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Though Becca Gaines didn’t know growing up that she was destined for a design career, her early life did give some hints to an artistic future. “I come from a very creative family,” says Becca, owner of B. Gaines Interior Design and Hey Rube, her newly opened studio and Verellen furniture showroom in Germantown. “My dad was a circus clown and probably one of the few people I’ve ever known who’s good at thinking with his right and left brain. He’s very creative, but also a CPA. He’s a wonderful, creative person who’s always told me I could do anything I put my mind to.” Becca gave a nod to her dad, in fact, when choosing a name for her studio – “Hey Rube” is a circus term, a rallying cry among circus folk.

The native Memphian and mother of two loves that her daily work bridges her passion for art and her love of people. “I try to take a relational approach to how I design a space,” she says. “I think designers, residential designers especially, are in a very privileged position to be in these homes with people and their families. When you’re designing a home, that is their nest, and you become a part of their lives. And to me that is truly a privilege, to be allowed into that place.” 

Becca Gaines of B. Gaines Design | Image: Sarah Rossi of Selavie Photography

Becca Gaines of B. Gaines Design | Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Tell us about launching your career. What were your earliest jobs in design?

My very first interior design job was a college internship with Rhea Crenshaw Interiors. I think Rhea is one of the most talented and respected designers in our city, and working with her gave me a strong tour of the Memphis design scene. Something truly invaluable I learned from Rhea was that it is actually possible to be a great mom while killing it in this industry.

After college, I landed a dream job in downtown Franklin, Tennessee. It was everything opposite of what my professors said the real world was like. I worked with Rozanne Jackson at The Iron Gate interior design studio. Our projects were diverse and our clients were generally highly creative people. This experience pushed everything I learned in school to extreme limits, refined my style and understanding of high-end interiors, and taught me the value of talented artists and workrooms. Rozanne introduced me to many experts in our industry and gave me the tools and encouragement that led me where I am today. I’m grateful to have studied under such a hardworking woman, and proud to say she has had the biggest hand in sculpting my design aesthetic and approach.

Becca found this collection of wood printing blocks at an antiques market and had them framed for a gallery wall grouping. “Up close they’re pretty intricate and fascinating. They’re hand-carved pieces,” she says. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Becca found this collection of wood printing blocks at an antiques market and had them framed for a gallery wall grouping. “Up close they’re pretty intricate and fascinating. They’re hand-carved pieces,” she says. Image: Julie Wage Ross

This custom-made, Mid-Century Modern-inspired cabinet was crafted by a Memphis artisan and features walnut door panels. Says Becca, “The details on this piece and quality of that local craftsmanship would blow you away.” Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

This custom-made, Mid-Century Modern-inspired cabinet was crafted by a Memphis artisan and features walnut door panels. Says Becca, “The details on this piece and quality of that local craftsmanship would blow you away.” Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Becca designed this “listening room” for her client to have a quiet, relaxing space to sit and enjoy his vinyl collection. “He sits in here and listens to records, and it’s just a really sweet, loungy space,” she says. The upholstered pieces are by Verellen. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Becca designed this “listening room” for her client to have a quiet, relaxing space to sit and enjoy his vinyl collection. “He sits in here and listens to records, and it’s just a really sweet, loungy space,” she says. The upholstered pieces are by Verellen. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

The cabinet pulls on this custom-made, Mid-Century Modern-inspired console are by Rocky Mountain Hardware. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

The cabinet pulls on this custom-made, Mid-Century Modern-inspired console are by Rocky Mountain Hardware. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

This sweeping, modern bed by Verellen represents a joining of styles. “This client is fun to work with, and she’s got a really great eye for design and loves quality pieces,” Becca says. “Her husband is extreme Mid-Century Modern and she has a little bit more of a romantic taste. It’s fun to combine their two styles.” The blue ruffled pillow is by Bella Notte. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

This sweeping, modern bed by Verellen represents a joining of styles. “This client is fun to work with, and she’s got a really great eye for design and loves quality pieces,” Becca says. “Her husband is extreme Mid-Century Modern and she has a little bit more of a romantic taste. It’s fun to combine their two styles.” The blue ruffled pillow is by Bella Notte. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

When did you know you wanted to become an interior designer?

I spent my childhood rearranging my dollhouse daily and my bedroom almost as often, and I was a devoted art student. However, I didn’t even consider interior design as a career until my freshman year of college.

Tell us about your new Germantown showroom. What do you specialize in, and how did the shop come about?

Hey Rube is our studio showroom and an exclusive Verellen boutique. Verellen is a Belgian-designed, American-made furniture line known for creating unique, handmade upholstery. Skillfully carved hardwood frames, “couture” tailored slipcovers and hand-applied trims combine to create their signature elegant simplicity.

