Designer Crush: Tracy Gilmore

1. Who is your biggest role model? 

My biggest professional role model is Chris Barrett who is a designer I don’t know very well on a personal level, however I have followed her work and career closely for the past 8 years. I think it is time to invite her to lunch. Chris, please consider this the most public invitation ever. Her interiors are lovely and I adore her aesthetic. I love that she was the president of the Institute of Classical Architecture—one of my favorite organizations. I love her career path, working with KAA and then opening her own firm. I love her fabric line. She and her team are so passionate and you can see the love of their work. Seriously...follow Chris on InstagramFollow me too, please, by the way. 

My biggest personal role model is my mother, who is the most caring, smart, and beautiful woman. She lives her life with a vitality that inspires me every day. She has reinvented herself countless times throughout her life, always staying true to herself and her family. She is incredibly graceful and always put together. Her style is classic and timeless. 

2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?

Interesting question. I love movies and I find so much inspiration from them, from the wardrobes to the music to the sets. On my admittedly very eclectic list would be all of Nancy Meyers films, Mad Men, Pillow Talk, The Fountain, and Star Wars. 

3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

Asking lots of powerful questions. Being with them in their home. Communication is everything.

4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work? 

Colorful kitchen cabinetry! Clean white kitchens are timeless, but I am loving the boldness of colorful ones. My husband and I did our kitchen cabinetry in our last condo wasabi green—it made us so happy and was a joy to cook in. I love seeing so many colorful kitchens getting published today. It is a design trend I am embracing.

5. How do you completely unwind? 

A run on the beach or a yoga class. Traveling is also recharging and inspiring to me. My husband and I are turning 40 this year and planning our trip to Cancun and Tulum with our 4 year-old son. That crystal clear water will surely be a place to unwind and to set our intentions for the next exciting decade.   

6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued? 

During my solo European backpacking trip in my mid-'20s, I debated 3 career options: a chef, fine-artist, or interior designer. I ultimately fell in love with interior design and went back to school to study as soon as I got back home, getting my first position with Kathryn Ireland, which set the bar pretty high.

7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why? 

Working a deep fryer at a burger joint was not my favorite, but I still loved that job. It was fun and it served me well. Every job I had pre-designer taught me about customer service and how to run a shop.

8. What’s your favorite recipe? 

We cook almost every night and our basic philosophy is if we put in lots of really fresh and delicious ingredients, and an extra helping of love, then “how bad can it be?” Here is one of our favorite side dishes to serve. I often base my decision on what I order at a restaurant based on the sides, so the side dishes are very important to me.

Napa Slaw:

  • 5 cups mix of napa cabbage
  • 1 cup of shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 bell pepper—sliced, any color
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup slivered pea pods


  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground giner
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Combine slaw ingredients and let sit covered in the fridge for a few hours. 

Toss with dressing before serving and mix in slivered almonds to taste.

9. Create your perfect playlist for us – include at least 10 songs, and feel free to explain why you love them.

I love this question!  A small group of us just made similar at a dinner party recently, so I’ve had this on my mind. 

Lightning round!

10. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

New—I love designing custom furniture!

11. First celebrity crush?

Harry Connick Jr. I would sit through his concerts dreaming of marrying him one day, and yes, I knew he was already married to a Victoria’s Secret model. A girl can dream. 

12.  What’s your hidden talent?


13. Best restaurant in your area? 

Tar and Roses in Santa Monica, on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and 6th Street.

14.  SF or LA?

Los Angeles. Born and raised.