Wilma Graham has a passion for decorating. She worked for furniture stores in Camden for 25 years and spent much of that time doing interior decorating for clients. Her passion has been instilled in her son, Rick Qualls, who moved to Arkansas a year ago and is fulfilling his dream of opening an interior design business. Wilma’s recent victory over lung cancer brought Rick home from New York to be with her, and now, she says, she won’t let him leave.
Wilma enlisted Rick and his eye for design in decorating her house for the holidays, and although she has a difficult time choosing just one element of his design as her favorite, she especially loves the Christmas tree. “We had a perfect picture window in Camden with a huge tree each year,” she says. “We were known as the ‘tree people,’ so the Christmas tree has always been special to me.”
Now a resident of Little Rock’s Chenal neighborhood, Wilma also appreciates the originality of Rick’s decorating ideas and loves that he used so many lights. Rick’s varied experiences in New York, Germany and Tokyo have contributed to his overall sense of design. Between performing in shows such as Cats and 42nd Street in New York, he worked with Martha Stewart as a floral designer and at Sotheby’s auction house, where he developed his taste for original artwork. Rick took this experience to Germany where he toured with Cats and sent his mother many ornaments. “He sent me box after box of German ornaments that were the inspiration for the Christopher Radko ornaments we see today,” Wilma says.
Rick enjoys using a mix of materials, combining old family ornaments with basics, as well as special items from Silks-A-Bloom and Pizzazz.
“I wanted to keep it warm and inviting, not ostentatious or overdone,” Rick says. “From the outside, it should look like a Hallmark card, showing that you’re ‘home for the holidays.’”