Dee Dee Taylor Eustace
Profession: Architect, interior designer
Owns Taylor Hannah Architect and is a partner in Montclair Construction and Ellis Fine Cabinetry
Hosted HGTV’s Love By Design and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show three times
Design advice column in the Saturday Globe Style section
President of the charity Out of the Cold
Her new show, The Real Designing Women, starts January on HGTV
Launching a furniture line with Cooper Brothers
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Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace has strutted her stuff on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But in a few months, she’ll take centre stage as the star of the upcoming HGTV series, The Real Designing Women.
Her design philosophy is simple; timeless elegance with a modern twist in her homes and in her cars. She drives a 2011 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan.
Why did you buy a Mercedes-Benz S550?
This is my third Mercedes.
This time, I switched up. I had a 450S in grey before. My 16-year-old son is 6-foot-4 so I need the extra five inches in the wheelbase in the back.
My new thing is white. So many of my girlfriends have white cars – we call it the new grey.
I’m a fashion girl. I’m going for looks. I want beautiful and elegant. I got to love the look and feel of a car.
Beyond that, I’m looking for durability and I’m not going to have any surprises. I can’t be stuck on the side of the road. I am in my car all the time. Unfortunately, it’s almost my first office.
Did you cross shop it against the competition?
I looked at three cars all in white.
It was a choice between the Audi A8, which I thought was way too manly, tight and small. I loved the new Jag with the longer wheelbase. I prefer the styling over the Mercedes, but I was worried about the performance in the winter. The Mercedes, because I’m a repeat customer and the rates were great, I went with it.
It’s such an elegant car. My boyfriend has the exact same car – his is grey.
On the seats when you turn it grabs you. He doesn’t like to get grabbed by the seat, but I love that. I think it’s elegant.
The analogue clock is almost like a Tiffany clock. It’s pretty. The wood – I have two-tone grey – I have the darker grey on the seat and on the ceiling I have light grey. I have two skylights. The only thing I’m lacking is the driver.
Do you know what’s under the hood?
An engine? I’m being facetious. … I’m an architect. I totally get all this stuff. I love engines.
When I was a little girl, I got a 9.9-hp outboard boat engine for my 9th or 10th birthday and I took it apart. I’m mechanical. I love that. For fun, I put together barbecues.
I’ve never had an issue with the engine. My biggest concern is hitting the rims or hitting posts.
I do body damage. If there’s a pole or a sidewalk nearby I can do damage. I can do damage to a rim by looking at it. I do more damage myself than anybody else.
What does a Mercedes S550 say about you?
It’s long and lean. I’ve never worn a flat in my life in terms of a shoe. It is super elegant. I love that it’s white. I think it’s feminine. I think the detailing inside is understated. You can drive and park it everywhere.
It’s not screaming for attention. I’ve had cars that I feel I can’t park anywhere. I think it’s really beautiful and very understated.
Does it share your design philosophy?
My style is timeless elegance – style redefined.
The one thing about the Mercedes is the body stays consistent for many years. They changed the two mirrors recently – they’ve got two lines on the mirrors. It’s a little more of a modern influx. They don’t do these huge changes – I love that.
I love classicism and I love traditionalism.
Any rules in the car?
There’s no smoking. I rarely let my kids eat in the car.
I like my car clean. I live in my car. I’m in my car all the time.
I love to blare my country music in there. Walking in Memphis I can’t yell loud enough!
What was your first car?
My very first car was after I graduated from architecture school when I was 24. I bought an YJ Jeep black with tan interior, a tan soft and hard top.
I would drive it up north and I would feel like I was the car. I was so proud of that car – I washed it all the time.
What came afterwards?
Then I got an RX-7 convertible, blue interior with speakers on the seats – that was before kids.
Then I had a red Jeep when I was having my children. I’ve had two Vanden Plas Jags. I’ve had a Bentley, Aston Martin. I’m a bit of a car girl.
This is my third Mercedes – I had a 450 and a 600 convertible roadster, I drove it maybe four times because with two dogs and two kids it didn’t make sense.
What sparked your interest in cars?
My previous partner loved cars. He came from a real car family. My ex-partner brought that into my life. I had a huge appreciation for them.
I have driven everything from a Cadillac convertible to a Maranello Ferrari.
What was your best vehicle?
My favourite was a GT Bentley, soft grey, beautiful two-door. It’s elegant and beautiful. Great lines and beautiful interiors. Even the detailing on the radio is really beautiful.
If I can bring you the keys to any car what would it be?
I would take back a Bentley GT, for sure. In white with a dark navy blue interior – I love that combo.
The interview has been edited and condensed.