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Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters make a dynamic Atlanta design duo. The two met while working on a commercial project, quickly decided to keep in touch, and ended up combining creative forces to launch what has become Forbes+Masters, a design firm that has garnered national attention. We spoke with the two entrepreneurs about their favorite parts of the industry, their individual aesthetics, and what they love about the eclectic style they’ve become known for. 

What were the respective paths that led each of you to interior design? How did you know you wanted to become designers? 

Tavia Forbes: Growing up in New York, I was always surrounded by design, especially since my father was a cabinetry craftsman. Taking my love for design and the project management skills I learned from my father, I started an event and floral planning business. This would eventually springboard me into interior design. 

Monet Masters: I was drawn to design from a young age. I would spend hours rearranging the teddy bears in my room and eventually started helping relatives with their homes. After graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design, I worked in a corporate design setting before starting my own business. 

Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters
Tavia Forbes (left) and Monet Masters are the women behind their eponymous design business, Forbes+Masters. Image: Andrew Michael Phillips

What do you enjoy most about your work? What have some highlights of your career been thus far? 

Tavia: One of our biggest accomplishments is when we were named “Rising Star(s)” with Architectural Digest. To be featured in such a large publication, it almost felt like we had made it in a way. It was further validation that [the] work we were doing was good and other people saw that. Another major milestone for us was when we were featured in Essence; this accomplishment held such a cultural significance for us. Essence was a magazine that we had both grown up with, and seeing ourselves in it was honestly just so surreal. 

Can you describe your own aesthetic? How do you incorporate it into your projects and at home? 

Tavia: I enjoy a monochromatic space. While I love being surrounded by design all day, every day, it is important for me to have a home where I can reset. This allows me to fuel my creative energies into our clients. 

Monet: I enjoy a streamlined conception while adding a lot of dimension with textiles. It is also important for my personal space to have balance, providing a space where I can find my zen. I like to take my time when it comes to my home, giving it that perfectly collected look and feel. 

What do you think makes eclectic style so special?

Monet: Eclectic style allows you to think outside of the box and does not hold you to the constraints of a certain design style. This allows us to curate a space that is unique and showcases the individualism of our clients and ourselves alike.

Colorful Jewel Toned Bedroom Design by Forbes+Masters
Warm colors and distinct textures play well together in this cozy and inviting bedroom design. Image: Ilya Zobanov
Lounge Area with Natural Lighting Designed by Forbes+Masters
A stark white backdrop invites the opportunity to infuse the space with pops of color and pattern. Image: Ilya Zobanov
Modern Living Room Design by Forbes+Masters
“Eclectic style allows you to think outside of the box and does not hold you to the constraints of a certain design style,” says Monet Masters of the pair’s signature eclectic style. Image: Ilya Zobanov

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Where do you find your inspiration? 

Tavia: I look to the past to shape the here and now. I love learning about different historical periods — especially the art, which took precedence — and applying these concepts in an updated approach.

Monet: I find inspiration in the juxtaposition present between the fluidity of nature and the sleekness of modernity. It is important for me to create spaces that harness a positive energy for our clients, creating an oasis for them in a way. 

Who is your dream client? 

Monet: As cliché as this may be, our dream client would be one who puts all of their trust in us and basically lets us run wild with our vision. And of course, an unlimited budget never hurts! 

Modern Neutral Living Room Design by Forbes+Masters
A variety of shapes, colors, patterns, and textures all infuse this space with intriguing — and inviting — elements. Image: Ilya Zobanov

What advice do you have for aspiring designers? 

Monet: Take the first step, whatever that is for you. Whether it is reaching out to an established designer or starting your own business, you have to believe in your vision and run with it. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Tavia and Monet! Learn more about this dynamic design duo at Forbes+Masters.

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About the Author
Sarah Lyon

Sarah Lyon is a Washington, DC, native living in New York City. As a freelance writer, she frequently covers interior design, travel, and other lifestyle topics. An avid vintage shopper, Sarah loves learning about thrift and antique stores located across the South.