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Today’s FACE of Birmingham is interior designer, Liz Hand Woods, of Liz Hand Woods Interiors. Known for mixing traditional and contemporary to create an elegant and serene, yet super livable atmosphere, she has worked on projects from Florida to Wyoming and has been published in Cottage Living, Southern Accents, Birmingham Home and Garden, Veranda, and Portico magazines. In addition to designing spaces, Liz travels extensively and loves to be in the kitchen pursuing another of her passions: gourmet cooking. She is married and lives in Birmingham with her six children and two dogs. Welcome, Liz!
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How did you get your start in decorating?

I jokingly tell people that Barbie was my very first client. As a child, I had way more fun styling her dream home than I did her outfits! I have always loved design. Even though I took a different career path right after college, design was where my heart was. I have been in the business for over 25 years now and don’t regret a minute of my decision.

How would you describe your style as a decorator?

Classic. I tend to favor tailored, clean lines with a blend of traditional and contemporary detailing. My goal is to create energy and balance through the use of unexpected and interesting elements, as well as an enticing mix of old and new furnishings and fabrics. I love to push the envelope when the client is willing.

What are your go to paint colors right now? Is beige still current or is it all about greige?

While I am all about a good beige or greige paint color, this season I am loving all things white.
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Tell us about your new store, Details.

Details is my recent venture into the retail world. It is a tiny little home accessories boutique in a shoebox of a building in English Village. It evolved out of my need for interesting items to complete the last layers of my design projects. My staff and I have had so much fun filling it with great pieces that we love. I don’t stock anything that I would not use in my own home.
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What trends do you see in home décor going into the future?

Over the last few years, I have seen a shift in the thought process involved in furnishing a home. The majority of clients are more careful and intentional about their purchases. They want to know that they are investing in quality pieces that will still be favorites ten years from now. As a result, I tend to steer clients away from trends. Don’t get me wrong, although I love some of the latest bold graphics, black and white combos and earthy metallics, my advice on trends is to partake in a small way if you must, but exercise restraint and good judgement when making those purchases.

As we move into spring and summer, can you give our readers some tips on easy ways to spruce up around the house and make their spaces look more fresh and current?

Fresh paint is always a quick and inexpensive fix. Slipcover drab upholstery in a lightweight neutral cotton or linen and then pop some color in bright new pillows or fun accessories. Buy a quirky new vase or container and add some fragrant flowers, or a few large tropical leaves for an instant refresher. There are several great art shows scheduled in our area over the next few weeks. Consider investing in a fabulous canvas or a group of paper pieces to generate new energy in a tired spot.
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If you could share 3 design faux pas, what would they be?

Buying into the belief that “Bigger is better.” Trust me, this is not always the case!

Not investing in quality pieces when you really should.

Overdoing it. Too many accessories, patterns or fabrics can kill a fabulous room. Edit, edit, and edit again!

What did your bedroom look like as a teenage girl?

Atrocious! Have you ever seen a good one from the seventies? Picture a green floral bedspread, Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmond posters and shag carpet. My mother drew the line at my desire to paint the walls chocolate brown.
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Aside from creating beautiful home environments, what else are you passionate about?

Travel and great food.

My family and I have had the amazing opportunity to visit many exotic locales thanks to the generosity of my globetrotting mother-in-law. Each summer, we journey off on exciting adventures to destinations such as the Arctic, Kenya, Egypt, Amazon, Galapagos Islands, etc. This summer we are looking forward to a visit to Central America.

My other passion is great food. I love to get in the kitchen and try out new recipes. I am certain that it grew out of preparing meals for such a large family (think 6 kids). Saturdays always include a stop at one of the local farmer’s markets for fabulous finds that would rival a great score at an antique store. I recently traveled to Napa where I visited an incredible market that featured an excellent selection of cheeses, wines, and olive oils.

What music are you currently listening to?

I enjoy all kinds of music. We recently added a Sonos system at our office. I love that we can mix it up with options we find on Pandora. My selections usually reflect my mood, so you might catch me listening to anything from Frank Sinatra to Flo Rida.

What books are on your bedside table/eReader?

I am obsessed with magazines of all kinds and usually have multiple stacks by my bedside, at the office, in my car and at the gym. I have some great books on my Kindle, but never seem to get to them!

What are some of your favorite Birmingham restaurants?

We have some great restaurants in Birmingham, and I am very fond of the local favorites such as Hot and Hot, Highlands, and Bottega. However, I love to try new spots when I travel and always poll family and friends for recommendations when headed to a distant city.

What do you do to recharge your batteries?

Exercise! I have a great group of friends that I have run with for years. We have logged many miles together working off calories and solving the world’s problems. I am also a huge fan of pilates and yoga and try to practice at least three times a week.
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What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you?

Do what you love and love what you do.

What advice would you give to others?

You can do anything you put your mind to.
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Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?

I can’t drink my coffee unless it is in a white mug.

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God, friends, and family)…

Hazelnut coffee (served in a white mug, of course)

Nabeel’s Chicken salad

Freshly pressed white sheets

Thanks for sharing, Liz! And thank you, Beth Hontzas, for these fabulous photos!!

For more information about Liz Hand Woods Interiors, visit the website: www.lizhandwoods.com. And to see more of Beth’s work, visit her website: http://www.bethhontzas.com.
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