Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale
Alix Coolidge is a busy woman. She juggles her interior design business, Alixandra Coolidge Interiors with selling real estate and tosses in volunteer work on the regular.
Her mother was a museum curator in North Carolina where Alix grew up and her father was head cabinet maker in Williamsburg where she spent her summers. Alix remembers spending countless hours following her father around the colonial town. Her exposure to her parents’ professions fueled her early interest in design.
When she lived in DC as a twenty-something, Alix started working for Leezee Porter who had fine antiques that she leased. Her antiques would be delivered to homes of senators and the like moving to town who wanted a certain image for their DC home, or even just for a day to a studio to style for an interview or a photo shoot.
Not long after Alix and husband Richard, a senior producer at PBS Newshour moved out to Middleburg, her children Sam, soon to be 21, and Sophie 19, were born. “All our DC friends said we were crazy to move out here. That there were only old people in Middleburg,” recalls Alix. “We did hang out with old people—and they were fun!”
Alix initially worked with Berryville-based interior designer Allison Martin and made some of her first Middleburg friends through her design work. At a friend’s urging, and at the impetus of the recession, in 2008 Alix decided to get her real estate license. “It was interesting, after riding my kids about homework and tests, for them to see me studying and going to classes.”
These days, though she regularly has a handful of design clients, she admits to being more drawn to the real estate business. “Real estate is like a chess match and I like working with people as they move from one house to another.” She also finds cocktail parties a little more interesting. “Instead of asking me just about Richard and the kids, people ask me what their house is worth or how real estate is doing in the area.”
Alix doesn’t let grass grow under her feet. She bustles around town meeting with clients, drawing up interior designs, showing properties, serving as President of the Middleburg Library’s Advisory Board, and currently serving on Trinity Episcopal Church’s search committee.
At Trinity Church, Alix has served in nearly every capacity—Vestry, Outreach, Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Nursery and Children’s programs. She’s done everything a volunteer can do at Trinity, except reading scripture and stewardship. “I don’t like speaking in public. I’ll blab away at a party, but I’m terrified of speaking in public. And I don’t like to ask for money.”
As part of a family of avid skiers, Alix and family head out west one or two times a year. She loves her tennis games, too, and laughs calling herself, “ordinary and average at everything.”
Alix enjoys everything about her life, but she loves traveling with her family most of all. “We love, love, love to travel as a family.” “South Africa and Italy have to be my favorites.” The kindness of the people and seeing the big game in Africa stole Alix’s heart, and in Italy she found the thousands years old houses and villages inspirational and captivating.
Coming back to the small town of Middleburg after traveling suits Alix just fine. “I don’t advertise, so all my design work is word of mouth-I like working for friends and neighbors best.”
This article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.