An Indecisive Hybrid
Tereasa Surratt is a woman who wears many hats. Self-described as, 'an indecisive hybrid: part creative director, part designer, part stylist, part author, part brand builder.' Surratt admits to living with a daily struggle, 'an obsession to make everything around her more interesting, beautiful, and desirable.' This energetic obsession has proved a fruitful tool for Tereasa, who has developed partnerships and award-winning creative campaigns for a variety of brands over the years, including Warby Parker, Penfield Manufacturing Co., FLOR, Land of Nod, GANT, and Anthropologie.
But the creative endeavor closest to Tereasa's heart is her work to save, renovate, and revitalize Camp Wandawega, the historic summer retreat in Walworth County, Wisconsin that Surratt operates together with her husband David Hernandez. Impeccably restored, endlessly Instagram-able, and ever evolving, through David and Tereasa's love and care, Camp Wandawega has become an essential destination for all manner of creative types passing through the Chicagoland area.
This year, we reached out to Tereasa and asked her to create a custom mood board featuring items that inspire her. Then we asked her to combine those items with the Hudson Company wood of her choice. Here's the story behind Tereasa's mood board.
5 Questions With Teresa Surratt
Tell us about the items included in your mood board, what's their origin story? Why did you select them for this mood board?
This is a collection of artifacts sourced from either our collection at Camp Wandawega, or things I discovered at area barn or estate sales. They are generally what I call 'history scraps,' items that were never intended to last forever. They're common kinds of things - postcards, handwritten notes, branded ash trays, mattress tags, a length of leather - these are objects that each served modest tasks. I'm more than a little obsessed with these kinds of little things, with their humble, utilitarian beauty and the way that they've survived the decades.
Are there any particular favorites that stand out or are especially endeared to you?
It's the little things that always get to me; like the color of the vintage, chewed up pencil in this mood board. This particular shade of ochre was really popular in the 1940s and could be found on everything from tractors to coffee cans. We are building a house at camp and are seriously considering creating a line of modern chairs in this vintage color. When juxtaposed with the new building's concrete floors and minimalist white interiors, the use of this color could be a subtle nod to a much different time in America's design history.
How do you use mood boards in your professional work? What role do they play in your creative process?
Whenever I'm working on a new project, I collect things subconsciously over the course of a few weeks. Eventually, my little inspirational piles evolve into something important, something that reveals meaningful textures, colors, and themes. I find that when I use this creative method, the result is always more authentic and more honest.
Where do you turn when you need fresh ideas or inspiration?
Of course, there are a lot of gorgeous blogs out there that are full of inspiring content. But more often than not, I find myself drawn to real life, specifically to people's homes. There's something about the objects and art and materials in a living, working house that is just irresistible for me. Whether that's Thomas Edison's Winter Estate down in Fort Myers or the rugged, preserved homesteads at 'Old World Wisconsin' - I have always been drawn to the forms and functions of domestic life. Also, old 1960s issues of Architectural Digest, Better Homes & Gardens and vintage, out of print books are a great source for ideas and creative presidents.
Why did you choose Reclaimed Threshing Floor as the background for your mood board?
Everything we do at Camp is connected with history. Now that we're listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that's more true than ever before. So, to try and connect Camp artifacts with some glossy, mass produced floors just wouldn't work. With Reclaimed Threshing Floor, there is so much history right there in the wood grain. The fact that this flooring was (once upon a time) used by some farmer, somewhere, to separate his wheat and chaff - that's so rich.
Who could have imagined that when these floors were first crafted a hundred years ago, that they would live another life in a 21st-century home or museum? They have such an enduring quality. Like the objects I selected to lay over the planks, this flooring had humble beginnings. But over time, it's developed this kind of mysterious, timeless patina. This wood is a remnant from another time, and, yet, in it's own way, it's more intriguing than ever.