Monday, August 20, 2012


Mark Watts has come full circle in his 20-some-odd years as an interior designer - growing up in Wichita, and then moving to Dallas, Texas, and then Scottsdale, Arizona, before coming home again to Wichita to be near family and friends. While in Dallas, Mark worked with Country Hall of Fame singer Charley Pride and his wife Rozene on their Dallas home. In Scottsdale, Mark lived and worked in what has been described as a desert version of Miami's South Beach.

Wichita is a far cry from big city life, but to Mark, his family and friends, it is home. Dorthy couldn't have said it better.

Mark describes himself as a Modern Traditionalist. While this might seem a contradiction in terms, to Mark, it simply means that he appreciates a broad range of classical influences with an eye on comfort. To achieve this end, Mark works with Vanguard's Compendium Collection designed by John Black. A compendium can be defined as a short concise summary of all that is known. This collection strikes a balance between crisp and clean simplicity and traditional roots. To Mark, this epitomizes today's life style.


The Compendium Collection by Vanguard Furniture.

Eva Sofa by Vanguard Furniture

The Compendium collection balances traditional styling with crisp and clean simplicity.


Color in design is personal. What evokes a reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else.

Mark works extensively with earth tones -  colors that draw from browns, tans, greys, greens, oranges, whites, blues and some reds. Colors are muted and flat, emulating the colors of nature. These tones help create a warm, aesthetic feeling.

Mark complements soft colors with the use of simple geometric designs.




"Less is more," Mark believes. Accents should be used sparingly to set the mood, always retaining the same color scheme as the furniture. A classic sculpture, a book to read, and a coffee table on which to rest your feet can fit the bill. The room is polished off with lighting that both warms and provides adequate lighting.


Close your eyes and imagine a sandy beach, blue skies and palm trees waving in a balmy breeze.

"Dorthy, you are not in Kansas anymore."

Blue skies and the Eva Sofa


Click the heels of your shoes together three times and open your eyes. You are home again.

Eva Sofa, part of the Compendium Collection by Vanguard

View the entire Compendium Collection in a PDF format.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The stuff of which dreams are made on

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158
The Traditions gang has just returned from Atlantis, the Bahamian resort and mystical namesake of the island mentioned by Plato. Like Prospero of Shakespeare's The Tempest, the writer knows that the any trip is but short entertainment that soon melts "into thin air". The palm trees, the golden sun and white sand, the gentle stir of a balmy breeze all fade in time. Life's quickening pace calls us back too soon.

Yet, we can still dream on in a Stressless recliner. Our dreams magically transport us to Atlantis and those sweet memories of sun and sand. At a younger age, the writer would hum himself to sleep with the words of his childhood, "Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

College Hill House of H.W. Darling

H.W. Darling House, 3755 E. Douglas

We loved Barry Owens' article in the College Hill Commoner, July 2012, on the Lumberman's Big Brick House, A Look at the Life, Times and College Hill House of H.W. Darling.  The College Hill Commoner is the neighborhood paper for College Hill, one of Wichita's oldest and most historic neighborhoods.

The two and one half story Colonial home, 3755 E. Douglas, was built in 1907 for lumberman Howard Wetmore Darling. Darling was a self-made man, engaging in numerous occupations, including the furniture business, something near and dear to us, before finally making his money bringing lumber to the broad treeless plains around Wichita and the Arkansas River Valley.

The home has been re-purposed by Victory in the Valley, a non-profit cancer support organization whose mission is,

 “To encourage cancer patients and families on their journey by offering HOPE through emotional and spiritual support, while providing practical services to improve the quality of their lives.”

Thanks Barry for a great article.

College Hill Homes on the National Register of Historic Homes.

Want to learn more about Howard Wetmore Darling?