There's a certain value in a mother's wisdom. Whether it's how to set a beautiful table, when to have the confidence to launch a new business, or how to treat others with respect and care. Many of our favorite clients have learned more than a little from the matriarchs in their families—lessons that have impacted their own lives and careers. In honor of Mother's Day, A’maree's has collected lessons in life and style from our clients; they just may remind you of everything you've learned from your own mother.
Let us share some advice from our very own A’maree’s family matriarch, our mother Nancy: “Treat the customer with love and respect, and they will keep coming back for more.” 45 years later, those same words continue to guide our business and our standing in the community.
In Monday’s Mother’s Day feature we spent time with flowersmith Kate Jeremias and daughter Beatrice. Today we share the story of interior designer Mary Valentine Buckingham pictured throughout this feature with her daughters Lacy and Hillary, as well as her granddaughter Charlotte. Mary Valentine’s full-service interior design expertise has been balancing timeless interiors with scale, color, patina, graciousness, comfort, elegance and some whimsy for over 30 years. Believe it or not, she has been shopping at A’maree’s since the 80’s when the store was just 1200 square feet and tucked inside a small local shopping center near The Newport Beach Tennis Club. In the same center was the best charcuterie in town called Showley Wrightson…remember that?! We are consistent in our approach to buying for the store, we don’t follow trends, and we get the greatest joy when our clients wear items they purchased with us many, many years ago.
Mary, on her personal style: "My personal style is pretty consistent and pretty classic. I recently wore a Courrèges suit that I probably bought from the store 25 years ago. It’s truly timeless, off white in color and a light tan belt with the tiniest Courrèges logo on it. It's kind of a mod short jacket with a little a-lined skirt.” It doesn’t surprise us that the homes Mary designs mirror her own style; there is something altogether easy about it all, yet you know it’s considered. In our photoshoot, shot on 35mm film by Marina Anderson, Mary wears a navy and white cotton twill dress from Daniela Gregis, the dress has both a classic color story but a modern artistic twist with the Matisse like cutouts. You can say, in fact, that’s so Mary. When it comes to her design aesthetic, Mary appreciates a layered interior design that evolves and blossoms as one enters a room, it's her distinctive calling card - she’s mastered the slow reveal. So when it comes to her style, its similar, and that upon further investigation the details and what makes her clothing choices special are in the construction and quality.
The greatest piece of style advice Mary has given her daughters is to “stay true to yourself and your own style, wear what you can wear confidently, and don’t wear something that wears you.” She has the same philosophy for the homes she designs, she wants her clients’ homes to have an ease about them, timeless yet meant to be lived in, always with a dash of humor. Fashion and interior design have a lot of overlap; how you feel in a space or the clothes you wear are directly tied to the memories you build. There is something about curating the lives of our clients that for us has to have an ease. Lacy chimes in with a wisdom her mother Mary has instilled in her, “Even if its just for Sunday night dinner with your family, it’s worth setting a table with intention because it leads to it being more memorable.” When it comes to table settings, Lacy has an eclectic approach and uses a mix of Astier and family heirloom China with some of her newer finds. She often incorporates a gorgeous Astier vase, gifted to her by Dawn, Denise and Apryl as a wedding gift. The relationship that the A’maree’s girls have with the Buckingham family is so special, in fact, that Dawn, Denise, Christian, and Apryl attended Lacy’s wedding in Portugal in October of 2018. Christian Buhl, captured the trip with hundreds of incredible photos, a few of which we have included.
About 7 years ago Hillary joined the A’maree’s family, and is currently working on our e-commerce and digital affairs. Her mother Mary has passed much wisdom to her, but there is something that stands out and is still a part of her practice today. “When I was little I used to read the "Miss Manners” book at breakfast every morning after I had read the funnies in the newspaper. My mother has always told me children are what they learn.” In that same vein, "One of the most consistent pieces of wisdom my mother has given me is with respect to thank you notes. Its crucial to write a thank you note within three days to show people how you appreciate the event or the gift, no matter how insignificant it may seem. People always remember how you make them feel, so treat them with kindness, and a thank you note goes a long way."
There is a sense of freedom that you can feel from this family, freedom to explore their own style, mixed with tradition, and mixed with a lot of love. They don’t take themselves too seriously and when all gathered there is no shortage of laughter. When it comes to clothes for Lacy’s daughter, Charlotte, she offers up, “Don't save the really nice outfits for special occasions, wear them every day. Our kids grow so fast…every day is a reason to dress up.”
To see Mary’s work you can follow her on Instagram @maryvalentinedesign