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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Strength of a Mentor

I fondly recall the late Wayne Martin would often say" Your home can be filled with beautiful furniture, unique accessories and surrounded with exquisite art, but if you weren't compassionate toward others then all of this luxury meant nothing".

Wayne founded Wayne Martin Inc. over 35 years ago. He brought the world of fine designer textiles in the trunk of his car to Portland. He did presentations to a few decorators building up a business. Today there are two locations of his wholesale design showroom in Portland and Seattle. Wayne also opened the doors of the world of interior design to myself . Over the next 20 years I would get more than an education. I gained a valuable friendship.

Enclosed is a photo of Wayne's residence. A condo in the heart of downtown Portland. He had a timeless eclectic contemporary style. The neutral walls or "pond scum grey" as he referred it was his favourite colour. The walls were actually painted grass cloth. The perfect backdrop for all of his contemporary art. He also collected fine ethnic antiques such as the Siamese horse and rider which was mixed with other Asian vessels( pottery and woven baskets). My favourite not pictured was the marionette horse puppet mounted on a block of ebonized wood. It was displayed on a steel console table with an opaque glass top in the entryway.

A few years ago Wayne and I had his sofa recovered in Mark Pollack's " Lumina", a woven boucle from their mill in De Pleog @ We also hired a contractor and metal artist to reface his 70's smoky mirror fireplace. It was transformed in a chic brushed stainless steel facade with honed black slate fire surround and hearth. Two African ceremonial wedding masks flanked either side. They stood on acrylic bases with metal stems. His drapery which always remained opened to capture the majestic view of Mt. Hood were made of copper lurex striped sheers lined with the same "pond scum grey" lining.

In his bedroom which had an amazing view of the same mountains and downtown Portland, he had side panel made of Jack Lenor Larsen's' "Magnum" it was woven metallic squares such as the large pillow on his sofa.

He mixed a few antiques such as the French Empire dining chairs which he recovered in Gary Glant's very modern "Liquid Leather" @

His style, his home are no longer. They are forever etched in my mind. The true nature of his kindness and nurturing spirit endure. the value of having a mentor to inspire, to teach, to advise to develope your taste as an interior designer is almost more valuable than a formal education which will never teach you about quality of character. You either have design style or you don't. To have it shaped by a mentor is as valauble as the friendship that will develope. This can be one the most valuable design experiences a young designer can ever have.

In Memory of my dear friend and mentor

D. Wayne Martin


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