Wingate Ltd. in the Press

Berkshire Living - September 2011

Home on the Range

Name: Valerie Winig

Hometown: Egremont, Mass.

Age: 53

Occupation: Designer

Business: Wingate Ltd., Great Barrington, Mass.

What exactly does a designer do? “There's a technical side to it, and the there's an intuitive, psychological analysis of your client. A designer has to look at the cultural imperative, the cultural influence on the client, and develop forms and function based on their needs and feelings and perceptions.”

Who needs a designer? “Just about everyone could use the input of a designer to help them discover what they could really benefit from in terms of a formal overview of their space and their own tastes. I elicit from people what's inside of them already and draw on that [to] help illuminate what their environment can be for them. And I try to elevate their expectations and their lives by creating an environment that will manifest all of their hopes and dreams.”

Were you interested in design as a child? “ I had a small peony garden, and I took great pride in it. I edged it beautifully. I also used to lie in bed and make movement patterns with my feet, symmetrically, bring them up and down and to the right and to the left. And I danced for years, which is hugely instrumental to design, which I never knew until I discovered that flow of moving from one space to another was akin to the beautiful movement through space of dance.”

Does if make you anxious to be in a place that is not well designed? “I really don't care how people live. It's more about how people are. If I sense people are happy in a junk-filled room, and there's lots of activity and stuff everywhere, kids running around, I never even think of walking in there and changing the room. In fact, I've walked into homes that are cluttered to death and yet with some personalities I put more stuff like that in, because of the way that person's brain works. It's all about the individual.”

What's your design pet peeve? “Buying impulsively to fill a void that otherwise should be mulled over longer, which should not be confuse with impulse acquisitions that are out of lover [for] the article. And the idea that you can't paint wood.”