Martha Curry has been working as an interior designer since 1980.  Today I sat in her beautiful and serene house, and she talked about the design process, her own strengths…one of which is her amazing eye (“that’s what I have to sell–my eye”), her methods of working with clients.  Her well-edited home interior  makes me want to do a visual survey of her work (…though I suspect her clients might not want to cooperate with that!)

Martha’s own house was built in 1954 and designed by Edmond M. MacCollin (graduate of Yale and Cornell) who designed several Salem houses and then went to work for the State, disappearing off the local radar screen.  The house has a wonderful site on a hill with views of the lovely garden and the hills beyond from every window.

As we talked, Martha told me of the seismic change in the design world since the mid 1990’s when the “big box” stores really took hold and changed everything.  The notion of buying from local businesses and being glad to support them has shifted to the notion of paying less but getting more.  Though I recognize that for sure, I was surprised to discover it had impacted the interior design world as well.  We talked of beautiful things, downsizing, painting…what things would you take with you if you moved to a smaller place, and here are two…the driftwood lamp (I coveted this…)

and the lovely table designed by Kate McIntyre of Ironies:

and then we took “the tour”

and then the moment when you go down one of the halls

and into the office, her workspace,

and a peek at the amazing master bath

Martha has designed much of the furniture in the house and pointed out Grant’s bed (Grant one of her 3 grown children) which was made from Oregon barn wood and metal finishings made locally

on our way out to the garden the apricots were on the stove for the apricot jam Martha makes for Christmas…even the food looks decorative in this house!

and then the garden suffused with the haunting chartreuse…


  1. Wow, what a fabulous abode. I love it…it’s so serene and peaceful. A far cry from my toy-strewn casa. Thanks for sharing this sneak peek.

  2. Martha, we live in a 1951 Edmond M. MacCollin designed home. I’d love more info about this designer if you have any references you can share. Thank you.

  3. I live in a 1966 Edmond MacCollin designed home, built for Dr. Cooley, a well-known dentist in Salem. I knew about Martha’s home, but I Sandi’s home is new information. I’ve been gathering research on MacCollin for a couple of years. I’m happy to share it. Also, a few of us started a MCM Salem meetup if anyone wants to connect with us and visit the members’ homes.

    1. Hi Gail. We learned our architect when we found the original blueprints. Ours must be one of his earlier homes and is certainly more rural. However I can see similarities. I would love to hear what you know.

      1. Hi, Sandi

        I have since discovered two more of his homes in Salem: 1633 Cunningham (location of Salem Interiors) and Gerry Frank’s house just off Salem Heights. I forget the cross street. Both are amazing examples from the outside. If you are interested in MCM architecture, consider joining the MCM Salem meetup, which you can join online. There’s about 35 members now.

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