A. Brandeis Short and Adrianne Bugg are the dynamic design duo behind Pillar & Peacock Interior Design firm and the recent winners of our ‘Make a Move, Make a Room’ Interior Design Contest Sponsored by Paige Albright Orientals. Brandeis earned her degree in interior design at Virginia Commonwealth University before working for the renowned architecture and interior design firm, 3North, where she cultivated her innate sense of balancing form and function with her expert command of the technical aspects of design. Adrianne earned her finance degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, then went on to hone her business acumen at Smith Barney and Wachovia Securities, always taking an interest in art and design on the side. Her ability to run a business coupled with her natural eye for design made her the perfect business partner for Brandeis. With their combined 15 years of design experience, the two have worked on an array of design projects, from boutique hospitality projects like The Grove Park Inn to high-end residential projects — always with a laser-focus on beautiful, functional spaces that are not only physically inviting, but that also are true to their customer’s personal style and character.
What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client’s home?
At Pillar & Peacock, we are good at mixing styles. That said our entire business is built on really getting to know who our clients are so that we can bring that out in the interiors. When you can walk into your home and it feels like you, that is when we’ve done our job right.
Where are your favorite local spots to source decor for a client’s home?
We have studios in Florence, Alabama, as well as in Richmond and Irvington, Virginia, so we tend to shop in many different places. When we are installing a project, we strive to source from local vendors. We have a wide variety of independent sources around the country, however. 1stdibs is always a go-to for art, antiques and accessories.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
We love seeing the use of color! Color and texture can dramatically change a space. Historically, color was used in bold ways. We also love the trend of mixing metal finishes. Mixing them correctly can add depth and interest to the design.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
Mount Airy Plantation in Warsaw, Virginia, was one of the most challenging projects we have worked on so far. We renovated 13 spaces in a short amount of time in this 250-year-old estate for HGTV. Working with the TV producers and styling for TV is very different than working on a private residence. We had to marry the interests of the homeowners, the producers and the Department of Historic Resources.
What brings you the most professional joy?
Seeing our designs come alive. The absolute best is when we have worked so hard on a project — sometimes for a year or more — and that install week comes. At the end of the install, to have the client walk through (always with a flute of champagne in their hand) and see and hear their reactions to how it all comes together, that is the best.
How does Birmingham’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?
We are delighted to get to know Birmingham more closely. Birmingham has so much to offer and its proximity to Atlanta and Nashville really give it an edge. Also, some of our favorite role models are in the area: Bill Ingram, McAlpine and Susan Ferrier.
Where do you get your inspiration?
We love to look at design books and magazines — House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Domino, Veranda, Elle Decor, Lonny and, of course, StyleBlueprint, to name a few. We also love to follow other designers, architects, artists and travelistas on Instagram.
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and why?
We are inspired by many designers and architects, including Bill Ingram, Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier. Not only are they local to Alabama but they have a clean, timeless aesthetic that we love. We also admire Thomas O’Brien and Barbara Barry for their timeless style. Kelly Wearstler is a favorite — she is not afraid to push the envelope to create beautiful spaces. Windsor Smith also pushes the edge and creates a great mix of modern and traditional styling.
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
Find the one thing that you are in love with and build the rest of the space around it.
What are your predictions for interior design in the next 10 to 15 years?
We think people are starting to turn to designers more and more for interior architecture. And that is great! It’s sometimes a struggle to communicate that the architecture of a space is just as important as the furnishings. It’s all connected, and designers can enhance the area beyond its seeming limitations by looking at the whole picture — and maybe turning it on its head.
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Be true to your style.
Thank you, Brandeis and Adrianne, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressively diverse design portfolio. To contact Pillar & Peacock, visit pillarandpeacock.com.
See who else we’re crushing on in our interior design archives. Click here and enjoy a look around!