In our monthly Interior Designer Crush series, we talk to an interior designer we are crushing on and ask them 10 questions we’re dying to know the answers to. Today, we visit with Libby Greene of Libby Greene Interiors in Birmingham, AL. With a talent for mixing past and present, old and new, she creates inviting rooms that express a casual, understated elegance. For the past 15 years, she has worked independently in both residential and commercial venues throughout Alabama, as well as the coast of Florida. We asked Libby to describe her aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of some of her favorite projects. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic, and how do you translate that to each client’s home?
I am a traditionalist. I am all about elegant, comfortable and functional. I always cling to classic furniture, pretty antiques — good design is long-lasting. I am just as interested in the small details as I am the big picture. I sit down with my client and listen to their wants and needs, and then I try to incorporate those together into a look that they will love!
Where are your favorite spots to decorate in a client’s home?
I really love to work on all rooms. However, I think the kitchen and family room are where most families gather together. It’s the heart of the home. So, I like to make sure it is beautiful, of course, but also that it meets their functional needs with elements that capture their personalities and interests.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
I am loving the unlacquered brass and wallpaper trend! I use both a good bit. I am seeing a lot more colors and patterns being used. With regard to timeless design, I always use classic upholstery lines that you can throw a trendy pillow on. I always encourage my clients to buy the best you can afford. Quality over quantity! And try to buy a classic antique chest. It can really anchor any room in the house. You won’t be sorry!
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
Well, being a Auburn graduate and fan, I would have to say that doing my clients’ “Game Day” house in Tuscaloosa was the most challenging and fun project for me! I was up to my neck in the Crimson Tide! You can only use so many shades of crimson and gray! Trying to balance all those colors and make it look tasteful was a challenge! (Laughs.) I have to say, despite the team rivalry, it turned out to be a special place that my clients can share with family and friends, and it’s a project I really loved working on.
What brings you the most professional joy?
I’m most fulfilled when my clients are happy with the results and are excited to come home and enjoy being in their home!
Where do you get your inspiration?
There is a lot that inspires me! Finding that special piece for a room — whether it’s a picture, pillow or rug — excites me. I always love going through my collection of coffee table books for inspiration. It’s really neat to have a job where you’re constantly inspired, surrounded by pretty things and have great clients to work for!
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and why?
I love Suzanne Rheinstein‘s style! She is known for her gracious and relaxed Southern traditional style. We have similar beliefs, such as buying good things one at a time rather than filling up a space with cheap copies. Her style is classic and timeless!
Share one design secret with us regular folk.
This really isn’t a secret, but more of an essential: I stuff my pillow covers with 90/10 down pillows. It really makes the biggest difference in how the pillow sits and can really help a drab sofa look a lot better! I usually make the pillow fill about 2 inches larger than the pillow cover, so its nice and full. And don’t karate-chop the pillows in the middle so they look like they have ears!
What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?
I really think traditional will come back even more. This is why I say don’t fill your house up with what’s trending today. Instead, buy pillows or small trendy items to mix in with the traditional, because in 10 years you will be over what’s trending today. If you buy those great pieces you can place in most rooms, then you will have them for the long haul. People will still want to change out neutrals for color and color for neutrals — the balance between color and neutrals will always ebb and flow. My mom laughs at the fact that the colors she had growing up are now popular again. It all comes around full circle!
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Good design should be timeless.
Thank you to Libby Greene for sharing her talents and insights. We see great things happening for this designer of elegant, timeless interiors! To view more of her fabulous work or to contact Libby, visit Libby Greene Interiors.
And a huge thank you to photographer Jean Allsopp for sharing her wonderful pictures with us!