What is the key to successful design collaboration?
Stephanie: A successful design collaboration begins with the client. Determining their motivation, whether that is elevating their home’s finishes because they want to update their kitchen or bath, creating a stunning yet comfortable room to be with their friends and family or just to finish off the details so their home looks “put together.” Once we truly understand this, then we as designers can collaborate on how to reach the client’s goals. Typically, one designer heads the project, makes several floor plan options and then creates vignettes that fit each floor plan. From there, we review and are able to enhance the selections through careful editing. This process requires that each designer be confident in their choices yet open to edits. It is through this back and forth on finishes, fabrics and details that the design evolves into something greater than the sum of its parts.
What’s the best part about relying on local craftsmen to create your overall vision?
Elisabeth: This allows our clients to experience a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Our design vision is only as good as the craftsman that builds it. They also add a level of innovation and detail that would not be possible without this collaboration. Everyone has their strengths, whether it is finding incredible lumber to create furniture or placing fabric on a pillow, just so.
What brings you the most professional joy?
Stephanie: I believe that my mission in life is to create beauty and lift people (including myself) to a positive and happy place. I feel incredibly blessed that I have the opportunity to express this mission daily with my employees, my clients, my family and my friends.
How does Atlanta’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
Elisabeth: Atlantans truly value design and working with designers. They embrace a multitude of styles and incorporate history and travel in their homes. The misconception that Atlantans only embrace traditional Southern style is outweighed by a spirit of modern lines and fun. Every home has a story.
Share one design secret with us regular folk.
Elisabeth: Less is more. Everything should have meaning in your home. If you don’t like an accessory — or even a rug — ditch it before you find the “perfect substitute.” The right one will show up just on time (if it was meant to be there in the first place).
Who have been your industry mentors/role models and why?
Stephanie: Jonathan Adler for his irreverent, colorful, fresh and happy vibe; Clodagh for her thoughtful, organic, layered and simple forms; Kelly Wearstler for her glam, rock-n-roll personal style; Oprah Winfrey for her authentic yet rock-solid empire creation.
Where are your favorite local spots to decorate a client’s home?
Elisabeth: I enjoy finding inspiration outside a typical home furnishings store: a visit to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Botanical Garden — even your neighborhood hardware store or bookstore. Observe what artists find inspirational and incorporate these subjects or textures in your design. Embrace an old rug or chandelier that needs repair. Take some photos in your neighborhood and notice what attracts you.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Stephanie: I am loving Instagram and the colorful freshness of many talented abstract artists. My favorite magazine is Domino, and I never fail to be inspired by the lifestyles of the women they feature. I also find inspiration from little treasures that I hold dear from my travels: a Buddha prayer wheel from Nepal, a handmade shirt from Italy, my Scottish plaid from my grandfather and photographs from my first trip to Paris with my husband, Ed.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
Elisabeth: In general, our most successful projects incorporate design-savvy people with an appreciation for art and trust for our eye. They consider design an investment for their happiness and welcome innovation, texture, multiple styles and really solid pieces. So, I guess the most challenging projects are the ones where these attributes are more difficult to come by. Every project is different and we try to embrace each one individually.
Is there one design element that you use over and over again, in some type of capacity? And if so, why?
Elisabeth: I am probably most attracted to Scandinavian design, which has clean, low lines with attention to materials and detail. I try to challenge the rules and emphasize something unique even in these simple designs, whether that be changing a paint sheen or using an unusual cabinet pull. Every foundational design can be tweaked so it is elevated and custom to the project.
Thank you to these two talented Atlanta designers for sharing your insight and expertise. And a huge thank you to Tracy Cox Photography for her wonderful photos!
Check out some of our other designer crushes in our Home & Decor section!