Talking Shop: Stratford, Wood, Graves

by admin
Lisa, Kelly, Paula, Dave, Denise, etc.

Design and Nall Karma: Lisa, Kelly, Paula, Dave, Gatty

Whenever I am with Kelly Stratford or Dave Wood we talk about our work, though of course, not about our clients. Chuck Stratford and Dave’s Dad were both in construction, residential high end and all that entails. Dean Graves was drawing the pictures. They tended to work in overlapping social circles and all have tremendous people and social skills. Dave is in construction, Kelly a decorator, Paula practices architectural design.

  • You know what we said in architecture school, “you don’t know how hard it was for me to draw that, it can’t possibly be that hard to build.” This is still what I say to my contractor. It’s a team effort.

Dave and Mark Allen would measure for my father on occasion, probably his best help (see holding the tape measure). Later in his career, Dave would still make time to squeeze in a small beautifully detailed and crafted Wood-Graves venture for Dean and Ginny. Dave’s dad, John K. Wood, Jr. passed away last week, Dec 2010.

"Graves Gazebo by Dean Graves and Dave Wood"

Graves Gazebo by Dean Graves and Dave Wood

A Mark Allen (see the way to a girl’s...) segue to Kelly. I remember visiting a Chuck Stratford project that I’m thinking was Huntington Farms, late at night, because Mark had a key and was working for Chuck. Mark had a white volkswagen.

The best Stratford-Graves design story, maybe mid 90s: our trip to Chicago for Neocon Design Conference at the Chicago Merchadise Mart. The elevator was crammed, so we decided to take the stairs to the 8th level to look at residential furnishing. Heaving, we stumble out of the stairwell and lo! what a wonder to behold, Shoes! The real reason we’d come to Chicago, of course, shopping and God made it all happen within 2 hours from deboarding the plane at Midway. We did go in and asked for our sizes, but disappointingly they were just samples of upholstery fabrics on shoes.

A note: Betsy Ridge incorporated upholstery fabrics in some incredible skirts in maybe the 90s and the bag store that used to be around the corner from Sharper Image (Putsch’s Coffee Shop, circa 1975) later had these shoes, both custom made products.

I include Lisa Revare Hickok in the group, because she lives at 186th and Nall, Tim is a developer/builder/entrepreneur, and Lisa has executed incredible house renovations with landscaping. Lisa has her own post (see curly haired girls).

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