In our monthly Interior Designer Crush series, we sit down and chat with our interior designer crush du jour to ask them 10 questions we’re dying to have answered. Today, we visit with Betsy Brown of Betsy Brown Inc. She comes alive when mining the daily living patterns, cherished objects, formative experiences and unique tastes and personalities of her clients. Listening to her clients is the cornerstone of her work, and she translates what she hears into beautiful, livable spaces that possess the very design DNA of her clients. “A well suited home is a portrait of those who live within,” she writes on her website. “Modernist sensibilities form the foundation while antiquities inform and balance, providing a delicate tension and subtle energy. The result is a home that genuinely reflects one’s true nature.” We asked Betsy to describe her aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!

Interior designer Betsy Brown of Betsy Brown Inc. | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

Interior designer Betsy Brown of Betsy Brown Inc. | Image: Eric & Jamie Photography

What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s home?

I try to create intelligent, authentic, comfortable spaces. And I do my best to listen. My clients are generally smart, unpretentious people who don’t want to be cast in a play they didn’t write.

Where are your favorite local spots to source decor for a client’s home?

Details by Liz Hand Woods, Paige Albright Orientals, Patina, Circa Interiors & Antiques, Henhouse Antiques, Architectural Heritage, Gallery 1930, Table Matters, Cottage Supply Company, Leaf & Petal and Three Sheets.

Betsy designed the interiors of this beautiful home by architect Bobby McAlpine for a couple with two children. The salon room features a painted Italian armchair opposite a custom upholstered banquette, sofa and chairs; a pair of custom cerused oak bookcases and a pair of parchment and bronze waterfall side tables. Image: Jean Allsopp

Betsy designed the interiors of this beautiful home by architect Bobby McAlpine for a couple with two children. The salon room features a painted Italian armchair opposite a custom upholstered banquette, sofa and chairs; a pair of custom cerused oak bookcases and a pair of parchment and bronze waterfall side tables. Image: Jean Allsopp

One lovely vignette in the salon features a custom shagreen credenza and a custom upholstered sofa. Image: Jean Allsopp

One lovely vignette in the salon features a custom shagreen credenza and a custom upholstered sofa. Image: Jean Allsopp

This striking powder room with its antique mirrored walls, pair of iron and crystal bird sconces and antique Turkish stone sink is truly one of a kind. Image: Miller Mobley

This striking powder room with its antique mirrored walls, pair of iron and crystal bird sconces and antique Turkish stone sink is truly one of a kind. Image: Miller Mobley

The daughter enjoys a Louis XVI Bergère and side chair, a Warren Platner coffee table and a Mongolian throw from Paige Albright Orientals at foot of her bed. Image: Miller Mobley

The daughter enjoys a Louis XVI Bergère and side chair, a Warren Platner coffee table and a Mongolian throw from Paige Albright Orientals at the foot of her bed. Image: Miller Mobley

RELATED: Paige Albright: FACES of Birmingham

An antique Italian chest with Ziggurat legs is flanked by a 19th Century English regency chair in the entry of the home. Image: Miller Mobley

An antique Italian chest with Ziggurat legs is flanked by a 19th Century English regency chair in the entry of the home. Image: Miller Mobley

Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?

I’m loving the availability of great photography. It’s a wonderful foil for the timeless antiques and mid-century pieces we work with.

What has been your most challenging project to date and why?

We occasionally have clients who are incredibly well researched but can’t seem to make final decisions, causing their projects to stall. I feel tremendous empathy for them because I’ve been there myself from time to time. I try to determine where the snags are so we can gently work through them and get the project moving forward.

