Talented designer Margaret Kirkland studied art at UGA and design at Parsons in New York before returning to her hometown of Atlanta, where she trained with the legendary designer Dan Carithers. In 2010, Margaret established her own firm, Margaret Kirkland Interiors, and quickly built a clientele treasuring her knack for classic Southern traditionalism with an updated flair. She received the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center Rising Star in 2011, was named a Next Wave designer to watch by House Beautiful in 2012, and recently made this year’s Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 15 Under 40 list of local tastemakers. The one thing she hadn’t done, though, was take part in a showhouse. Hence, she was thrilled when Elizabeth Ralls, editor-in-chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, invited her to be part of the 2014 Home for the Holidays event. Here, Margaret shares some insight into the timeline, planning and execution process for this incredible project.

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles welcomes you to the 2014 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse and Marketplace.

“Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles” 2014 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace | Image credit: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

August

This is the first time Margaret sees the house, a beautiful new construction on Habersham Road in Buckhead. The initial walk-through has her tingling with excitement to measure, plan and explore the possibilities. She is assigned the guest bedroom and bath suite, as well as the hallway. Margaret and her assistant, Emily Painter, return to the office to brainstorm. They quickly decide to create an intentionally beautiful space that makes guests feel honored when visiting. The bedroom will be a special destination, full of personality and customization. Guests can “vacation” at this residence, rather then stay in an anonymously styled hotel suite. This would be a luxury retreat for friends to favor and in which our Southern mamas could take pride!

September

Margaret finalizes sketches, maps out a floor plan and the ordering begins. She needs to marry her vision with her budget (don’t we all!), then establish what she’ll borrow. This showhouse provides an excellent opportunity to represent her brand publicly, and also feature the products and lines she admires in such a way that gives them special attention. Finalizing all the sources requires legwork, patience and flexibility.

Margaret selects Brunschwig & Fils fabrics and Farrow & Ball paint in this rich color called "Drawing Room Blue".

Margaret selects Brunschwig & Fils fabrics and Farrow & Ball paint in this rich color called Drawing Room Blue.

By September, Margaret has the preliminary sketches and space planning done so that she can start filling in details. (Image credit: Margaret Kirkland Interiors)

By September, Margaret has the preliminary sketches and space planning done so that she can start filling in details. Image credit: Margaret Kirkland Interiors

October

No more wiggle room now! The product list is due for submission to the showhouse organizing committee. Margaret selects local vendors and resources from whom she often buys, confident their products further enhance the quality and richness of the room. The final choices  include:

November

Installation begins! During the first week of November, all of the teams commence work on their spaces. In a flurry of activity, everything must be loaded in, painted, hooked up, wired, hung, draped and dressed — and all with an air of clandestine excitement, concealing details until the opening day. Obviously, each designer notes the work of the others during this time, but nobody wants too much information leaked to the public … that would ruin the fun. For this showhouse, there’s an added twist, as teams return a few days after install to then deck their halls … after all, this is Home for the Holidays, and the festive decorations give it a magical element.

Oh, the yards and yard of Brunschwig & Fils fabric, finished to perfection and ready for install. (Image credit: Margaret Kirkland)

Oh, the yards and yards of Brunschwig & Fils fabric, finished to perfection and ready for install | Image credit: Margaret Kirkland

Measure twice, hang once? (Image credit: Margaret Kirkland)

Measure twice, hang once? Image credit: Margaret Kirkland

The angel canopy softens the dark color and adds some depth to the room. (Image credit: Margaret Kirkland)

The angel canopy softens the dark color and adds some depth to the room. Image credit: Margaret Kirkland

Those gorgeous Leontine Linens... we all love them so. Margaret tucks and fluffs the bedding to show off their detail.

Those gorgeous Leontine Linens … we all love them so! Margaret tucks and fluffs the bedding to show off their detail.

Margaret brings in experienced crews to assist with the heavy-duty portions of the install.

Margaret brings in experienced crews to assist with the heavy-duty portions of the install.

Opening Night

Margaret Kirkland’s rooms sparkle! Her big reveal gives huge impact with the striking combination of dramatic hues and graceful furnishings. The space dazzles with sweeps of color, including an added texture of dark blue glossy paint finish on the walls, antiques, books, plants and art. The cozy angel canopy and the sumptuous Leontine linens welcome guests to relax and sleep well. Antiques and art reflect the authenticity of the well-chosen pieces found in a sophisticated private residence. Little treats — a breakfast tray of tea, good books, chocolates, fresh flowers and a dressing table complete with perfume — spoil any visitor with touches of luxury. Take a look at the pictures from our sneak peek preview night:

The evening light brings out the rich tones Margaret chose for the room.

The evening light brings out the rich tones Margaret chose for the room.

Margaret's team has successfully created a room that she hopes "makes our Southern momma's proud!"

Margaret’s team has successfully created a room that she hopes “makes our Southern mommas proud!”

The deep wall color provides a perfect backdrop for the lighter-toned mirror. Look at that elegant scrollwork!

The deep wall color provides a perfect backdrop for the lighter-toned mirror. Look at that elegant scrollwork!

Margaret takes full advantage of every inch of the space, fashioning a cozy sitting area in this luxurious guest suite.

Margaret takes full advantage of every inch of the space, fashioning a cozy sitting area in this luxurious guest suite.

Imagine sitting here to touch up makeup... refined glamour at its finest.

Imagine sitting here to touch up makeup … refined glamour at its finest!

Margaret, your first showhouse project’s a spectacular success! We’re quite certain this will be the first of many, many more!

See Margaret’s room in person, as well as all of the gorgeous work on display in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays from November 19 to December 7 at 2865 Habersham Rd. in Atlanta. The home is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, and Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. Parking is available at ADAC, with a shuttle running regularly to the event property. Tickets can be purchased for $25 online at www.atlantaholidayhome.com or at a variety of vendors also listed online.

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles let us preview some of the professional shots taken by Jeff Roffman. Gorgeous details show in the morning light. Beautiful. (Image credit: Jeff Roffman; Image courtesty of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.)

“Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles” let us preview some of the professional shots taken by Jeff Roffman. Gorgeous details show in the morning light. Beautiful! Image credit: Jeff Roffman; Image courtesy of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles