Worldwise: Favorite Things From Inspired Luxury Homes Founder and Director Emily Mackie
When interior designer Emily Mackie tried to convince clients and colleagues to embrace 3D technology, no one was ready to step into the world of virtual design. “I realized that if I wanted to bring this concept to life, I had to do it myself,” says Mackie. With a flat survey in hand, Mackie and her team of 12 can generate an entire house via a pre-build 3D virtual tour before they begin, using new software she has created.
This version of virtual reality technology helps potential homeowners understand interior spaces, giving them the ability to walk around room by room as they would in real life. The program also encourages more transparent communication between clients and designers, architects and builders. “The amount of savings made through phone calls, errors, changes, confusion and more, this technology is going to change the industry,” says Mackie.
Originally from Texas, Mackie, 45, was bitten by the interior design bug at an early age. The entrepreneur was raised by a mother who toppled every house she lived in throughout her childhood, fanning her daughter’s creativity. “Interior design was a natural path for me after seeing it knock down so many Fort Worth homes,” she says.
After starting her career at global architectural firm Gensler and learning the ropes of one of the most prolific and diverse firms in the world, she embarked on home design. “I migrated to residential design, just because it was so much easier to start my own business with smaller, more manageable projects,” she says.
The sister companies she runs — Inspired Interiors and Inspired Luxury Homes — are based in Wilmette, Ill., 14 miles north of downtown Chicago. The brand designs, builds and manages projects nationwide, with clients in San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, SC and the Hamptons in Long Island, NY.
Mackie also devotes some of his free time to philanthropy, partnering with local organizations for initiatives such as the Clear Scan Mammogram “Wall of Fame” and a breast painting auction for Susan G. Komen. “In 2016, I designed a room decorated with paintings of 32 well-known female breasts. The women teamed up with Mackie to auction the art online, raising US $ 11,000 overnight. “It was such an innovative, eye-catching and powerful fundraiser.”
Recently, Penta caught up with Mackie, who shared some of his favorite things and inspirations.
I find design inspiration in … all. I refer to myself as a “design frog”. I breathe the design through my skin. Design is everywhere, but not everyone sees the details lurking in the world around us.
My favorite restaurant in my hometown is… everyone laughs at me, but I’m a Texan cowgirl too, so I love my dive bars. You can often find me having a burger and a beer at Meier’s in Wilmette.
The best book I’ve read recently is … Green light by Matthew McConaughey. He’s a fellow Texan, so I can really relate. I loved how he described his success as a series of research and action “green lights” presented throughout his life course.
The designer I admire the most is …
Pierre Marin. If Louis Vuitton and Chanel hire you regularly, you know you are amazing. Plus, who doesn’t love a guy who wears leather pants for every occasion?
My favorite material to work with is … some of my favorites are a set of refrigerator door panels covered in a crocodile print; a work of art made from the bindings of books; paint mammograms in watercolors. I also like to present collections in inspiring ways, like walls covered with old keys and hundreds of film reels in wall art.
My favorite museum in the world is … Orsay Museum. The adaptive reuse of the station really has a powerful impact on all exhibits. The atmosphere is filled with centuries of souls.
If I could buy a work of art … I would hire Yayoi Kusama to create a bedroom in my basement. I’m known to throw a lot of parties at my house (poker nights, Pictionary parties, Bounce House parties, live band birthday parties). Creating a space with Yayoi Kusama would take the atmosphere to a whole new level of enjoyment.
What wakes me up in the morning is … Community Café in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (a piece of my heart will always be Cajun).
The next trip I will book will be at … Iceland, for the Blue Lagoon and the Northern Lights. I’ve traveled all 50 states and all of the U.S. Virgin Islands alone with my three kids, so I take my vacation seriously.
If I could have a drink with anyone anywhere … I had a nice glass of Macallan Rare Cask Scotch with my dad in a little Scottish Highland pub while singing tricks on silly Scottish pub songs. I miss him all the time. My father had by far the biggest impact on my life.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.