Life in the Pinball Machine: Art and Interior Design

Published 9:12 am Sunday, October 16, 2016

Paul Stansbury

Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, the Community Arts Center invites you to catch a glimpse of what life is like in the Pinball Machine. At least what it is like from the perspective of Connie Estes Beale, noted interior designer and artist, who will share her experiences at Lunch with the Arts at noon on October 19.

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Find out what it was like for the Danville native to be the interior designer for the rich and on occasion, the famous, and how that has influenced her current passion: collage. 

For 40 years, in Houston, Texas and Greenwich, Conneticut, Connie worked as an interior designer. Designintuit ( says, “Combining unique ideas with a common vernacular is a hallmark of Connie Beale, Inc. Connie’s commercial and residential designs incorporate and expand upon each client’s personal tastes, ranging from the fun and fanciful to established traditional pieces. Connie’s attention to detail and amazing color sense, combined with the client’s personal style allow for unique and creative spaces.”

Connie Beale

Connie likens her journey to a life in the pinball machine explaining, “Like a peg in the machine, I often found that while I was just standing there, something or someone would bump into me unexpectedly and go careening off. The design business is a crazy one when one works at that high level.”

Connie will share some humorous stories of that great ride but also explain what it takes when someone tells you they like Gothic, Egyptian, and English Regency, and you know they expect it to be melded into a presentable fashion. The same is true when someone tells you they don’t like English furniture but like that French Queen Anne/Chippendale look. Connie freely admits a humorous attitude was a good trait to have.

“Collage is my current passion and has been for about 10 years. It evolved through a connection in the interior design world,” says Connie, “All of life is a collage. It’s made of moments here and there, sometimes exceedingly random, that mesh together over the years. Some bits are small and insignificant, others form the background on which we base our lives. Some images stand out, others recede; some define space, the before and after of a significant event. My own life has been a crazy ride at times. ”

Connie’s work has been published in House Beautiful, House and Garden, Veranda, Architectural Digest, Country Living, New York Times, Interior Design, Southern Accents, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, Texas Home, and Traditional Home. She was listed in House and Garden’s Top 100 Designers as well as in House Beautiful’s listing of the same. In 2013, Connie returned to Danville to retire.

Connie goes on to say, “Some of you know me as a shop owner, some as a collage artist, others know I worked as an interior designer for years. Others know me from the writers group to which I belong. I wear a lot of creative hats. It’s the way my mind works. As to why I am in Danville, it’s where I am from. My parents moved me to Louisiana when I was seven but, as they say, the Bluegrass never leaves your blood. It never left mine, so here I am after many years, returned to the place that has always been my touchstone.”


Lunch with the Arts

Featuring Connie Beale

Noon – 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Community Arts Center;

$12 to register online by Monday for lunch or $7 at the door