We’ll be perfectly honest here: We really wonder if Greg Baudoin ever sleeps! In addition to working with clients in Memphis, New Orleans and across the rest of the country, Greg has 13 staffers at Greg Baudoin Interior Design (GBID), including designers and project managers who oversee his fabulous retail store, installations, deliveries and more. He’s renovating an unused area at GBID right now, creating space for Carlton – Edwards Architecture, with whom he frequently collaborates. He’s an active board member of ArtsMemphis, and he’s led the super-successful Art by Design showcase last year (and we cannot wait for the next one!). As if all that weren’t enough, Greg has partnered with a talented writer-editor to create Southerly Media, a publishing company with three books in the works, including one showcasing the florist-to-field work of Garden District. We caught up with Greg a few weeks ago at GBID, and even though our visit was brief, we loved every moment of visiting with this true Southern gentleman!
Why did you become an interior designer?
I was sketching rooms and floor plans as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand. As a young boy, a favorite thing to do was watch The Brady Bunch and Bewitched on TV. I would constantly sketch the floor plans for these homes based on the how the homes appeared on television. I got frustrated at times because I would realize that there was no way that the interior rooms matched in layout of how the front of the house looked. I realized at an early age what a movie set was all about.
Where did you study?
I always thought it was a degree in architecture that I wanted. I learned after the first year of architecture school at the University of Louisiana, that it was interior design that I really wanted to do.
Tell us about your early career.
Prior to moving to Memphis I lived in San Francisco. I was close to the design center which was helpful since I did not have a fabric library back then.
After moving to Memphis and working in the corporate world for several years, I left that environment to open Garden District Home. It was located on Union Avenue in a charming cottage. I knew that in order to grow my design business, I would have to invest in a retail showroom. That has evolved to Greg Baudoin Interior Design. We are a staff of 13 including designers, project managers, showroom manager, librarian and delivery.
I have been a board member of ArtsMemphis for several years. Early on, I learned how far-reaching the arms of ArtsMemphis are, supporting 60-plus groups. A way to raise money and awareness was to have festive events engaging talented artists in Memphis and the public. Most recently, I came up with the Art By Design function. I see so much design talent in Memphis, and wanted to showcase that in this three-day event, which raised over $120,000. I gave each designer (or team of designers) creative freedom. They had a blank canvas to work with in a 12-foot by 16-foot space.
Where do you find inspiration?
Travel. Everyday things I see inspire me. I love every aspect of design and believe that form and function should have a successful balance.
What’s been your most challenging project, and why?
A recent most challenging project was installing a yacht in south Florida. Having to find and source local vendors from upholstery fabricator, art installers and then the timing with a small window of three days set for the installation. Furnishings were delivered but still crated when I arrived after a delayed flight. My suitcase with my tools was lost, and delivered 24 hours later. A tropical storm came through to boot. It all came together, and the captain took me out in the ocean for a short cruise and test run before the owners arrived the next day.
What’s your design aesthetic?
New tradition. I like a timeless, soothing setting but for it to be current as well. Each project reflects my clients’ needs and wants. Some are very involved in the process and others let the design team pull a presentation together and then sign off.
Memphis has a lot of talent. I am seeing a lot of diversity in the design scene from downtown to Fayette County. It’s a good thing and adds to the momentum happening here.
How and when do you relax?
At the cabin, in Snow Lake, Miss. This is where I decompress. As I say in my upcoming book, Southern Weekender, “Weekend homes allow us to become ourselves again.” There is relaxing at the lake, but is a place where we like to entertain as well.
What’s your best piece of advice when it comes to design?
My best piece of advice as it comes to design is to hire a designer. Doing so will likely save a person money on a project; for instance, a homeowner ordered a bathtub online. Not only did it come in and was the wrong size, the drain was on the wrong end of the tub.
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