Photos courtesy Charlotte Moss

Interior designer and author Charlotte Moss, who has written nine books and is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, has spent more than 30 years decorating beautiful homes for private clients. As a furniture and upholstery designer she collaborated with Century Furniture on a collection. She has guest-edited House Beautiful. She even has a series of framed decorative art, based in part on her own photography, that she produced with Soicher-Marin. Always, she says, a successful home comes down to the same basic elements: liveability, practicality, comfort and good looks.

Moss will be in Houston this Thursday (March 10) to celebrate the opening of the 2016 Azalea Trail with the River Oaks Garden Club at The Houstonian’s Manor House. Later in the day she will appear on behalf of the Institute of Classical Architecture + Art at Canopy to talk about her latest book Garden Inspirations. (For tickets, click here.) She recently took time out of a hectic schedule to answer a dozen nosy questions.

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION. UNIVERSITY OR STRAIGHT INTO WORK?
I went to Virginia Commonwealth University, graduated in English, got married and went to work.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
First class this, first class that. Isn’t extravagance a relative term?

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PUBLIC GARDEN?
My favorite public garden is Central Park in New York City because it is every New Yorker’s backyard. After that, I would say the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris.

IF YOUR 20-YEAR-OLD SELF COULD SEE YOU NOW, WHAT WOULD SHE THINK?
Jesus, I’m tired! My 20-year-old self would say I should’ve seen the inside of a spa more often.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLANT?
I love trees. They’re majestic, they outlive us by centuries, and they have stories to tell.

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT ANY GARDENER COULD DO THAT WOULD ENHANCE THEIR GARDEN?
Make it simple enough to be a part of it. Part of its planning, part of its maintenance and most, importantly, its enjoyment.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PERSONAL ITEM?
Pearls my husband gave me.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME, IF YOU HAVE ANY?
I get on the treadmill and read for an hour, have a spa morning in the salon on a Saturday, have lunches and dinners for girlfriends and needlepoint.

WHAT ADVICE HAVE YOU RECEIVED THAT YOU’VE FOUND MOST VALUABLE?
Be curious and “Select, select, select!” (advice from Fleur Cowles).

HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE THE PATTERNS AND COLORS FOUND IN NATURE INTO FABRICS, WALLPAPER AND DECORATIVE ITEMS?
Sometimes with ease and sometimes with difficulty, but always delightedly. It is impossible to describe the entire process.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SCENT?
Okay, first of all, I love fragrance, so this answer could [be very long]! In lieu of that, I’m currently wearing Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle. In the winter, I like Sancti. But I also like combining fragrances. For instance, JAR’s Golconda on my wrist with Serge Luten’s Un Lys dabbed behind the ear.

ARE YOU WORKING ON A NEW BOOK? ANY DETAILS YOU CAN SHARE?
Yes, I am working on a new book with Rizzoli for Fall 2017. Lets just say, it’s a decorating subject and having fun doing it. I know that’s cryptic, but that’s all you’re squeezing out of me now!