In our Interior Designer Crush series, we sit down and chat with our interior designer crushes du jour to ask them the questions we’re dying to have answered. Today, we visit with Richard Long of Long & Long Design. He studied in Auburn University’s architecture program, then spent 11 years honing his craft under architecture and design greats Jeffrey Dungan and Louis Nequette. Now in Long & Long Design, Richard’s design partnership with Lynielle Long, the duo utilizes their architecture and interior design expertise in both residential and commercial arenas to design spaces that exude a subdued elegance, seamlessly marrying timeless Old World charm with forward-thinking modernity. We asked Richard to describe his design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of his stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!

Richard Long of Long & Long Design

Richard Long of Long & Long Design

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

We begin by listening to the client in order to have a clear understanding of their needs. Without a preconceived aesthetic, the experience of working with a client can be spontaneous and exciting. We approach each design challenge as an opportunity to find a unique, sophisticated and simple solution by using natural materials in an honest way, and exploring those relationships between contrasting elements.

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

Fixtures & Finishes, Architectural Heritage, Brandino Brass and Triton Stone.

Interior Design: Jan Ware and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

Modern meets rustic in this open kitchen-and-dining concept in a Lake Martin home. Interior Design: Jan Ware Designs and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

Interior Design: Jan Ware and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

A breathtaking wall of windows bathes the white space in light and a soul-nourishing view of seemingly endless water and skies. Interior Design: Jan Ware Designs and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

Interior Design: Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

Soft grays, whites and Alabama marble are complemented by unlacquered brass accents. Interior Design: Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors and Long & Long Design | Image: Jean Allsopp Photography

Interior Design: Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Again, gold tones are artfully woven throughout, including these striking pendant lights. Interior Design: Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

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

Unlacquered brass has been a recent trend we love in kitchens and baths, but also on door and cabinet hardware. Allowing elements such as a brass doorknob, a leather chair or a wood farm table to patina naturally is a beautiful and timeless aspect of design.

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

Renovating within the context of an older, historic home can be a fun challenge, and I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few lately. The challenge being to design the renovation and addition in a way that would accommodate a modern family lifestyle, while improving — without overpowering — the existing charm and character that you see in so many historic homes that thankfully are still around.

Interior Design: Melanie Pounds and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

White oak is used in the ceiling beams and island, while marble counter tops, brass hardware and a mosaic marble tile oven backsplash complete the look. Interior Design: Melanie Pounds of Patina and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Melanie Pounds and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This built-in mudroom cabinet in white oak features planking in random widths, giving it a one-of-a-kind, hand-hewn feel that will take on a lovely patina as it ages. Interior Design: Melanie Pounds of Patina and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Melanie Pounds and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

The painted pine sliding doors echo the chevron pattern of the wall planking beyond for a clever and sharp reveal of this foosball table and elegant overhead light. Interior Design: Melanie Pounds of Patina and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Katherine Bramlett and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This painted custom Dutch door is a side entry, which allows the breeze to flow through the house without letting out any pooches or kiddos. Interior Design: Katherine Bramlett and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

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Interior Design: Katherine Bramlett and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Low-voltage lighting illuminates the built-in shelving on either side of this custom limestone fireplace surround with stained tongue-and-groove pine above. Interior Design: Katherine Bramlett and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

What brings you the most professional joy?

In the beginning, the “big reveal” of the design concept is always a thrill, but I think it’s most rewarding to visit with a happy client after the project has been completed.

How does Birmingham’s design scene differ from the rest of the country?

It’s incredible — Birmingham is flooded with great talent, which makes for healthy competition and a push for excellence in everything we do.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Travel — I recently had the opportunity to visit several islands in Greece, exploring old towns and villages with such rich history, ancient architectural beauty and, of course, the food!

Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This bathroom is simply stunning. Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This spacious dining nook with central custom banquette is flanked by leather-faced china cabinets. Light floods through large windows upstairs and down, shedding light on the elegant reclaimed oak ceiling beams, custom iron stair rail and more. Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This spacious family room with custom limestone fireplace surround features reclaimed oak ceiling beams and planking, and French doors opening onto the screen porch. Interior Design: Carla Hanes and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

RELATED: This English Country Home is Like Entering a Vermeer Painting

Interior Design: AG Interiors and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This dreamy space includes a chamfered archway into to the dining room with floor-to-ceiling corner windows and whitewashed cedar ceiling beams. Interior Design: AG Interior Design and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

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

I had the opportunity to work under Jeff Dungan, of Jeffrey Dungan Architects, and Louis Nequette, of Nequette Architecture & Design, for over 11 years, two very influential mentors in my life and career. Combined with my invaluable experience at Auburn University’s architecture program, I’ve had tremendous fortune in being surrounded by talented thinkers and designers.

Share one designer secret with us regular folk.

In order to declutter a kitchen, try running power to a nearby pantry cabinet — this can be a great way to hide small appliances.

Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This gorgeous custom white oak front door features leaded glass and antique brass hardware. Interior Design: Shea Bryars Design and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Shiplap walls, marble counter tops and backsplash, rustic chairs and muted green cabinetry combine to create a gorgeous kitchen. Interior Design: Shea Bryars Design and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Custom marble backsplash transitions to wall planking in this subtly elegant vignette. Interior Design: Shea Bryars Design and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

A deep four-centered arch creates a portal-like transition from kitchen to dining, while in the kitchen white marble counter tops, white oak island, wide-plank white oak flooring and shiplap wall planking create a stately yet classic look. Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

Interior Design: Shea Bryars and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

This master closet with custom cabinetry boasts a marble counter top vanity designed for privacy from street-facing windows in the closet. Interior Design: Shea Bryars Design and Long & Long Design | Image: Rob Culpepper

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

I would love to see more use of responsibly sourced, sustainable materials.

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

Listen, collaborate, improvise, restrain and simplify.

Thank you, Richard, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressive design portfolio. To view more of Richard’s work or to contact Long & Long Design, visit longandlongdesign.com.

Thank you to Jean Allsopp and Rob Culpepper for sharing the images of Long & Long Design’s work.

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