Gillian Drummond talks about her passion for design and on opening store in Tryon

Published 10:44 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

FEATUREp4 StillLife

By Michael O’Hearn

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Gillian Drummond, author of the Country Living column in the Life in Our Foothills magazine and a local interior designer, has set her sights on a new business in Tryon.


Drummond will open her design shop in the old Christmas store on the lot of Tryon’s Down to Earth garden store located at 958 Hwy. 176. The store will be renamed Down to Earth Home and Garden and will open April 1.

Gillian Drummond

Gillian Drummond


Drummond will be selling gifts, furniture, lamps and accessories along with her interior design services. Chef Richard Ruben will be selling his Seasons of Taste brand of olive oils and food in the small front room of the shop.


Born and raised in Sussex, England, Drummond moved nine times before graduating from high school, living in places like South Africa and Switzerland before moving to the states.


“Both my parents were Scottish, but I was born in England and my father joined an American company and we moved to South Africa,” Drummond explained. “He joined the company simply because they wanted an Englishman to go down there and not an American.”


A year of high school and two years of her university schooling took place in Geneva, Switzerland.


“Geneva was wonderful for me because it opened my eyes to a whole new world,” Drummond said. “My mother taught me how to read at the age of four and I love history so going to Europe was wonderful for me.”


The fabric on the walls of her bedroom at her house in Geneva and the charming furniture opened Drummond’s eyes to a collection of design elements.


“I did a lot of traveling, mostly because I liked to go to museums and see the decorative arts of old chateaus, castles and houses,” Drummond explained. “After my time at the university, my parents said it was time I got serious about life.”


Drummond’s boyfriend’s mother at the time lit the spark underneath her to become a decorator one night when they were having cocktails.


“She said to me, ‘Gillian, you are a decorator,’” Drummond recounted. “It’s an innate talent, so I applied to the New York Interior School of Design and got in and moved to New York, which I loved, and that was a whole new experience even though my parents took me to New York twice a year.”


Living in New York as a single person as opposed to going and visiting was something Drummond said was wonderful. Her first venture into the industry followed after one of her professors spotted her talents.


“I loved school and one of my professors said, ‘You’ve got such a natural talent that rather than going all the way through school, you would be much better off going as an apprentice at one of the top design firms,’” Drummond said. “I learned from the ground up.”


Drummond went on to work at a few other design firms in New York before being offered a job with well-known interior designer Mario Buatta following three years with B. Altman and Company.


“He had wonderful clients and was really good at marketing himself because he wined and dined with all of the editors of the magazines so that he got loads of coverage,” Drummond said. “I really learned design from the best and I was so lucky.”


After 22 years living in New York, Drummond relocated to Wilmington, N.C. in the early 1990s when a few of her interior designer friends convinced her to help them on a job transforming a mansion into a bed and breakfast.


“They asked me if I would go down for four to six months to consult and help them set up their business,” Drummond explained. “I did, and I went ‘Oh my God, there’s life outside New York City?’ I sold my apartment in New York and stayed in Wilmington for eight years.”


Drummond came to Tryon from Greenwich, Conn. where she has been since 2010. Drummond said she if she could live anywhere today it would be southern Scotland, but she loves the small town atmosphere.


Her inspirations are drawn from the countless design books she has at her home, which also serves as her Drummond House business.


“I have a lot of antiques I inherited from my family and I travel a lot, and my father traveled a lot,” Drummond said. “But I also mix the old and the new because I want to live with those things.”


Blending an antique style, because she inherited a lot of antiques from her parents, with a modern and contemporary style is her trade. She said she also uses the personal stories of her clients as influences with her work.


“What I see is the biggest change in this industry is that home design has become like fashion design: trendy,” Drummond said. “Making a home is all about your style, your comfort and the order you need in your life. Sometimes, it’s hard to get people to tell me their story and some people are like, ‘Well, what do you want to do with my room?’ I don’t know, you tell me.”


To contact Drummond about design for your home, visit her website at or call her at 828-859-9895.