Interior designer Ann Nordeen Parker of Parker Design Studio looks at each project as an exciting challenge, the challenge to match each client’s unique functional needs with his or her own personal design aesthetic. After earning a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Iowa State University, Ann spent more than 12 years with a large, national architectural firm in a highly creative design environment, where she worked on a diverse array of work, including two Southern Living Idea Houses. The NCIDQ-certified interior designer and member of the American Society of Interior Designers founded Parker Design Studio in 2010. And there’s almost no type of client she hasn’t worked with — from retail stores, restaurants, corporate offices and high-end residential spaces to salons and veterinary clinics, Ann and her team have the design chops and breadth of experience to tackle any type of project. We asked Ann to describe her design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!

Parker Design Studio
Ann Nordeen Parker of Parker Design Studio | Image: Micki Martin Photography

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

We love taking our experience and knowledge and the client’s aesthetic dreams and making it happen for them. Our studio works hard to channel the client’s style desires and give them their look while making it work functionally as well.

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

With our diverse pool of clients, both commercial and residential, and their spectrum of personal styles and budgets, we go to a range of places, from Greg Baudoin, Garden District, spruceChestnut Hall, Palladio Home and GardenSheffield Antiques Mall, Flashback, RS Antiques to Target.

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Parker Design Studio
The distressed mirror wall is a striking focal point for this chic living room. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
Elegant furniture and a calming color palette are beautifully juxtaposed with this Old World chandelier and rustic reclaimed wood ceiling. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
A large wall of windows allows this grand space with a gorgeous vaulted wood ceiling to be bathed in natural light. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
The designer’s own dining room is a bright, bold and happy space. We love the use of color and light! Image: Sophorn Kuoy of norococo
Parker Design Studio
Blue walls and window treatments, a one-of-a-kind fireplace and an unforgettable sheepskin chair make this living room a standout. Image: Jack Gardner Photography
Parker Design Studio
Metallic wallpaper with red blossoms echoes the statement-making red chairs in this stunning dining room. Image: Jack Gardner Photography

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

I’m loving color and large-scale patterns, and I love that this design is being welcomed by all. “Timeless” is in the eyes of the beholder — if you deem it important to you, it will be timeless. We are careful to guide clients towards longevity with a thread of trend.

What is your most challenging project to date and why?

All of them. Every single one is a challenge, and that is a part of my work that I love. The challenge of creating a space unique to the owner is what gets me and my team excited.

What brings you the most professional joy?

Walking into a space we designed and seeing the client using it, really seeing that it worked.

Parker Design Studio
This wallpaper in Gould’s Academy in Overton couldn’t be more perfect. Image: Christopher Schmidt of CS Studio
Parker Design Studio
Penny-round tiles gleam against the glowing lights at Gould’s Salon Spa downtown salon. Image: Christopher Schmidt of CS Studio
The wall art at the front desk of Gould’s Salon Spa is a sharp and eye-catching statement piece. Image: Christopher Schmidt of CS Studio
Parker Design Studio
Red chairs and oversized historic images of Memphis lend a unique personality to the space. Image: Christopher Schmidt of CS Studio
Parker Design Studio
Gould’s Poplar Plaza location features lime green as its signature accent color. Image: Christopher Schmidt of CS Studio

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration everywhere I go — whether it’s far away or just down the street, as well as from the folks and places I get the privilege to interact with daily. I am also a junkie for what is new in all types of design, from automotive to graphic design. Sometimes the best inspiration is something you have not taken the time to stop and see. Open our eyes and mind, and you will be inspired.

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Share one designer secret with us regular folk.

Leave it blank until the right piece is found. It is your space and you should make it right for you. There should be no pressure to ever “be done.”

Parker Design Studio
Ann discovered these antique barn vents with cut-out shapes at an old barn in Maine. She repurposed the intriguing pieces in front of these windows to obstruct the view from the house next door in this neighborhood where the homes are very close together. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
Woods in rich tones, a stylish mix of metal and mirror finishes and a textured wall with nailhead finish make this powder room a knockout. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
Pink and green unite in this one-of-a-kind girl’s bedroom, complete with built-in shelving to display her dolls. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
A serene shade of gray is complemented by bold red and black in this simple yet striking bathroom. Image: Julie Wage Ross
Parker Design Studio
These seamless custom built-in bunks are perfect for kids’ sleepover parties! Image: Jack Gardner Photography
Parker Design Studio
Bright blue walls are accented by the wall of multicolored watercolors. Image: Jack Gardner Photography

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

I believe the “rules” are gone, and from here on out — free design — do what you makes you happy!

If you could squeeze your design philosophy into a succinct phrase or motto, what would it be?

Life is too short to not be happy with your space.

Thank you, Ann, for taking the time to share your design insights and impressive portfolio. For more information, visit


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About the Author
Lauren Helmer

Lauren Helmer is a writer, editor, and artist with a passion for food, the arts, interiors, and the people who create them.