I met interior designer Maria Pollard the way many of us meet, through our children. We were at the tot lot with our youngest kids and struck up a conversation. I recognized her from shopping at The Shoe Hive and of course we knew some of the same people. I mentioned to a friend, who is also an interior designer, that I’d met Maria and she responded with, “Oh, she is a major.”
So of course, whenever her name is brought up in conversation I let people know that my friend Maria is a big time interior designer. Maria laughs when I tell her this story or hears me refer to her grandly, and claims that her mom is the only one besides me who thinks this. But that’s demonstrably untrue. Now that I have seen her work and know its scope, rather than just taking her reputation at face value, I can verify: she is, in fact, very major.
I describe Maria’s design style as I would her personality: bold, colorful, and a whole lot of fun. We were once talking about home accessories and she said never uses new pieces. I thought this reflected her taste perfectly, because most importantly she is authentic.
Maria doesn’t know this but this summer I was completely obsessed with her Instagram. It was full of photos of her family on some of the greatest adventures. She has three young children and you can tell that is her priority. She could never be considered a boring mom: there was kayaking, paddling boarding, rock climbing, and what looked like rock sliding in the water. It just looked like any kid’s or parent’s dream summer.
The other thing about Maria that I absolutely adore is that she always is wearing a hat. It was started out of necessity, but now I consider it her signature look. I see her driving in her car and think, “who is that chic mom in the hat?” before realizing it is Maria. Her hat to me is how I view her — she just has that little bit of extra flare.
How do you spend your time? Multitasking?
Neighborhood: Old Town
How long have you lived in Alexandria: We bought our first house here 10 years ago this month! I moved down from NYC in spring of 2007.
What is your hometown? Jacksonville, Florida
What brought you to Alexandria? My husband’s job
What would surprise people about you? Not much — I’m a chronic over-share-er
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? I can almost always rally for a dance party.
Favorite cocktail: Dirty vodka martini, very dry, up. But I drink more wine.
Last book read or movie seen: “Storks” or “The Jungle Book.” Not sure. Highly cultured around here.
Guilty Pleasure: Accessories and binge reading a series.
Phrase you overuse: “I need that.”
Facebook or Instagram? Instagram
Latest binge-watch: High Maintenance (HBO) and Catastrophe (Amazon)
Bucket list travel destination: So many. Longest on the list is Greece.
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? WINE.
Define your style in three words or less: Hat. Shoes. Jewelry?
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Mother Jeans. Not “mom jeans” — I have those too but that’s not what I mean.
Favorite trend ever: Stretchy things and over the knee boots
Favorite current trend: The return of the Dickie!
Beauty product you can’t live without: Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and sunscreen.
Favorite fragrance: I can’t wear fragrance now but used to wear men’s cologne — Sisley Eau de Campagne or Aqua De Parma
Heels or flats? I wish heels. But flats.
Favorite room in your home: Our living room
Antiques, modern, or a mix? MIX
Last item bought for your home: A big vintage painting for our dining room
Next planned purchase: Top secret. My husband will read this.
Favorite way to entertain: Dance party
Clutter-free or well-lived in? I aspire to clutter free but clearly have a long way to go.
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Love wallpaper. LOVE. I have more than one in some rooms!
Your go-to work-out: Pilates at Georgie’s, Gina under the bridge, and Orange Theory.
Most fun way to exercise: Gina’s under the bridge.
Group exercise or solo: Group
Fitness goal: Show up and not die. I keep the bar pretty low.
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Huh? Not running. Run when chased, but otherwise a huge fan of coaching and encouragement!
Proudest fitness achievement: I’m not sure I’m in that category? #goals
Favorite spot in Alexandria: River Farm or walking in Old Town on a pretty day.
Last purchase in Alexandria: Awesome Veronica Beard blazer WITH A DICKIE!
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Grape+Bean / Society Fair/ Hank’s. I really love Old Town.
Favorite charity: The St. Paul’s Angel Tree Program
Favorite annual Alexandria event: Spring Garden Tour
I spent the first part of my career as a copy-writer who helped elected officials brag about their support for entrepreneurs. Then I decided to get off the printed page and do it myself. The Shoe Hive made a splash on the fashion scene in Washington, and was named the region’s best shoe store in its first year. Fourteen years later, I have tripled the store’s size and also opened a sister store, The Hive. At The Hive, we offer clothing lines that are sophisticated and approachable like Rag & Bone, Tibi, Raquel Allegra, Ulla Johnson and Veronica Beard. We have tried to fill our racks with clothing you will want to wear all the time, elevated basics that are worth the investment.
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.
The Shoe Hive The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street 301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 Alexandria, VA 22314