Dorrit Ebba Egli
December 23, 1931 – February 13, 2021
My Dear Dorrit: You are a surprising human blend: Sophistication, leavened with warmth… elegance, mixed with naturalness…Danish practicality alternating with fancy, extravagance with frugality. This same blend informs your unmatched taste…the coziness of your dramatic interiors…the cleanly stunning way you dress. Your gifted eye spots beauty anywhere, lightening fast…discarding vulgarity just as fast. I’ve seen you enter auction previews—kluged with thousands of items—and immediately spot the two or three best things. I’m equally struck by the direct, attentive way you relate to all, be they King or pauper. Thanks for relating to me that way, when we met at that Persian rug auction… I a refugee from Houston, friendless here, thrilled when you invited us to brunch, “so we could come to know each other.” Well, we’ve certainly done that, over decades now. You see me—see everyone—so clearly…valuing what is best in us, forgiving what is not. I love your avid curiosity, your searching intelligence…reading and re-reading your way through thousands of books, including ones stored--floor to ceiling--in your own library. Your zest for travel is fueled by that same curiosity, that same intelligence, plus a robust appetite for Adventure. Always your brave confidence inspires me, Dorrit. You could have had an easy life, after wedding the love of your youth, son of Switzerland’s most noted film director. But a grab for self realization propelled you to Rome, where you knew no one, had no means of support, and spoke not a word of the language. Perhaps you inherited the strength your great Aunt, Karen Blixen (a/k/a Isak Denison), showed in Kenya. In any event, after Italy you bolted to Hong Kong…and later to San Francisco. Here, you morphed into the best interior designer in the U.S., your work featured in “Architectural Digest,” often and prominently. You conduct all dealings with highest integrity. And many projects you have designed, gratis, for charities or acquaintances in need. You’ve designed for many friends as well, in the end insisting, “I don’t profit from my friends.” I look around our own rooms, seeing the antique thresher you found…the coffee table you designed…fabrics you chose….pillows you redesigned…accent pieces you gave us. These enrich our lives, day in/ day out, constant reminders of you.
Appreciation for all I have learned from you, mostly by osmosis: How to arrange a room; how to harmonize an outfit; how to live with flair and grace, authenticity and open-heartedness.
Dorrit, I marvel at the strength and courage of your twenty-five-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease—confronted unflinchingly, resourcefully, and without despair. Ever hopeful, you’re always open to experiment. But then, you’ve never been averse to risk, whatever the stakes. As much as I admire all these things, I most commend your generosity and compassion, extended to many people—and many animals. In my mind’s eye, I see three greyhounds you adopted from the track, serially, and loved insanely—each named “Mr. Brindle,” each mourned at death for 6 or 8 months. I see birds in large antique cages, or filling your rooms with flight and song . I imagine the Filipino monkey you endowed with a new home there. I see a parade of indulged cats, one of them golden…the last two black, both named “Angel.” Never have you bought a pet, saying they “must come to me in strange ways.” And they have, oh they have…the present one the world’s most loving—and most beloved—cat.
You bolster everyone you know, whatever their plight--often helping tangibly with labor and/or cash. I know of endless acts of personal kindness to the old, the sick, the financially despairing.
Indeed, you are the most loyal, most giving of friends...not just in time of celebration…but in time of woe, ever ready with sympathy and advice. Over decades now, you’ve lent both types of solace to me in your handsome rooms by a comforting fire. Always I have left grateful and uplifted, a feeling beyond compare…a gift beyond price…a friendship beyond extraordinary.
You are a treasure—in many ways, the best person I have known…and certainly, the one with the most self-definition. love, Sandra
DELIGHTING IN DORRIT
A pair of Eyes that clasp on Beauty, wherever it may lie… And arrange Loveliness from any assortment of things, Never too much of this, nor too little of that, Always achieving the golden mien.
Dorrit is: A pair of Hands that can do anything— Make things, fix things, draw things, paint things.
Dorrit is: An Intellect that ranges wide and keenly discerns, Devouring books, imbibing their gist, Leavening all with the salt of common-sense.
Dorrit is: A Fashion Icon who wows with whatever she wears, Matched to perfection, receiving loud cheers and long stares!
Dorrit is: A Spirit of Courage and Adventure, Reveling in the unknown path, the experience not yet tasted.
Dorrit is: A Heart suffused with kindness and compassion, Ever empathizing with the plight of others— Whatever the plight may be-- Emitting loving vibes to man and beast alike.
Dorrit is: A Generosity that gives and gives again— Of her time, of her treasure…of her very Soul.
So here’s to Dorrit: A loving Friend to many…a special friend to all of us, One we can always count on, always trust… Epitomizing the height of human evolution. ---Love Ever, Sandra December 23, 2017 (Read at (Read at Dorrit’s Birthday Party)
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Dorrit Ebba Egli
March 7, 2021
I had the honor of meeting Dorrit when she invited me over for tea in 2002. This was the beginning of a years-long friendship in which she followed my work to end dog racing. As an independent self-starter, she encouraged me to keep fighting no matter what the obstacles! She wisely noted that if it were easy to free the hounds, some one else would have already done it.
Dorrit missed her own greyhounds very much and I like to thing that they are all happy together now, across the Rainbow Bridge.