At the end of 1966, Sandy, Bruce and Chris had moved from upstate New York down to New York City. Sandy´s apartment in Queen’s became a handy gathering place. There they started singing folk music and creating their sound. They began playing small venues in Greenwich Village and elsewhere in New York City. The group´s name, Chris said, came after they had gone through “a zillion suggestions.” “The Free Design,” he explained, “had to do with our way of singing – there was a lot of counterpoint and individual lines going on all the time.”
Chris, recalls, “We tried to make our own arrangements. People who heard us said, ´Boy, what a great blend.´ So I decided to try writing some songs of our own.” His first effort was “Kites Are Fun.” After his father heard it – and complimented him on it – he suggested that Chris try writing something with trumpets in it. The result was “The Proper Ornaments.” These two songs became their first singles – and “Kites Are Fun” hit the charts.