Verellen stole my heart years ago with their innovative frame designs and unmatched quality and comfort. Having the showroom is a great sampling of my own design aesthetic, but I also wanted to see this heirloom-quality line represented in Memphis. You’ll find our design library here, as well as an old Banker family fabric loom, but our focus is showcasing the Verellen furniture line.

RELATED: 10 Clever, Functional Spaces to Incorporate Into Your Interiors

Where and how do you find inspiration for your work?

Understanding what drives my clients is a huge part of the inspiration for each project. In addition to that, I find textures in nature and historic architecture fascinating. I love to walk through old cities. Also, I grew up in a house full of beautiful family antiques — pieces that were meaningful and taught me about generations of my family. So at a young age, I learned the power an interior has to hold family stories. My parents taught me that is what makes those pieces priceless. My parents’ home is a space that can draw people together, host celebrations, comfort on the worst days, tell stories and make precious memories. I think this experience drives my design philosophy. If I can create a space for others that speaks to who they are and blesses others at the same time, I have succeeded.

For this Germantown home, Becca created a custom coffee table that grounds the living space and makes for a great statement piece. The tabletop was built by a local craftsman using reclaimed wood flooring from a Downtown Memphis building, and the iron base was made by a Nashville metalworker. Image: Julie Wage Ross

For this Germantown home, Becca created a custom coffee table that grounds the living space and makes for a great statement piece. The tabletop was built by a local craftsman using reclaimed wood flooring from a downtown Memphis building, and the iron base was made by a Nashville metalworker. Image: Julie Wage Ross

A painting by Memphis artist Emily Ozier makes a statement in this relaxing, otherwise neutral space in Collierville. The clients, empty-nesters, didn’t need a formal dining room, so Becca turned this would-be dining space off the foyer into a functional sitting room. “It’s kind of a romantic space compared to the rest of their home,” Becca says. Image: Julie Wage Ross

A painting by Memphis artist Emily Ozier makes a statement in this relaxing, otherwise neutral space in Collierville. The clients, empty-nesters, didn’t need a formal dining room, so Becca turned this would-be dining space off the foyer into a functional sitting room. “It’s kind of a romantic space compared to the rest of their home,” Becca says. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Antique elements — lace, traditional furniture and a vintage door — mix with modern pieces, like the headboard upholstery and horn lamp, for a comfy and inviting yet elevated style. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Antique elements — lace, traditional furniture and a vintage door — mix with modern pieces, like the headboard upholstery and horn lamp, for a comfy and inviting yet elevated style. Image: Julie Wage Ross

This Collierville client came to the project with several existing furniture pieces, including this traditional four-poster bed. Becca split pieces up from their original matching suites, using the bedside tables and dresser elsewhere in the house. “We took what they wanted to come into the house with and scrambled it into other rooms to give the entire house more of a collected feel,” says Becca. The bedding is by Bella Notte. Image: Julie Wage Ross

This Collierville client came to the project with several existing furniture pieces, including this traditional four-poster bed. Becca split pieces up from their original matching suites, using the bedside tables and dresser elsewhere in the house. “We took what they wanted to come into the house with and scrambled it into other rooms to give the entire house more of a collected feel,” says Becca. The bedding is by Bella Notte. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Becca designed this space for Art by Design 2017, a fundraiser and designer showcase that benefited ArtsMemphis. All furniture in the space is by Verellen, the Belgian-conceived, American-made line Becca carries in her Germantown showroom. The large-scale work is by local artist Catherine Erb, on loan from David Lusk Gallery. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Becca designed this space for Art by Design 2017, a fundraiser and designer showcase that benefited ArtsMemphis. All furniture in the space is by Verellen, the Belgian-conceived, American-made line Becca carries in her Germantown showroom. The large-scale work is by local artist-photographer Catherine Erb, on loan from David Lusk Gallery. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Who are your industry role models, and what about them speaks to you?

I really admire the entire McAlpine House team – Bobby McAlpine, Greg Tankersley, Ray Booth and Susan Ferrier have captured my heart with their timeless, emotional style. I’m always in awe of John Saladino’s serene, romantic, contrasting textures and layered lighting. Pamela Pierce’s ability to balance rustic and refined pulls me in every time! And I really love to watch what Kay Douglass and Cindy Smith are up to. But I have to say, Rozanne Jackson and Rhea Crenshaw are the women who truly define me as a designer. I admire them both, and the training they poured into me speaks to me daily.

What’s been your favorite project to date?

