KBB - April 2011 - (Page 38)
Mary Jo Peterson
Mary Jo Peterson, Inc.
Growing up as the only girl and youngest child in her family, NKBA Hall of Fame inductee and Universal Design expert Mary Jo Peterson, ckd, cbd, caps, caash, “always understood [she] could be whatever [she] wanted.” Her first choice of profession was a doctor, as it would allow her to “use [her] mind to help people.” However, as she became increasingly interested in“the creative aspects of house and home,” Peterson changed course: “my ambitions evolved to design, home-related study and teaching as a way I might still be able to ‘make a difference.’” As a 25-year veteran of the residential design industry, she has not only What’s the biggest misconception about what you do? The idea that Universal Design—so much a focus of my work—is specifically for people with disabilities. In fact, it is design that respects and accommodates the variety in size, shape and ability of all the people who enjoy the spaces and products I work on. What “words of wisdom” can/do you share with others? The adage: “Do what you love and success will follow.” It has been my experience and good fortune that when I moved off the predictable path my career was taking and began to envision a combination of my experiences, education and passion, incredible opportunities began to occur, and this continues to this day. What’s the best thing that has happened to the profession in the past five years? Perhaps the downsizing of our “wants and needs” or our “wish list.” It seems the age boom and related desire for simplifying life, the environmental movement and a down economy have changed attitudes about what constitutes need, comfort and luxury. And the best development/innovation in the past five years? First, I am excited about the evolution of glass as a material—beautiful, durable and a conductor of energy, light and technology. I look forward to where we go with this. I am also constantly fascinated and sometimes overwhelmed by advances in technology, enabling us to shortcut and delegate tasks, such as the appliance that figures out needed repairs without our help or programs a grocery list and cooking timetable for dinner, or even one that monitors our health and wellness so we can age in place. I am also happy to see so many new products introduced to help
shared her design expertise with countless private clients, major homebuilders and manufacturers, but also authored three books on Universal Design and is a frequent national speaker and educator on the subject. More recently, she developed and taught courses on sustainability in kitchens and baths, as well as outdoor kitchen design, and co-authored the National Association of Home Builders’ Advanced Certified Agingin-Place Specialist (CAPS) course. Her books Kitchen Planning and Bath Planning, published by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, are part of its professional resource library.
us bathe with safety and beauty: integrated supports, no-threshold showers, beautiful seats. And just look at the toilets of today. Whom do you consider to be the most inspirational architects? I have to say Steven Winter (Steven Winter Associates)—a great contributor to the green movement. He was into building a better home long before it was fashionable—and he’s also my husband. What is your most annoying weakness as a designer? I say yes to more than I can do in the time suggested, and then I try to complete the task anyway. What do you like to do in your spare time when not designing? My husband and I enjoy bicycling, and we try to take at least one trip a year away from it all on bikes, most often in Europe. We also enjoy diving, which takes us to the most remote and otherworldly places—a great contrast to our “normal” life. What is your favorite color? Shades of blue—periwinkle especially, a color that works for everyone. Truly, I enjoy intense colors and combinations of them, such as in my Fiestaware, which I have collected for years. People would be surprised to find out that you…? Once had a catering company with two dear friends, also kitchen designers. We called it Just Friends, but we quit when we realized we wanted to be part of the party too, not just cook for it. —Alice Liao For more of this interview, visit www.kbbonline.com/peterson.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - April 2011
KBB - April 2011
Table of Contents
KBB - April 2011