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TXDW Houston — Matthew Patrick Smyth Riffs on Insta Addiction, Visual Inspiration and Continuing the Design Narrative

In an Illustrated Talk and Book Signing at Decorative Center Houston and Arsin Rug Gallery

BY // 07.15.22
photography Johnny Than

Although Matthew Patrick Smyth‘s second book, Through a Designer’s Eye: Focus on Interiors (The Monacelli Press), was released in September 2020, he wasn’t able to make the usual book tour due to the pandemic, so Texas Design Week Houston guests were in for a delayed treat.

Smyth, who has been in the interior design business for more than five decades, shared his wealth of knowledge without hesitation, in the most sincerely gracious way. He also welcomes new trends and technologies with open arms.

“When (Instagram) first came out, I ignored it,” he admitted. “Now, 1,500 posts later, I wish there was a 12-step program.”

In fact, Through a Designer’s Eye features a number of photos shot on Smyth’s own iPhone — some posted on said Instagram page. The book was largely inspired by the idea that as a designer, he draws from everything he sees while traveling, shopping, or just walking in nature.

His own 1970s deck house in Salisbury, Connecticut (featured in the book), is proof of his impeccable eye and constant quest for visual inspiration. Smyth could tell you the backstory of every piece in his home, which is filled with collected items, antiques, and artwork done by friends — and what interesting stories they would be. Yet somehow the end result looks like everything was meant to be there all along.

Smyth takes a similar approach with his clients, preferring to help them find pieces with personal meaning and to “continue the narrative” of their own heirlooms. It’s no wonder many of his clients have become personal friends and return to Smyth repeatedly for design projects — some, over the course of decades.

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Following his talk on the first floor of the Decorative Center of Houston, guests made their way around the corner to Arsin Rug Gallery for a book signing an afternoon cocktails, welcomed by Lida Arsin and showroom director Mark Odom. Despite a line out the door of those eager to have the first signed copies of Smyth’s book, the showroom’s expansive inventory of handwoven and antique rugs made for plenty of oohs and aahs along the way.

PC Seen: Abbi Parker, Maria and Andres Donoso, Lisa Evans, Marc Anderson, Mary Vu, Kathryn Smith, Emily Spanos, Vyara Noeva, Tereza Blattner, Paola Rozo, Sarah Prazak, Tiffany Goodman, Sarah Eilers, Ellen Eilers, Shannon Mann, Kandice Eiskant, Barbara Lopez, Laurie Murphy, Tracy MotleyAlli Ryan Motley, Julie Koch, Samantha Mansur, Katherine Warren, and Leah Howard.

Texas Design Week Houston sponsors:  New Orleans Auction Galleries, Monogram Luxury Appliances, Decorative Center Houston.

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