Mackintosh created an indoor garden of sorts, with colorful rose wall stencils; thin, tall furniture with vegetable-inspired patterns; and a mosaic fireplace embedded with colorful teardrop shapes and fitted with utensils evoking cornstalks, peapods and other plants. He also designed the space’s colorful drapes, desk, chairs, lamps and gridded carpet.
As we walked through, Ms. Hepburn told me that Mackintosh had, like in many of his projects, collaborated with his talented wife, the designer Margaret Macdonald. It’s difficult to know exactly who did what, but her hand, she pointed out, is evident in the female figure above the fireplace, which merges with the floral patterns around it, and could be spotted in tapestries, stained glass windows, and fabric embroideries throughout the house.
Margaret’s love of natural and feminine forms had a forceful impact in the couple’s collaborations, much more so than is popularly known. Once I recognized this, her presence — and the couple’s combination of geometric and organic motifs — made itself clear throughout the home, and at every subsequent Mackintosh destination.
“Margaret has genius, I have only talent,” Mackintosh is reported to have once said.
Touring the rest of Hill House I gawked at the couple’s obsessive ability to control every square inch of space and experience, my eyes darting from purple enamel glass chandeliers to colorful window seats to a “kimono desk,” its wings outstretched like a Japanese garment, inset with mother-of-pearl.
In the library I marveled at the books, published by the home’s owner, with Mackintosh’s same playful, budding patterns embossed on their covers and spines. They played continually in my mind after I returned to Glasgow, scribbling in my notebook at a pub, walking through laughter-filled streets, noticing Mackintosh influences everywhere, from the curving ironwork of our rented apartment to the stonework downtown.