This past week I had the difficult task of wishing my father bon voyage from our journey here together on this heaven on earth. I know it sounds cliché but I am so grateful for the time we had together. By the time I came into the picture my father’s career as a renowned Interior Designer was well on its way. From as far back as I can remember he had open the doors of his craft to me. He would call me his little associate.
I remember sitting on the center armrest of his car, all dressed up and excited, to go visit somebody. Sometimes it was clients and other times it was builders, manufacturers or service providers, but it was always incredibly exciting and mostly because he made me feel that my presence was valued. I remember sitting on top of the conference table as dad presented these beautiful drawings and plans with fabrics and materials and then at the end turn to me and say “Well Tommy what do you think?”. I’m sure that most of my feedback was not terribly relevant but the confidence that it gave me to speak and express my thoughts to anyone and everyone was invaluable. As the years went on my father’s passion for Design grew and so did mine. With a last name like Noel, Christmas was always a big extravaganza. Back in the mid-70s a young florist came into my father’s studio and asked if he could work for his clients. My father asked for the florist to please come in the next day with samples of his work. The next day, in walked the florist with what dad said were some of the most beautiful flowers he had ever seen. One of the first projects he gave him was to decorate our house for that upcoming Christmas, the result was a combination of Architecture, Interior Design and Event Design that was truly breathtaking. That florist was the late great Robert Isabell, whom later became the world’s premier event designer. My father’s intoxicating zest towards life manifest itself in all things beautiful and the way to share that beauty was through people getting together. He loved entertaining almost as much as he enjoyed creating environments for others. I remember him telling me the job of a Designer is to find the beauty within their client and bring that forth in the design. In the 80s, my dad became a member of ASID, American Society of Interior Designers, of which he received many awards and served as President of his chapter. He also was the founder of RJ Randolph, which later became Holly Hunt, the top contemporary furnishings showroom in America. During this time I wasn’t always the easiest child to love but somehow he always managed to make me feel as I was the most important part of his life. He was an avid traveler and when I had the good fortune of joining him – trips would always involve taking in the local culture typically through the highest standards of Design, cuisine and entertainment. By that time he had become my encyclopedia of all things Design related and I can never think of a time where he did not stop everything to give me some well thought out advice. As the 90s came in, Dad entered it with a strong drive for Design most of his projects were purely custom, impeccably created from the ground up, and his customers were devoted fans. In the mid-90s, I was in New York trying to find myself and where I found myself was at the footsteps of Robert Isabell’s Studio. He offered me an opportunity to work on a Royal event he was Designing and producing. The talents my father had instilled in me were an enormous value in the Field of Event Design and Production. As my Event Design career progressed, I remember the great joy I would find in being able to share my experiences with Dad – no longer as an associate but rather as an equal. Two people bound together through the passion of Design; father and son. He often would end conversations by letting me know how proud he was of me and I often would reply back “I could not have done it without you”. This past week as I leaned over my Father and looked into his beautiful blue eyes, I had to conjure up the courage to let him know that his work here is done and now I can continue with great gratitude on with all of the tools he has given me. I will never forget to practice these principles allowing his inspiration and memory to live on. I look forward to finding him once again on our next journey.Experience life’s present,