Betsy worked with Paul Bates Architects on the renovation of this mid-century modern house for two empty-nesters. Their master bedroom features a custom upholstered platform bed, a modern kelim rug from Paige Albright Orientals and art by Clayton Colvin above the modern fireplace. Image: Jean Allsopp

Betsy worked with Paul Bates Architects on the renovation of this mid-century modern house for two empty-nesters. Their master bedroom features a custom upholstered platform bed, a modern kelim rug from Paige Albright Orientals and art by Clayton Colvin above the modern fireplace. Image: Jean Allsopp

This kitchen and dining room open floor plan features a custom dining table in antique white oak by Christian Liaigre chairs and ottoman. The kitchen includes Bertoia counter stools, a striking suspension lamp by Christian Liaigre and a Brutalist wall sculpture. Image: Jean Allsopp

This open floor plan features a custom dining table in antique white oak, as well as chairs and an ottoman by Christian Liaigre. The kitchen includes Bertoia counter stools, a striking suspension lamp by Christian Liaigre and a Brutalist wall sculpture. Image: Jean Allsopp

The family room is anchored by an asymmetrical custom walnut coffee table beside a sleek pair of Christian Liaigre armchairs atop a vintage kelim rug. Client's own antique oak French work table creates the base for a beautiful sideboard display, which includes an African high-back chair. Image: Jean Allsopp

The family room is anchored by an asymmetrical custom walnut coffee table beside a sleek pair of Christian Liaigre armchairs atop a vintage kelim rug. The client’s own antique oak French work table creates the base for a beautiful sideboard display, which includes an African high-back chair. Image: Jean Allsopp

The master lounge features a Verellen sofa, Eames lounge chair and ottoman, antique regency chair, floor lamp by Serge Mouille and a kelim rug from Paige Albright Orientals. Image: Jean Allsopp

The master lounge features a Verellen sofa, Eames lounge chair and ottoman, antique regency chair, floor lamp by Serge Mouille and a kelim rug from Paige Albright Orientals. Image: Jean Allsopp

What brings you the most professional joy?

I have two answers for that question. First, on a daily basis I find so much joy in the people I work with. My assistant Anna Still is brilliantly organized, has exquisite taste and is the best taskmaster ever. She’s my boss. Then our drapery and soft furniture maker, our upholsterer and our wood-steel-and-bronze furniture maker are each amazingly talented at their craft. They make my work look good. (And they know who they are!) What else brings me professional joy? I live for installation day. Seeing a house come together is thrilling for everyone involved. The client’s reaction when they see their finished rooms, it’s a drug we’re all addicted to.

Where do you get your inspiration?

A client’s happiness and peace of mind is a designer’s inspiration, and travel is probably the best teacher and motivator.

"This is my personal house, a renovated 1940s bungalow overlooking downtown Birmingham, Alabama," says Betsy. "Toward the end of the project, I requested the assistance of my good friend, architect Paul Bates. Designing my own house is never easy for me because of the lack of feedback. I much prefer the process of getting inside a client’s head." Image: Peter Vitale

“This is my personal house, a renovated 1940s bungalow overlooking downtown Birmingham, Alabama,” says Betsy. “Toward the end of the project, I requested the assistance of my good friend, architect Paul Bates. Designing my own house is never easy for me because of the lack of feedback. I much prefer the process of getting inside a client’s head.” Image: Peter Vitale

RELATED: 10 Unexpected Ways to Incorporate Heirlooms & Antiques into Your Home

The sleek and elegant kitchen features a 19th Century French walnut dining table and Anziano Chairs by Donghia. Image: Peter Vitale

The sleek and elegant kitchen features a 19th Century French walnut dining table and Anziano Chairs by Donghia. Image: Peter Vitale

The library's 19th Century French drop-leaf table is topped with a plaster cone hanging light by Rose Uniacke. Image: Peter Vitale

The library’s 19th Century French drop-leaf table is topped with a plaster cone hanging light by Rose Uniacke. Image: Peter Vitale

The living room features a sofa by Christian Liaigre and matching custom ottoman, a pair of antique regency chairs, a lacquer and bronze coffee table, a pair of cerused oak custom side tables, a 19th Century Dutch Repousse ebonized wood and brass mirror and a floor lamp by Serge Mouille. Image: Peter Vitale

The living room features a sofa by Christian Liaigre and matching custom ottoman, a pair of antique regency chairs, a lacquer and bronze coffee table, a pair of cerused oak custom side tables, a 19th Century Dutch Repousse ebonized wood and brass mirror and a floor lamp by Serge Mouille. Image: Peter Vitale

This antique French regency chair is the perfect complement to the modern art and custom mantel. Image: Peter Vitale

This antique French regency chair is the perfect complement to the modern art and custom mantel. Image: Peter Vitale

Who have been your industry mentors and role models and why?

