My interest in design and interiors began when I was a child growing up in Washington, PA, where my father owned a furniture and carpet store. Every Sunday, my family drove around the area looking at model homes and visiting other home furnishings stores. My sister Marcia and I spent hours poring over design magazines, painting and repainting our bedroom, dyeing our curtains and bedspreads, and researching new ideas for our bathroom. Marcia became an interior designer, but I had difficulty sticking to one path.
After graduating from Temple University with a degree in English, I got a job managing Scandia House in Philadelphia, which sold what we now call classic Mid-Century Modern Scandinavian furniture. A few years later I returned to school and received an M.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and subsequently worked at an Ethan Allen furniture gallery for a year. I then moved to New York City where I attended Columbia University, earning a Ph.D. in English with a specialty in Shakespeare. Naturally, I sold furniture at various stores during the summer. After spending six years as a rep with SunarHauserman and Knoll, two office furniture manufacturers, I left sales to begin teaching at the New York School of Interior Design. This also gave me an opportunity to start my own business, designing and painting quilt-patterned floorcloths. The Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian, Old Sturbridge Village, and other museum stores carried my work.