About Ann McDonald
Ann McDonald, IIDA, NAPO, NKBA is a Legacy Philanthropic Lifestyle Designer. She is Founder of Couture Chateau LLC, a concierge level luxury design firm bringing macro and micro design solutions to solidify legacy and generational succession for discreet individuals and families with philanthropic mindsets from six continents.
She was graduated from UC Berkeley, is married to Patrick, together they have two grown sons and three fabulous pugs. Ann’s main residence is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to Couture Chateau LLC, Ann gives back as Business Moderator for the Trade Group Interior Design Community serving over 40,000 active members. A featured Author, Speaker and Teacher, Ann’s expertise in Design and Creative Business is highly sought.
Ann’s passion is to SOLUTION individuals and families to DESIGN homes and property for:
1) Legacy Development
2) Global Philanthropy
3) Generational Succession
Early Exposure to Good Design + French Phrases
Macro Design Solutions: Big picture acquisition of land, benefactor lands, property on and off continent, homes, ranches and income properties
Micro Design Solutions: We design from the sofas to the silverware
Ann’s first official decorating project was a decorative paint job on an antique bentwood chair, much to the chagrin of her ever gracious mother. Armed with paint (who gave you that darling?), she was convinced her custom painting would sell. She was 7. Needless to say, the paint was lovingly removed and Ann received her first Major Design Lesson (MDL) in “patina and original finish”.
MDL 1: Patina & Original Finish. Good for people as well as things.
Next came Barbie’s Bus. It really did need an overhaul.
Then there was the bathroom styling job. Most Dreadful Award, Age 9. Ann’s thoughtful notes on towels and decorative soaps “do not use” in the downstairs powder room were, shall we say, not approved by client? She had staged the room to perfection thank you very much and did not want anyone messing with her designs! This discovery by way of family friend Barbara Boyce was followed by a, let’s just call it, slightly less gracious MDL from mother, “everything for use, always…Noblesse oblige…“. It was also Ann’s first formal lesson in French Phraseology. Apparently French could either be good or bad when put into use. Duly noted. One had to learn early and fast around there, sheesh. Some people.
MDL 2: Everything for use, always. Noblesse Oblige. Never forgot that one.
We won’t bore you with Ann’s adventures in Early Library Organization by way of book color, height and depth, or her contributions of “real art” by way of the Elementary School Library. We are pretty sure Ann was the only child walking home with a 24 x 36 framed copy of the Mona Lisa. Suffice it to say, Ann knows full well that a very proper Library is ordered for the loving use of its’ trust board and that the Edward Henry Potthast over Grandmother’s sofa was indeed “real”, the copy of Leonardo’s work from the Elementary School Library? Not so much, though it did provide cocktail party fodder for years. Her second formal lesson in French Phraseology was learning C’est la vie in response to MDL 3. At age 10. Definitely a Decorator in training.
MDL 3: Poor Decorating choices make you cocktail party fodder. Learn to laugh at your mistakes, early & often, even at 10.
After UC Berkeley (who knew then that Interior Design was actually a major?) Ann moved to New York and attended Parsons School of Design courtesy of MasterCard while working in PR. She claims to have taken 2 courses. It was during her 20’s. We give her a pass. The second time she lived in New York City Ann landed a highly sought position at a Design Shop on the Upper East Side where for two years she learned and worked from one of the best in the retail end of Interior Design.
The years working in Los Angeles’ elite custom design and fabrication world from Factory, Showroom and Car (with a mammoth red car phone: MDL 4, sometimes tis best not to match, C’est la vie) as Sales Rep + Drafter were some of the most enlightening. There may have a been a class or two at UCLA’s FIDER Interior Design Extension Program courtesy of MasterCard again. She claims there may have been two or three this time.
It was during this season, after work, Ann took on her first solo clients.
MDL 4: Sometimes tis best not to match.
By all accounts, the seed for Luxury Custom Design by way of Couture Chateau was planted during the NYC & Los Angeles years. Custom + Service + Follow up + Access + Privacy + Service. Yes, that would do. Live and learn. Dust off from early mistakes, thank early Clients for their graciousness and never forget to return that graciousness to those surrounding you. Ever.
That, and search high and low for solutions that serve clients. Always. It is not only good design, it’s good business. Thank you Jack. You were a wise and gracious teacher.
What do you really need to know? That Ann has a passion for Design. She and her team will Decorate a space to the best of their ability, worthy of holding you, your trust, your heart, your family, your board advisers, your generations with grace, humor, style and real life.