When I graduated in interior design in the ’70s — um, yes — my mind was blown by Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley and John Dickinson. Their work was intelligent, tailored, comfortable and absolutely gorgeous. It looks as good today as it did 40 years ago.

Share one designer secret with us regular folk.

You, your architect and your interior designer should be a team from the beginning of the project to the end.

"This untouched Greek Revival house in rural South Alabama was built around 1825," says Betsy. "The owners are a dentist husband and attorney wife with two college-age boys whose favorite pastime is hunting. It was an amazing experience, like traveling back in time 100 years." Image: William Abranowicz

“This untouched Greek Revival house in rural South Alabama was built around 1825,” says Betsy. “The owners are a dentist husband and attorney wife with two college-age boys whose favorite pastime is hunting. It was an amazing experience, like traveling back in time 100 years.” Image: William Abranowicz

The modern custom cherrywood slab coffee table and cream-colored Verellan chairs allow the antique antlers and antler chandelier to take center stage. Image: William Abranowicz

The modern custom cherrywood slab coffee table and cream-colored Verellen chairs allow the antique antlers and antler chandelier to take center stage. Image: William Abranowicz

The side entry features lovely, old-school screen doors leading onto the covered porch. Inside, a striped kelim anchors traditional elements, such as the antique Louis XV settee, mid-century Louis XVI-Style Bergère, the antique French buffet and primitive antique stools. Image: William Abranowicz

The side entry features lovely, old-school screen doors leading onto the covered porch. Inside, a striped kelim anchors traditional elements, such as the antique Louis XV settee, mid-century Louis XVI-style Bergère, the antique French buffet and primitive antique stools. Image: William Abranowicz

The client's own collection of vintage European antlers gets its day in the sun beside antique prints of Greek Revival plaster designs in this upstairs hallway vignette, where an 18th Century Louis XIV-style armchair flanks a custom walnut table by Michael Morrow. Image: William Abranowicz

The client’s own collection of vintage European antlers gets its day in the sun beside antique prints of Greek Revival plaster designs in this upstairs hallway vignette, where an 18th Century Louis XIV-style armchair flanks a custom walnut table by Michael Morrow of MDM Design Studio. Image: William Abranowicz

The master bedroom includes an upholstered sleigh bed, antique Georgian wing chair, saber leg ottoman by Formations, a bullseye mirror and an antique rug from Paige Albright Orientals. Image William Abranowicz

The master bedroom includes an upholstered sleigh bed, antique Georgian wing chair, saber leg ottoman by Formations, a bullseye mirror and an antique rug from Paige Albright Orientals. Image William Abranowicz

What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?

There are several forces at play in the design world right now that could not have been foreseen 10 years ago. Restoration Hardware is oversimplifying the choices; Pinterest and Instagram are showing us all the possibilities, but building the insane pressure we all feel to project the perfect life; and Anna Wintour at the helm of Architectural Digest is encouraging us to throw out the rule book and look beyond our social media feeds. What will be next? Hell if I know! I just hope to be around for the ride.

If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?

Listen. Collaborate. Make something beautiful.

Thank you to Betsy for sharing her impressive body of work as well as her thoughtful insights. To view more of her gorgeous work or to contact Betsy, visit betsybrowninc.net.

Thank you to Miller Mobley, Jean Allsopp, Peter Vitale and William Abranowicz for the beautiful images of Betsy’s work. 

And thank you Eric and Jamie Gay of Eric & Jamie Photography for the lovely portrait of Betsy!

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See who else we’re crushing on in our interiors archives. Click here and enjoy a look around!