Eleanor Schrader of Los Angeles is an award-winning architectural and interior design historian, professor and consultant who lectures worldwide on the history of architecture, interiors, furniture, and decorative arts. She has served as a Design Review Commissioner for the City of Beverly Hills and is a member of the Board of Directors of Beverly Hills Heritage, Beverly Hills Historical Society, John Lautner Foundation, and Malibu Adamson House Foundation. She has been named a Distinguished Instructor by UCLA Extension, where she teaches the history of architecture and interior design in the Architectural and Interior Design Program. She has done graduate work in fine and decorative arts at Sotheby’s Institute in London and New York and also holds an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University.
So how did I become a Design Historian?
From the moment I stepped into my husband-to-be’s house, I knew something was wrong and needed to be changed. He had a typical bachelor’s aesthetic of the 1980s—all glass, chrome, and black lacquer—but in a delightful little English Tudor Revival house.
When I sold my home to move into his, we began an historically sympathetic renovation and an entirely new interior design. I was so fascinated with the thought processes of the architect and interior designer that I bombarded them with questions about how they knew what to do to bring this home to life. Finally the interior designer said, “Eleanor, you’re obviously interested in this field, so why don’t you take some classes?” I think that was her way of saying, “Please stop bothering me so I can get some work done.”
So off I went to UCLA Extension, Santa Monica College, and anywhere I could learn about art history, architectural history, and anything having to do with interior design and decorative arts. I had no intention of switching careers from being a forensic accountant and a professor of business. I took classes just for the pure joy of learning.
Soon, I was asked to teach an art history course at Santa Monica College. So I spent a summer abroad and did my graduate work at Sotheby’s Institute in London. Soon thereafter, I was hired by the UCLA Extension Architectural and Interior Design Program to teach their design history classes.
And the rest…is history!