Oh, I love them all, because they are each so different!

What’s one current design trend you love?

That’s hard to say! I really focus on creating strong designs that are innovative and timeless.

RELATED: Rustic Elegance Overflows in This Beach House … on Pickwick Lake

Tell us a little about your own home. Do you find designing your own space easier or harder than working with a client?

So much of the fun of designing is collaborating with another personality and bringing an interior to life that represents them well. Maybe because my brain is always juggling so many creations and my own home is often last on my priority list, I’m really content to come home to an (almost) Scandinavian simplicity. Combine that with some Southern heritage, a little of my rugged husband’s personality and traces of glitter and doll shoes — and that’s home.

What do you think is unique about Memphis’ design scene? How would you compare our city’s aesthetic to the U.S. as a whole?

I think Memphis has a wonderfully rooted style, driven by history and art. It’s soulful, authentic and confident. I think we’re content to be us and comfortable in our own skin, drawn to gracious and inspiring spaces. Our designers and our homes have “grit” instead of pretension. Because of this, I think our designer network is tight and powerful, and we have the unique ability to set competition aside and partner together to love our city.

In this Memphis dining room, Becca worked with the client’s existing furniture and updated the space from its former palette of sage greens, golds and rosy reds. “They wanted to lighten and freshen and modernize,” she says. The iron chandelier is a custom piece; however, Becca’s favorite piece in the room is an antique Emily Post etiquette book that belonged to the client’s grandmother. “To me, it’s the coolest thing in that space and was an inspiration for the rest of the room,” she says. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

In this Memphis dining room, Becca worked with the client’s existing furniture and updated the space from its former palette of sage greens, golds and rosy reds. “They wanted to lighten and freshen and modernize,” she says. The iron chandelier is a custom piece; however, Becca’s favorite piece in the room is an antique Emily Post etiquette book that belonged to the client’s grandmother. “To me, it’s the coolest thing in that space and was an inspiration for the rest of the room,” she says. Image: Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography

Becca designed the family room in this East Memphis home for comfort and durability. The custom coffee table is heavy and built to last. The Verellen upholstery is durable and meant for football watching and casual lounging. Becca found the antique cabinet in Atlanta. Image: Julie Wage Ross

Becca designed the family room in this East Memphis home for comfort and durability. The custom coffee table is heavy and built to last. The Verellen upholstery is durable and meant for football watching and casual lounging. Becca found the antique cabinet in Atlanta. Image: Julie Wage Ross

In this sweet, feminine nursery, custom draperies feature two layers of fabric, a front sheer Bella Notte panel with white velvet underneath. The mobile is by New York artist Tamar Mogendorff, and the chair is from a line carried by The Back Room. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

In this sweet, feminine nursery, custom draperies feature two layers of fabric, a front sheer Bella Notte panel with white velvet underneath. The mobile is by New York artist Tamar Mogendorff, and the chair is from a line carried by The Back Room. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

For this nursery, Becca chose an antique French dresser made from bleached oak. “I don’t really do changing tables because I like to give my clients a space that is timeless and can grow with their kids,” she says. The deer artwork is by artist Tamar Mogendorff. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

For this nursery, Becca chose an antique French dresser made from bleached oak. “I don’t really do changing tables because I like to give my clients a space that is timeless and can grow with their kids,” she says. The deer artwork is by artist Tamar Mogendorff. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

These details of the nursery room art and lighting share a wispy, glittery ephemeral quality. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

These details of the nursery room art by Tamar Mogendorff and chandelier lighting share a wispy, glittery ephemeral quality. Image: Brent Singley of Bella Vita

What local design resources are your go-tos?

Garden District and The Back Room are some of my favorites! And I always love shopping Greg Baudoin’s showroom and Rhea Crenshaw’s HOUSE.

Will you share one trade secret with us?

Every space needs something vintage. Little pieces of history make a space look more collected and unique. Not only will antiques and vintage finds add texture and character, but this is a great opportunity to represent a family’s history.

What’s your top piece of advice to a homeowner approaching the design of his or her own space?

Showcase the pieces that you really love. (Or buy them as soon as you find them!) An interior should be an outward reflection of the people who dwell in it, not of trends or neighbors’ fashions.

Thank you to Becca for taking the time to share her story, insights and impressive design portfolio. To view more of Becca’s work or to contact her, visit bgainesinteriordesign.com and stop by her new exclusive Verellen showroom, Hey Rube.

And thank you to Julie Wage Ross, Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography and Brent Singley of Bella Vita for the images of Becca’s work. 

And thank you to Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography for the lovely portrait images of Becca!

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