Interior designer Liz Toombs is no stranger to residential design. After all, her Kentucky-based company, PDR Interiors, does plenty of it across the country. However, it might just be Liz’s knack for Greek housing interiors that makes her stand out from the crowd. With college football season at the forefront of our minds, we caught up with Liz to learn about her “in” with the South’s Greek community and what trends we can look forward to on college campuses everywhere. Please welcome our newest Interior Designer Crush, Liz Toombs, of PDR Interiors in Lexington, KY.
Who or what inspired your design career?
My grandfather, who I was very close to, was a realtor when I was younger, so I was exposed to a variety of house styles early in life. My whole family is very creative, but I attribute my design interest to the real estate element.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Clean lines for the furniture and an overall soft and relaxing color palette with punches of bold patterns and colors. It’s a little bit mid-century modern-inspired, with some whimsy thrown in here and there. A great example of this is my China cabinet; it’s a 1960s Drexel piece that’s lacquered in cobalt blue with gold hardware.
You do a lot of work with the Greek community — how did you discover that niche?
My first Greek project came from one of my husband’s business contacts. From there, I have built my client base and network via word of mouth. I am an alumna of Alpha Gamma Delta, so I am very familiar with the Greek collegiate experience.
How is on-campus design different from home interiors?
Residential design serves one family. Greek design serves a group of 50 to 300 women annually. My team’s sorority projects are an interesting hybrid of residential appearance with commercial durability. It’s a fun balancing act.
What is your favorite project to date?
This is always a challenge for me to answer! I have so many favorites, and all for different reasons. If I must choose one, I would say it’s our project we just finished at the University of Georgia. The house underwent a major remodel, and the transformation was amazing!
What advice do you have for parents moving their kids into college when it comes to room design?
Choose items that pull double duty, such as Rubbermaid totes for under beds, shoe bins, and storage benches. If you buy durable items that offer great function, they can go from place to place with your child. The best pieces can be used to store things AND easily move them to your child’s next home when the time comes.
What one item should every college student make sure they have to make their room feel cozier?
The must-have for a cozy room is a good throw blanket — one that is oversized and a soft material.
What are the prevailing current college interior design trends you’re seeing?
In college spaces, Boho is still very popular … Macrame wall hangings, slubby/textured pillows, and lots of neutrals like blush, cream, and white.
What is your favorite space or design element in your own home, and why?
The sunroom, for a lot of reasons. First, I love the windows because they let us look out over our tree-lined backyard and bring in so much natural light. Second, I have intentionally chosen materials that are durable and easy to clean. I can enjoy the beautiful white fabric on the sofa because it’s Crypton, and I know any puppy paw prints will clean right off! The rug is another great material choice; it’s made up of commercial carpet squares with a colorful pattern. If any of the squares were to get damaged, I could easily remove them and replace them with fresh ones.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world — be it another designer or a dream client — who would it be?
Hmmm, I’d say Reese Witherspoon. She seems like she would be so relatable and easy to work with. I love the colors and patterns in her Draper James products, so I think we would align well on aesthetics.
What design trends are you most excited about this year?
Lighter-colored wood flooring. I am ready to say goodbye to the dark stains and welcome in light and airy flooring finishes.
Can you describe your design philosophy in five words?
Connect and collaborate to create. It’s important to me to form a connection with my clients so we can collaborate to create the best space for them.