years that incorporates the best quality possible. It, without a doubt, creates the desire to be in the space. To me this is a home created not for show but for love of home.

In my interior design projects I strive to use unique pieces that families own and that can be incorporated into the scheme with elegance and humor. To me, always a nod back to Mimí. The wife’s wedding shoes sit on a bookshelf as a tongue in cheek statement: beautiful, yet mildly tacky. An inherited ‘50s Ericophone Cobra as a paper weight: not usable anymore but still holding it’s place as an iconic design element. Interior design reflects one's interior and, in my mind, it's a great way to make one's history part of the every day. So it is a good idea to incorporate all kinds of things, and part of the fun is to do so cleverly.

Wedding shoes and '50s phone
A tongue in cheek wedding memento and an iconic Ericsson Ericophone Cobra acting as a paperweight

So there you have it, my Mimí is the one to thank for the passion for creating interiors. A love affair that has not cooled off to this day.


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