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From Home Furnishing Business

Decorating Den Interiors Chairman James S. Bugg Sr. Dies

James S. Bugg Sr., chairman of Decorating Den Interiors, has died. He was 88. 


Bugg had led Decorating Den Interiors since 1984 growing it into a North America  in-home decorating service and largest home furnishings and interior design franchise company.

“My father presented the opportunity for hundreds of talented individuals to turn their passion for decorating into a beautiful business,” said James S. Bugg Jr., president and CEO. “He liked to say that ‘our franchise concept is simple: we provide our franchise partners with all the tools necessary to run a rewarding interior decorating business. The training we provide is comprehensive and ongoing, involving product knowledge, design, sales, marketing, and business systems. Whether someone joins us with just an “eye for design” or already has a design degree and experience, our trainers support the needs of every new business.’”

Bugg brought franchise and other entrepreneurial experience to the company, while his wife, Carol, added the perspective of having been an interior designer. Together, they led the company from being primarily a drapery business to one that represents nearly 100 suppliers of a full range of home furnishings, with each of its franchise owners and decorators providing complementary interior design services, all in the home or office of clients. Franchises are located throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Bugg was raised during the Great Depression in Kentucky on a dirt-scrabble farm. At the age of 14, he ran off to Idaho where he lied about his age in order to join the Civilian Conservation Corps. Following his service in the Army in World War II and college at the University of Toledo, Bugg began his sales career selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door.

His franchise experience started in 1970 when he guided the opening of 325 franchises with Century 21. In 1994, he was named Chairman of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and inducted into IFA’s Franchise Hall of Fame in 2009.

Bugg was the recipient of the “Entrepreneur of the Year Award “in 1991 from Merrill Lynch, Price Waterhouse and INC Magazine. He was recognized as one of the Washingtonians of the Year in 2007.

A born organizer, Mr. Bugg either founded or cofounded the following organizations: African Safari Club of Washington, African Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Heritage Foundation, Grand National Waterfowl Association, Take A Kid Outdoors (TAKO), and the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

An avid sportsman, Bugg enjoyed hunting and fishing at the hunting property Poverty Point in Dorchester County, Md. He also loved golfing and socializing with his friends at Columbia Country Club (Md). He was a gifted artist, writer and conservationist. His positive attitude was infectious to all who knew him. The combination of his lean years growing up in Kentucky, his luck surviving World War II, and the struggles of his first attempts of door-to-door selling fostered his resolve to not take life for granted but to approach it with a determined positive attitude.

Bugg is survived by his wife Carol Donayre Bugg; children Karen Mills (Dr. Chip), Ken Bugg, Darlene Bugg, Jim Bugg Jr. (Deirdre), Whitney Williams (John); siblings  Bernie Bugg (Doris) and Sylvia Blair (Gus); and his grandchildren James Joseph Kirlin III, James Brady Williams, Morgan Donayre Williams and McKenzie Fitzgerald Bugg. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Martha, and siblings Betty, Bill, Lynn and Tom.


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