November 12, 1919 – July 16, 2012
Ray Staples was a designer extraordinaire, a force of nature, a broad in the best and true sense of the word. She lived the type of life I would like to live, filled with humour, honesty, love, style and adventure. And she had quite the life and career.
I knew her from her many appearances on the Toronto TV show "Cityline". She always had the best quotes for the viewers and audience members who would ask her questions. Here are just a few:
"Peach is nothing more than pukey pink."
"Decorating rules are like dieting. If it's working for you, then okay. If it doesn't, then drop the damn thing and have a booze!"
"I bully my clients to use the colour that I think is right. I've been there, done that. For God's sake, ask for my advice, then take it. Don't give me a hard time."
And whenever someone would ask if they should worry about the wood finishes not matching in a room, she would always reply: "All the trees in the forest don't match, do they? Then don't worry about it."
I remember someone asking her once on the show if a busy wallpaper in a small powder room would make the room feel smaller, she replied: "If you like the paper, then go ahead. The room is still going to be the same size no matter what."
And she was good at her job. The fact that she told it like it is only made her more endearing. I adored her and would always watch the show when she was on. I learned to have more confidence in my own tastes and intuitions thanks to her. I learned to listen to my heart.
If you want to read more about her fabulous life (and you should): please go to this website for her obituary:
You can also read more of her quotes in this post written by Margot Austin, magazine editor and stylist:
Hopefully reading about Ray will leave you with just a tad more insight about how you should live and decorate, just like she did, by taking the same approach to decorating as to life, with full force and unbridled enthusiasm, all while staying true to yourself.